A number of sisters from central New York joined members of the leadership team, local officials and the news media for the official announcement that Alverna Heights is now part of Green Lakes State Park.

New York State Parks Commissioner Eric Kulleseid said that with the congregation’s sale of the 200 acres that make up the former spirituality and nature center the sisters “entrusted the state with this very special land.”

“I promise that it will be cared for,” Kulleseid added in announcing that the property will remain a sanctuary for native birds. Birds that nest in grasslands were lured back to Alverna Heights when S. Caryn Crook began working with the federal government’s native grasslands restoration program.

Barbara Jean Donovan said that the congregation is thrilled to hear that the property the sisters have held sacred will remain green space that thousands will now enjoy.

Caption: S. Joyce Marie Traufler is surrounded by sisters and NYS Parks Department officials as she cuts the green ribbon, symbolically making Alverna Heights a part of Green Lakes State Park.