Restoration of Nature – St. Luke’s Eastport
Episcopal Diocese of Maryland
(photo courtesy of Sandra Kirkland)

The Most Rev. Michael Curry
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

ONE OF OUR FEATURED PROJECTS…

One subject of our attention is highlighting and promoting amazing big and not-so-big environmental projects accomplished by churches, bigger and smaller, throughout the Diocese. An outstanding example is that of St. Luke’s in Eastport, Maryland, a mission-sized church building which owns what in 2017 remained a largely vacant, 4-acre parcel of adjoining land (two-thirds grass monoculture).

Today, St. Luke’s Restoration of Nature is a comprehensive watershed ecosystem restoration extending from the top of a watershed to tidewater serving Chesapeake Bay clean water goals, resiliency to multiple climate stressors, quality habitat/community green space, and environmental literacy and stewardship.

All life is uplifted, including aquatic species, wildlife, and humans in this urban space where access to quality greenspace and tidal interface are rare. The construction has been completed since mid-2018 producing a clean stream of water into Back Creek. Aquatic life has rebounded with small fish, tadpoles and frogs, dragonflies and butterflies, turtles, and birds and bees. Waterfowl and fish have returned within the dynamic living shoreline and tidal marsh, which provides food and shelter for them. An eagle and osprey have been spotted at the shoreline fighting over a fish!

Environmental literacy is expanded with civic/environmental groups and public/private schools using the 4-acre campus with easily traversed trails as a prime outdoor educational venue. In addition to best management practices in urban stormwater management, a variety of science subjects are taught including biology, zoology, geology, ecology, and multiple resiliency benefits that a watershed ecosystem provides in reducing atmospheric carbon, cooling air and water temperatures, protecting drinking water resources through massive infiltration installations, managing storm floods, and absorbing tidal flood water in the tidal marsh and living shoreline.

Plan to visit this stunning project, rain or shine. We actually recommend picking a rainy day where rushing water descends here and there along some 1,000 feet of active naturescape to Back Creek.

St. Luke’s Restoration of Nature includes property owned by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Watergate Pointe Apartments, which together the two placed in perpetuity for the benefit of the Chesapeake Bay Program clean water goals. Project funders were, primarily, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, and included The Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering.

Photo by Sandra Kirkland

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