Tucked into a tranquil, 10-acre green space along the Fox River is a hidden treasure called, The Refuge, home of Fox River Environmental Education Alliance. Formerly operated as the Monte Alverno Retreat and Spirituality Center, the property was acquired by Fox River Environmental Education Alliance early in 2014. The transition has now rounded the one year mark, and many exciting updates demonstrate the organization’s momentum moving forward.
“We’ve done a lot in a short period of time,” says Board of Directors President Larry Homberger. “We hosted the Eagle Days along the Fox River in January. We collaborated on Earth Day with the Fox Cities Book Club and Money Smart Conference. Shortly after that Cory Chisel came on board.”
Chisel was named Board of Directors Vice President in April, and with him came more recognition for the organization, as well as artistic involvement. The Songbird Chapel has been utilized as a performance space, and other parts of the facility are ideal for lodging resident artists. Fox River Environmental Education Alliance housed musicians for last year’s Mile of Music and plans to continue.
“It’s been fantastic,” says Homberger of Chisel’s involvement. “He has the ability to reach out to people that we haven’t had a chance to connect with yet. It opens up an avenue for creative energy to fill the space out there.”
Music and art are just a small part of what The Refuge is all about. This summer, day camps provided fun, hands-on education about a range of environmental topics. The chapel has been used as a venue for weddings, concerts and meetings. A new dock installation allows visitors to paddle up to the property or launch their kayaks and canoes from the shores of the Fox River. Many more plans are in progress.
“We’re exploring a few concepts and new ideas,” says Homberger, looking ahead. “We want to continue to bring people from in and around the community together to enhance their environmental awareness, to take an opportunity to volunteer with our organization and collaborate. We’ve got a great future.”
Visit www.foxrivereea.org for information on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, to subscribe to the newsletter, to join the email list or to donate.