Welcome to the Circle!
Wisconsin Women in Conservation events are based on a Learning Circle Model of engagement - gathering women into a circle literally and figuratively for the purposes of peer learning and mutual support. The Invitation to Circle is spoken together at the start of events as a call to join the circle, a reminder to be present in the work, and an acknowledgement of the prior and First Nations stewards of the land on which we stand.
This community meditation is offered by the WiWiC team in collaboration with Dr. Annie Jones, an enrolled member of the Menominee Nation and Tribal Nations Specialist with University of Wisconsin - Extension, to plant seeds of reflection on how we can do better in caring for our world, ourselves and each other.
We welcome you to join us at an event and participate! If you'd like to print a PDF version of the Invitation to Circle to use at home, you can find it here.
To learn more about Wisconsin's American Indian Tribal Nations, click here.
You can request an appointment with Dr. Jones or one of her colleagues to take a First Nations Tour of Cultural Artifacts on the UW Madison Campus by reaching out here.
An Invitation to Circle in our Role as Land Stewards
We are all caretakers together of our land, sharing the role and responsibility of fostering a
community of women stewarding soil. We remember the many people and cultures who have stewarded this place before us. We humbly draw on the Indigenous teaching tool of the Medicine Wheel and the 5 Key Components (in bold below) to gather us. The universal imagery of a circle, important to diverse cultures over the centuries, reminds us of how we are all connected to the land and each other. As you meditate on these concepts alone or together, take time to breathe and feel your body rooted to the living earth.
May I feel my two feet grounded in this place. What gifts do I bring to my work as a steward of our land? How can I use my strengths, abilities and resources to nurture our Wisconsin landscape in a way that ensures her healthy future for many generations to come?
Spirit & Purpose
May we remember that we are all on a beautiful, continuous conservation journey in community. Though the work is never finished, the tasks become lighter as we draw strength from this circle today and the generations of women who have loved this soil before us.
May I remain gentle on myself in this work. There will be times when the work of protecting and stewarding our land feels lonely and insurmountable, at which point let me remember this circle and know I am not alone.
Like the rivers that flow through Wisconsin, may the ever-moving water remind us that we, too, are continually evolving - growing through new ideas and challenges. May the teachings of our elders expand our mind and world view.
May my physical body reflect the healthy ecosystem we are co-creating around us, respecting the value of healthy, sustainable foods, fresh air, and movement. May I delight in the ability I have to align myself and truly become a part of the land around me, in collaboration with those gathered here.
Waewaenen, thank you, Professor Jones, for sharing your stories, knowledge, wisdom, and friendship with Wisconsin Women in Conservation.
Dr. Annie Jones, PhD, has worked with UW Extension for nearly 25 years serving in a variety of capacities including community development educator, Associate Dean, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Directions. Her areas of research include indigenous methodologies like the use of the Native American medicine wheel and cultural teachings to enhance planning and evaluation. Annie specializes in participatory and community-based action research and co-leads UW–Madison’s Native Nations UW effort along with Aaron Bird Bear and Omar Poler.