Many parishes have taken action to fulfill God’s commandments. Please consider joining them. It’s easy to get started by replacing incandescent light bulbs and arranging for an energy audit of parish facilities. We know of the following parish green actions and welcome receiving your additions:
In late fall of 2016, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will begin construction on a comprehensive watershed restoration initiative in Annapolis on Back Creek, sub watershed of the Severn River, tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Through the use of Best Management Practices, the historic stream on the property will be restored. The stream will be re-established by daylighting stormwater pipes, allowing the water to enter a series of step pools and weirs that naturally conveys stormwater while slowing it down and spreading it out allowing replenishment of the aquifer through infiltration while also treating the water as it flows and seeps through the stream channel and re-established balanced ecosystem. At the tidal interface, the project, will tie in more BMPs by re-establishing native tidal marsh habitat and living shoreline on Watergate Pointe’s property furthering improving water quality while stabilizing eroding banks. To find out more and follow along in their progress please go to their website.
On the property of St Paul’s there sits a rain garden. IT is part of the Clean Howard project to help stem the fastest growing source of pollution that runs off into the Chesapeake Bay. This rain garden, built by county youth in the READY program, acts like a native forest by collecting, absorbing, and filtering the stormwater coming off roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and patios. Compared to a conventional lawn, rain gardens reduce runoff by allowing 30% more water to soak into the ground. The garden protects the waterways by removing almost 90% of the nutrients and chemicals, and 80% of the sediment carried by stormwater runoff.
St Margaret’s has recently finished a major renovation on their Formation Building. The Formation Building houses of a Fellowship Hall and Sunday School classrooms on the upper level, and a preschool through Kindergarten Day School on the ground level. It is attached to the Parish Hall. The Day School is a Certified Maryland Green School by the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (www.maeoe.org).
The foyer has a large skylight that provides natural illumination. All of the lighting and interior furnishings meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED standards. The lights automatically dim to use less energy if natural illumination is sufficient. The furnishings are made from low VOC materials and include salvaged materials (for example, the tables made from the tree that had to be taken down.) Only green cleaning products are used. The HVAC system is an environmentally advanced LEED Certified Daikin system that includes filters and purifies the interior air to hospital standards. There are photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the building. St. Margaret’s accumulated enough LEED credits to obtain a LEED Silver Certification for the new Formation Building.
Near the parish offices are a rain garden, complete with several rain barrels. Most if not all of the rain and stormwater runoff from the parking lots and grounds is collected in an infiltration pond on the property. Collected rainwater is also used to water the garden used by the Day School for outdoor and environmental education. The Day School maintains a composter and composts all of its food waste. A student in each class is given the responsibility of composting the uneaten food for his or her classroom. It is amazing how the students learn stewardship for creation at such a young age.
Blue Water Baltimore’s mission is to restore the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams and Harbor to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving communities. For too long, Baltimore’s waterways have been dumping grounds for contaminated stormwater runoff, trash, sewage, and toxic chemicals. This pollution not only harms our environment, it also threatens our citizens’ health and the vitality of our local economy.
Blue Water Baltimore works to reduce pollution using a comprehensive approach by connecting resources in the community, monitoring water quality and identifying sources of pollution, and educating both the public and the legislators. Churches can choose to help combat water pollution through education as well as small projects such as collecting water in rain barrels or constructing rain gardens to help prevent runoff pollution. Churches that choose to help tackle this issue are known as Blue Water Congregations. Blue Water Congregations is a program funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and spearheaded by Blue Water Baltimore and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.
- Cathedral of the incarnation – Baltimore
- Church of the Redeemer – Baltimore
- The Episcopal Church of the Holy Covenant – Baltimore
- Christ the King Episcopal Church – Windsor Mill
- Memorial Episcopal Church – Baltimore
- St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church – Baltimore
- St John’s in the Village – Baltimore
- St Luke’s in the City – Baltimore
- St Mathias Episcopal Church – Baltimore
- Church of the Guardian angel – Baltimore
- The Church of the Holy Nativity – Baltimore
- St David’s Episcopal Church – Baltimore
Originally called 10,000 Trees when this project was begun in 2013, Trees for Sacred Places engages houses of worship across Maryland to help increase forest stream buffers and urban tree Canopies. Over the past two years, 45 congregations and schools have participated in this project which also provides opportunities to educate a large and diverse regional group of Chesapeake Bay residents in the restoration process of the Chesapeake watershed. Through Trees for Sacred Places, each congregation receives free trees for planting as well as two workshops, one on the importance of native trees to the environment and one on the sacred importance of trees.
The goal of the Trees for Sacred Places is two-fold – to plant trees to provide habitat and water quality benefits to the Chesapeake Bay watershed ecosystem, and to empower congregants to become environmental stewards of their own properties and provide them with the tools necessary to make informed decisions on property management including good source for native plants. Trees for Sacred Places is a program organized jointly by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and funded by a variety of sources including the Maryland DNR and Chesapeake Bay Trust.
The congregations in the Diocese of Maryland who have participated in this program are:
- Christ Episcopal Church – Windsor Mill
- Christ the King Episcopal Church – Baltimore
- Epiphany Episcopal Church – Baltimore
- St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church – Baltimore
- St James Episcopal Church – Monkton
- St Luke’s Episcopal Church – Annapolis
- St Margaret’s Episcopal Church – Annapolis