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Dear MoonTree Community,

One of the best gifts of this summer for MoonTree was our newest Permaculture Intern, Nicole McGee. After two months of permaculture coursework through the Permaculture International College and experiential learning at MoonTree, Nicole successfully submitted her final project and received her Permaculture Design Certificate.

The internship, coursework, and certificate were all made possible through MoonTree’s Scholarship Fund, supported by donors like you. We are so grateful not only to Nicole for the gift of her presence and spirit, but to all the MoonTree Community who enabled and empowered her in one form or another.

Nicole was able to join Rachel (Assistant Coordinator) and Liz (Coordinator) on Lake Gilbraith to collect water samples as part of our collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). In 2020, Liz worked with her former colleagues at NOAA to receive training for her and Rachel to establish Lake Gilbraith as the first freshwater site in Indiana for the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network.

A significant piece of equipment that was needed to enable Liz and Rachel to perform the algal sampling and identification was a digital microscope. This microscope was paid for by funding provided by the PHJC Volunteer Program in appreciation for MoonTree’s work with them. Liz was happy to brush up on her microscopy skills and share her knowledge with Rachel and Nicole.  

All three of them joined other members of the Poor Handmaid community and participated in a design charrette that was held at MoonTree Studios and facilitated by long-time friend of MoonTree, natural builder, and recently fully certified and licensed architect, Chris Reinhart. Chris has been working with former MoonTree Director, Sister Nancy Raboin, PHJC, to build a hermitage for private retreats through her newest ministry; Illuminata House of Prayer and Hermitage.

On one of her final days, Nicole was also able to sit in on a meeting of the Marshall County Crossroads Arts and Culture Subcommittee. At this meeting, the subcommittee voted unanimously to form a Marshall County Arts and Culture Council with MoonTree as the official convener and champion for the work of the council. As chair of the subcommittee since 2019, my engagement with arts and culture stakeholders in the area has highlighted a significant community need that MoonTree is in a prime position to address by empowering local artists and arts organizations with space, resources, and logistical support and guidance.

We are so fortunate to have had so many amazing opportunities and experiences to share with Nicole during her time with us. The mutual learning and growth shared during her time with our community was a real gift, as all our internships have been.

I look forward to the new relationships ahead and sharing those exciting developments with you all as they happen. For real-time updates, follow us on Facebook or check out our website.

Thank you as always for your time, support, and presence.

In peace and love,

Matthew Celmer

Executive Director, MoonTree Studios


9638 Union Road
Plymouth, IN 46513
(574) 935-1712

MoonTree Studios, a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, challenges people to experience mindfulness as they fearlessly explore the interconnectedness of art, nature, and the Spirit within.

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