THE RIGHT MATCH
It took almost two years to find the right fit between the demands of Meher Mount and the skills and interests of new Manager/Caretakers Ellen Kwiatkowski and Eric Carlson.
Being a Manager/Caretaker at Meher Mount “appeals to me because my focus is on Him all the more. Also, spending time in nature has always been an important part of my emotional and spiritual health and well being. I have always felt God in nature,” says Ellen Kwiatkowski.
For Eric Carlson, the opportunity to be a caretaker interested him, “because it aligns with my feelings about the Earth and nature as being an expression of God and provides the opportunity to share this with others while also serving Meher Baba.”
By the end of June 2019, both Eric and Ellen were at Meher Mount ready to take on the role of caring for this special place and welcoming guests.
THE CARETAKERS SHARE THEIR JOURNEY
Come meet the caretakers and hear the story of how they learned about Meher Baba and then how they came to Meher Mount.
PROGRAM — SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2019
1:30 p.m.: “My Meher Baba Story & How We Came to Meher Mount” - Eric Carlson & Ellen Kwiatkowski
3:30 p.m.: Tea Break
4:30 p.m.: Arti (prayers, songs, poems, quotes)
Eric Carlson describes himself as an entrepreneur. He established and managed – for the past 30 years – Blue Vista Farm in Bayfield, WI. The farm directly markets fruit crops to the consumer in a way that creates a deeper experience and connection with the land. Blue Vista is located in a Wisconsin tourist destination and receives 10,000 to 15,000 visitors annually.
Eric managed a seasonal staff of 28 in production, harvesting, marketing, advertising, and retail aspects of the farm. He is experienced in operating and maintaining all power tools, implements and tractors, as well as understanding and solving the day-to-day issues of a land-focused organization.
While managing the farm, Eric also served as President of the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and chairman of its Orchard Tasks Force for eight years. During that time the Chamber quadrupled its membership, and he helped restore health and vibrancy to the board and organization.
Eric has a B.S. in plant pathology and horticulture from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he worked in the department of Plant Pathology as a fruit crop research specialist for several years. This knowledge and his experience provide him with skills to facilitate the creating of harmony in cultivated and wild plant communities. He also has extensive experience studying, tracking and observing animals and plants in their natural habitats.
Eric first learned of Meher Baba in 2013. He and Ellen have visited the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Meher Baba’s Tomb Shrine and home in Meherabad and Meherazad, India.
Ellen Kwiatkowski has a B.S. in biology from James Madison University in Virginia and has more than 20 years’ experience working on biodiversity conservation. Starting with three years as a forestry extensionist with the US Peace Corps in Paraguay and then 10 years with the Nature Conservancy, where she worked internationally as Manager of their Rapid Ecological Assessment Program and domestically as Director of Conservation Programs for the Delaware Chapter.
While in Delaware, she oversaw site-based and landscape-scale conservation planning, acquisition and management of their portfolio of preserves. She has extensive experience in developing and managing grant-funded (federal, state, private) projects that include land acquisition, habitat restoration, migratory bird conservation and biological inventories.
After moving to Wisconsin, Ellen worked with Eric at Blue Vista Farm for a few years, did some private consulting, and was Executive Director of the Bayfield Regional Conservancy, a local land trust. Here, she oversaw all land protection and conservation activities and during her four-year tenure. During that time, the Conservancy more than doubled the acreage of protected sites and doubled the Stewardship Endowment Fund.
She was also awarded the 2012 Wisconsin Conservationist of the Year by a group of her peers. Ellen then worked for two years as Planning Administrator for a local Native American Tribe. She also serves on the Environmental Management Committee for the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC.
While Eric is looking at animal tracks and birds, Ellen is identifying and learning plants. She has a keen interest in learning the local flora and understanding plant distribution and alliances.