For the spring season, Project ACORN is offering exciting, new music, art, environment, and wellness opportunities for all ages.

An acronym for Art, Community, Originality, Rhythm, and Nature, the homegrown, grassroots, mostly-volunteer program offers diverse and creative events that encourage friendships, explore new ideas, and build community.

Enthusiastic area artisans, healers, singers, environmental advocates, etc., offer (often free of charge) classes, workshops, theatrical events, hikes, films, concerts, field trips, and more for all ages. Through the past 11 seasons, since June of 2016, dozens of area citizens have led 165 events—over one event per week—with about 2,000 participants getting involved.

The winter season included a well-attended writing workshop by Bellamine professor Chris Mattingly that has since inspired a writing group that meets monthly. Mattingly also held a public reading of his own poems in the St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre. ThinkPink Productions’ haunting rendition of Jesus Christ Superstar packed a makeshift Evansville shopping mall theatre. Retired history teacher Marie Daunhauer’s display and description of her Native American art filled the Ferdinand Library Community Room.  Jan Stenftenagel led an open discussion about facing death and dying in healthy ways, and Joe Rohleder led a tour of the historic Schaeffer barn. Other fun and interesting events included a concert, plays, an art exhibit, and films.

Jane Goodall, an inspiration for many Project ACORN activities, once said, “I think the best evenings are when we [experience] things that make us think, but we can also laugh and enjoy each other’s company.”

The public is invited to participate in one or more of these exciting upcoming spring events.

4. BAKING BREAD WITH SISTER JEAN MARIEby Sister Jean Marie Ballard, OSBWednesday, May 1, 6 – 9:30 pm ET, Sisters of St. Benedict Bakery820 Main St., Ferdinand
5. RESTORING AN ANTIQUE STAINED GLASS WINDOWby P. D. Haywood, field trip to Haywood Stained Glass Studio, BloomfieldThursday, May 2, 5:30 pm ET departure, Ferdinand Library

6. HIKE AMONG GIANTS IN BERNHEIM FORESTfield trip to Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, KY Saturday, May 11, 10 am ET departure, Ferdinand Library
7. CAJUN COOKING CLASS AND MEALby Tammy BedollaMonday, May 13, 6:30 – 8:30 pm ET, Soup-N-Such Bistro / Wollenmann Home1150 Main St., Ferdinand
8. CHILDREN’S YOGA CLASSby Samantha Knies Gray
Saturday, May 18, 10 – 10:45 am ET, Tri-County YMCA, 131 E. 16th St., Ferdinand
9. THE PARKLANDS OF JASPER HIKESunday, May 19, 1:30 pm ET departure, Ferdinand Library
Parklands Entrance, 800 W. 15th St.
Thursday, May 30, 6 – 8 pm ET, Ferdinand’s 18th Street Park, Upper Shelterhouse
11. WALK FOR CLEAN AIRSunday, June 2, 2 – 4:30 pm ET, Meet at Dale Park, 112 E. Medcalf St.
12. PACING THE CAGE: BRUCE COCKBURN DOCUMENTARYThursday, June 6, 7 – 8:15 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works Theatre
13. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: MR. ROGERS’ DOCUMENTARYTuesday, June 11, 7 – 8:30 pm ET, Ferdinand Library Community Room
Tuesday, June 18, 7 – 8 pm ET, Ferdinand Library Community Room
15. DEBBIE SCHUETTER IN CONCERTFriday, June 28, 7 – 9 pm ET, St. Benedict’s Brew Works, Ferdinand
1. A RAISIN IN THE SUNfield trip to University of Louisville Theatre
Friday, April 19, 5:30 pm ET departure from Ferdinand Library, return at midnightShow starts at 7:30 pm ETPlayhouse Theatre, 2314 S Floyd St., Louisville   Ages 14+    $20 ($10 for groups of 8 or more)  To register, RSVP Rock Emmert at 812-631-2856 (text or call).
A Raisin in the Sun is a classic, award-winning play about dreams—what it means to dream big, to lose faith in your dreams, and to discover new dreams. It’s also a story about family. Set in Chicago, the story begins the day before the Younger family will receive a $10,000 insurance check from the death of the father, Walter Younger. Different members of the family have different ideas of how to use the money: Mama wants to buy a house with a little garden in the back, Walter Lee Younger (their son) wants to invest in a liquor store, Ruth (Walter Lee’s wife) wants a house with some space and a nice kitchen, and Beneatha (Walter Lee’s sister) wants to go to medical school. Tensions increase as each member of the family tries to get his or her own way, eventually threatening to destroy the family foundation. The stakes continue to climb as questions about identity, class, value, race, and love become forefront issues, and outsiders to the family make it impossible to forget the world that the Younger family cannot seem to escape. Written by Lorraine Hansberry and debuting on Broadway in 1959, the play is directed by Baron Kelly.

field trip to Tri-State Interfaith Creation Care event
Monday, April 22, Earth Day 4:45 pm ET departure from Ferdinand Library, return at 10:15 pm ET Rally begins at 6:15 pm ET.
Four Freedoms Monument, Riverside Dr., EvansvilleAll ages     Free      Limit: 10 (for caravan, unlimited numbers at rally)
To register, RSVP Rock Emmert at 812-631-2856 (text or call).

In this peaceful Earth Day rally, the event organizer, Tri-State Interfaith Creation Care, states, “We are at a crucial crossroads for the future quality of human life and the continued diverse existence of all life on the planet. The time window to avert the cataclysmic effects of climate change is narrowing, and the moment to impact that course of future events is now. We, the stewards of the planet, must do better. We advocate for sustainable energy that benefits our community and the earth.” Participants will gather for prayer, inspiration, a call for individual change, and a play performance by children. A peaceful walk to nearby Vectren will follow to urge the company [and other energy companies] to move away from fossil fuels toward a future based on solar and other renewables. Tri-State Creation Care, a coalition of people from diverse faiths, encourages the care of our earth and the responsible use of its resources.3. YOGA NIDRA MEDITATION  by Samantha Knies Gray
Monday, April 29, 7 – 8:15 pm ETFerdinand Library Community RoomAges 14+       $5      Limited space.To register, RSVP Samantha at 812-631-2530 (text or call). 
Commonly known as “yogic sleep”, Yoga Nidra meditation is a powerful, guided technique involving lying in Savasana (resting or corpse pose) and following a guide’s voice. Yoga Nidra offers a safe space to be present and release long-held emotions or thought-blockages. The practice will begin with a few gentle yoga stretches to warm up before the start of the Nidra. Please dress comfortably and warm — wear socks/layers and consider bringing a blanket(s) and pillow. Samantha Knies Gray, RYT, a native of Bretzville and graduate of Forest Park and Purdue University, is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. In addition to teaching regular yoga classes at Fire Horse Yoga and the YMCA, she attends regular yoga classes and training and maintains a daily practice at home, believing in taking time out of our busy lives to rest and restore our bodies and minds. Samantha strives to bring a deep level of peace and an awareness of body and breath to every student she teaches.

Wednesday, May 1, 6 – 9:30 pm ETSisters of St. Benedict Bakery820 Main St., FerdinandAges 18+    $15       Limit: 8To register, RSVP Kris Lasher at 812-631-2020 (text or call).   
Dress is casual. Please wear comfortable, non-slick or tennis shoes with some treading.
Rich in nutrients and full of symbolism, bread is often referred to as the staff of life. This class is for those wanting learn the basics of making bread. Sr. Jean Marie will demonstrate making dinner rolls with a traditional roll base. Participants will gain hands-on experience, preparing and baking individually seasoned loaves of bread—and then each will take his or her freshly-baked loaf along home, hopefully inspired to continue making loaves for family and friends. Working with the monastery baker, Sr. Jean Marie Ballard, OSB, began baking as a novice, devoting her time and talents to the art. Instrumental in developing the bakery over the years, she continues to be the face of the monastery bakery today.

Thursday, May 2, 5:30 pm ET departure from Ferdinand Library, return at 10 pm ETField trip to Haywood Stained Glass Studio2015 W. State Rd. 54, BloomfieldAll ages       Free       Limit: 10To register, RSVP Rock Emmert at 812-631-2856 (text or call).

Visit an art studio to observe a southern Indiana artisan at work. In this unique field trip, participants will meet P. D. Haywood and observe methods used in his meticulous restoration of a beautiful 4′ x 6′ antique (circa 1800s) stained glass window originally in a home in Maine. Some of the restoration techniques include dismantling the entire window (125 pieces of glass), cleaning the glass, replacing broken pieces, replacing lead, adding cement, and restoring the wooden frame. In 1946, his father opened Haywood Printing Company, located under the same roof as the studio and still in business today. P. D. started working with stained glass as a hobby in 1980 and started his business in 1986.

Field trip, Saturday, May 11, 10 am ET departure from Ferdinand Library, return at 5 pm ET  Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest  2075 Clermont Rd, Clermont, KY (30 min. south of Louisville)Visitor Center and Education Center open 9 am – 5 pm ET daily; Isaac’s Café (located inside Visitor Center) 11 am – 4 pm ET daily
All ages       $5 per car       Limit: 10To register, RSVP Rock Emmert at 812-631-2856 (text or call).
At a national treasure close to home, experience nature like nowhere else . After having lunch in Isaac’s Cafe, visit three giant recycled-wooden sculptures (or “green” giants)—Mama Loumari with her children, Little Nis and Little Elina, and her third baby Giant, currently living in Mama’s belly—by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Walk onto an elevated boardwalk 75 feet above a forest canopy. Enjoy scenery and art, looping through knobs and valleys and along ridges and hollows. Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Bernheim’s 16,000 acres—the living legacy of philanthropist and visionary, Isaac W. Bernheim (born in Schmieheim, Germany in 1848)—is one of the most pristine and healthiest forests in the country. Using best practices in land protection and conservation and attracting researchers from all over the world, Bernheim strives to foster ecological stewardship that inspires the exploration of our deep connections with the earth. The forest giants expected to call Bernheim home for at least three years. The forest, containing 40 miles of trails, annually attracts 250,000 treading-lightly visitors from the U.S. and abroad. For more info, visit

Monday, May 13, 6:30 – 8:30 pm ETSoup-N-Such Bistro / Wollenmann Home1150 Main St., FerdinandAges 21+     $25 per person      Limit: 20Please bring paper, pen or pencil. Dress is casual.To register, RSVP Tammy Bedolla at 812-998-2490.

Jump out of the box and enjoy an evening full of spice. In this flavorful class, you will witness culinary artist Tammy Bedolla, owner and operator of Soup-N-Such Bistro, prepare a Cajun-style meal. Promising that no one will go away hungry, Tammy will prepare chicken étouffée, a spinach salad served with homemade strawberry vinaigrette, and homemade chocolate cheese cake paired with cherry wine. May 13 is the day after Mother’s Day, and this unique evening could make a wonderful gift for your mom (and/or dad). If you would like a gift certificate, please stop by the bistro. Whether amateur or veteran, participants will learn the step-by-step process of preparing the meal in the relaxed and intimate setting of the restored Wollenmann Home. Guests will also receive interesting information about the home’s rich history. Tammy, a self-taught artisan, created a variety of cuisine at Cool Beans in Huntingburg and also has years of catering experience.8. CHILDREN’S YOGA CLASSby Samantha Knies Gray

Saturday, May 18, 10 – 10:45 am ETTri-County YMCA, 131 E. 16th St., FerdinandAges 5 – 12       Free         Limited spaceTo register, RSVP Samantha at 812-631-2530 (text or call).
With the incorporation of a fun story, Samantha Knies Gray, RYT, will teach gentle, fun stretches that children can do every day. She will also focus on breathing and meditation techniques to help calm the body and mind. Children should dress comfortably. Blankets and a stuffed animal friend or doll for Savasana (resting pose) are welcomed. Samantha, a native of Bretzville and graduate of Forest Park and Purdue University, is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. In addition to teaching regular yoga classes at Fire Horse Yoga and the YMCA, she attends regular classes and training and maintains a daily practice at home, believing in taking time out of our busy lives to rest and restore our bodies and minds. Samantha strives to bring a deep level of peace and an awareness of body and breath to every student she teaches. A mother to two daughters—ages 3 and 7—she has been incorporating yoga and meditation techniques into their lives since they were born. The power of a regular yoga practice for children protects them from injury and helps them manage their reactions and emotions. 

Sunday, May 19, 1:30 pm ET depart Ferdinand Library, return 3:30 pm ETParklands entrance, 800 W. 15th St.All ages       Free      No limitTo register, RSVP Kris Lasher at 812-631-2020 (text or call).
Visit one of Indiana’s premiere natural destinations—The Parklands of Jasper, a 75-acre major urban renewal endeavor which turned a private 9-hole golf course and the surrounding woodlands into a free, public space for fun, exploration, and exercise for the whole family. Hike on two miles of walking trails and experience a walking signature bridge (lighted at night), three ponds connected by elevated pathways, approximately 25 acres of woods, two water cascades, and a wetlands area for nature studies. The Pavilion—an indoor event space seating 160 people—has a patio overlooking Otis Pond. Nearby is a splash pad with three rock features and 42 jets to cool patrons in hot weather, outdoor exercise pods, an adventure play area featuring climbing rocks and balance beams, a tree fort, a musical playground, and more.


Thursday, May 30, 6 – 8 pm ETFerdinand’s 18th Street Park, Meet at Upper ShelterhouseAll ages        Free        No limitTo register, RSVP Brooke Daunhauer at 812-630-6627 (text or call).  
Please bring lawn chairs and/or a blanket.
In a world full of chemicals, pollution, processed food, and pills, living a natural lifestyle is a challenge. More people are discovering age-old truths about nature’s role in creating and preserving health and wellness. In this relaxed, discussion-oriented class, Mary will share her knowledge derived from 20 years of research and practice. She will offer suggestions to walk a healthier path. Topics may include replacing harmful habits with healthier patterns amid our busy schedules, natural remedies for healing, maintaining a strong immune system, replacing GMO, chemical-laden, fake food with real food that nourishes and sustains one’s body, using natural deodorants, lotions, sprays, body soaps, toothpaste, etc., cleaning with natural products, ground-breaking research, books, and documentaries, and the leading natural treatment centers. Mary has had great success learning from her “greatest teacher”—experience. “Reaching and maintaining good, sustainable health means being open to doctors, researchers, and survivors who have discovered the power of living a natural lifestyle.”

11. WALK FOR CLEAN AIRco-sponsored with Southwestern Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life

Sunday, June 2, 2 – 4:30 pm ETMeet at the Dale Park at 112 E. Medcalf St.All ages         Free        No limitTo register, RSVP Mary Hess at 812-937-2544 (leave message) or Rock Emmert at 812-631-2856 (text or call).
Join family, friends, and neighbors for a joyful, peaceful, Sunday afternoon walk for clean air and beauty in Dale and the surrounding area. The gathering will start at the Dale Park and details will follow. Dress for the weather. The walk will be about two to three miles on easy to moderate terrain. Bags will be provided for participants to help pick up trash and clean up the roadside. Please bring gloves.
Regarding clean air, Spencer County ranks 23rd out of 3,142 counties in the US in toxic emissions, and under IDEM’s watch, Indiana consistently ranks 49 or 50 in the US in air quality. Greg Merle’s massive Riverview Energy coal-to-diesel refinery—the first-ever in the western hemisphere, proposed for within Dale’s city limits and a mile from David Turnham elementary school and two nursing homes—would add dangerous carcinogens into our already compromised neighborhoods, over 2.2 million tons of the greenhouse gas CO2, and hundreds of tons of other toxins into our air annually. Participants in the walk believe our communities and children deserve better and ask our leaders for change. “No C2D” lawn signs, T-shirts, petitions, information sheets, ways to get involved, etc., will be available. Light refreshments will be served.

12. PACING THE CAGEdocumentary film about Bruce CockburnThursday, June 6, 7 – 8:15 pm ETSt. Benedict’s Brew Works theatreAges 17+      Free      Limit: 40
To register, please RSVP Rock Emmert at 812-631-2856 (text or call).

An intimate look at this year’s Ferdinand Folk Festival headliner Bruce Cockburn (pronounced CO-burn), Pacing The Cage, released in 2012, is a documentary that features Canadian master guitar player / singer-songwriter / activist Bruce Cockburn reflecting on his life and his music career. The documentary features appearances by songwriters Jackson Browne, Sylvia Tyson, Bono, Sarah Harmer, Colin Linden, and best selling authors Michael Ondaatje, William Young, Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire, and Bernie Finkelstein. The film follows Bruce as he performs in sold-out shows, records his live Slice O Life CD, and participates in a series of benefit concerts. Documentary cameras follow Bruce to his home for a candid conversation about his views on everything from religion to parenthood. The documentary sheds light on Bruce’s spirituality, his thoughts on activism, politics, writing, and his amazing 40-plus years in the music industry. The film, arranged in seven chapters, also features never-before-seen live performances from his 300+ catalog of songs.

13. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBORdocumentary film about Mr. Rogers
Tuesday, June 11, 7 – 8:30 pm ETFerdinand Library Community Room
All ages       Free       Limit: 40
To register, please RSVP Kris Lasher at 812-631-2020 (text or call). Winner of the 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? reflects on Fred Rogers’ legacy of kindness and compassion. The film features the profound and lasting effect his innovative approach to television had on millions of children who grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS. For over thirty years,  One of the 2018’s most acclaimed films, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? weaves precious archival clips, rare personal footage, and interviews with friends, family, and Rogers himself, to paint an intimate portrait of a beloved American treasure, whose example of empathy, love, and patience is as necessary as ever. The film’s trailer debuted on what would have been Rogers’s 90th birthday, March 20, 2018, and the film, directed by Morgan Neville, premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has grossed $22 million, making it the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all time. This moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe and into the heart of a creative genius whose calm and stable presence and tackling of life’s weightiest issues in a simple, direct way inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.


Tuesday, June 18, 7 – 8 pm ET(rescheduled from winter season)Ferdinand Library Community Room
All ages       Free       Limit: 40
To register, please RSVP Kris Lasher at 812-631-2020 (text or call). If anyone has questions in advance, feel free to contact Randy at [email protected] or at 281-202-8143.
What to bring: If you want Randy to look at old jars or canners, feel free to bring them along.

Preserving fresh food for consumption when fresh food is not available has long challenged humanity. Historically, many methods of preserving food have existed, but about 100 years ago the notion of “pressure canning” was introduced as a safe way of canning meat and low-acid vegetables, among other foods. Our parents and grandparents may have owned pressure canners. Since home freezers have become commonplace, pressure canning has become less practiced. Once food is preserved via pressure canning, it is safe for consumption for many months and requires no additional energy to save it for a later date. It is a healthy and environmentally-conscious means of preserving food that our ancestors knew, and which we would be wise to continue.
Randy Vaal grew up in Ferdinand and was introduced to pressure canning by his mother, who used the technique to preserve meat and garden vegetables.  Randy will show both old and new versions of pressure canners, discuss official methods of pressure canning, and offer examples of food preserved through pressure canning.

Friday, June 28, 7 – 9 pm ET
St. Benedict Brew WorksAll ages    Free (tips welcomed)   Limit: 70
Join family and friends for a fantastic night of favorite songs performed by Dubois County’s own Janis Joplin. Blending her powerful voice and acoustic guitar with her charismatic stage presence and sense of humor, Debbie Schuetter has become a popular performer in theatres, bars, and coffee shops in the region.  Weather permitting, the concert will be on the brewery lawn, so please bring a blanket or chair. In case of inclement weather, the St. Benedict Brew Works theater holds 70. As always, patrons may choose from a variety of craft beer and root beer brewed on site, a variety of area wines, delicious homemade pizza, and more served by a friendly staff.

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