I met Wayne and Carry Dueck in my hometown of Rosthern one morning in August 2019 and followed them out to a property they owned west of Duck Lake, Sask. They had invited me to write a story about this 32-hectare property and their relationship with it in the 38 years since they purchased it (“Planting trees, nurturing a dream,” Sept. 13, 2019). The Land, as they called it, was where the Duecks camped with their growing sons, gathered with friends and hosted their church family on many occasions, and, most of all, it was where they planted trees. Wayne and his sons planted just over 38,000 trees on the property over the years. Today, an estimated 10,000 second-growth trees have added to the number.
The Land is home to many species of plants and animals, in addition to the conifers the Duecks planted. While we walked across the property that morning, we spotted squirrels, a variety of birds and a small garter snake.
Both Wayne and Carry spoke of their deep desire to care for The Land and make reparation for harm done in the past. Their goal was not just to preserve it for future generations, but also to improve it by fostering the growth of diverse plant and animal life.
Stories of climate crisis and weather-related catastrophes seem to be plentiful these days, but stories of faithful people lovingly caring for their small corner of the world, leaving it in better shape than when they first encountered it, are harder to come by. Wayne and Carry’s story inspired me and filled me with hope, and it was a privilege to write it for Canadian Mennonite.
Other correspondents from Saskatchewan: Jake Nickel, Karin Fehderau, Emily Summach (current).
Read more stories from CM's 25th anniversary issue:
Angelika Dawson: Two stories about my son
Dave Rogalsky: Visiting congregations
Evelyn Rempel Petkau: Tragic story ends in reconciliation
Ferne Burkhardt: Wonderful gifts
Aiden Enns: Fanning Anabaptist fame