Earth Day: Time to Celebrate and Act (and Take Home a Native Plant)

On Sunday, April 24, in honor of Earth Day, UUCWC’s worship service with guest minister, Rev. Megan Lynes, and climate activist Nazish Riaz, titled “When All Life Depends On It” will focus on stories of determination, courage and positive change from the perspective of people living in almost uninhabitable places. This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the first Earth Day…but every day is Earth Day! The social justice portion of the affirmation plate for April 24th will support the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministry for Earth, which is an independent affiliated organization of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) that addresses climate change, our most pressing environmental issue. The UU Ministry for Earth works towards environmental social justice by helping UUs relate their lives to the living Earth, environmental justice and future generations. Consider making a special donation earmarked for this day and this organization.

After the Earth Day service, please find members of the Earth Ministry Team for a plant give-away by the Crossings Room door. We will provide 3 different perennials for you to choose from, for planting in your own garden (or if you like, on the grounds of UUCWC).

The perennial plants are: Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia fulgida v. fulgida); Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and Mountain Mint (Pynanthemum muticum). They are all natives to our area and are great hosts for pollinators. Cardinal flower blooms in late summer, with an upright, tall spike of bright red blooms that attract hummingbirds! Mountain Mint is a native perennial in the mint family. It is commonly found in woodland areas and thickets and it prefers moist to medium well-drained soil. The leaves emit a strong spearmint fragrance when crushed and thus are less susceptible to deer browse. Rudbeckia Black-eyed Susan attracts bees and butterflies, with seeds that are good for the birds. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve has donated some of the plants and assisted in selecting and procuring all. Information will be distributed with the plants.

Planting natives is important since they provide significant food source, and often shelter for native wildlife. Diversity of plant life is important for the overall health of an area. By contrast, invasive plants have no benefit to wildlife as they provide no food and often out-compete the natives.

Caring for our Earth begins at home…and that includes UUCWC. Be sure to help with land stewardship efforts and participate in one or both of the two following cleanups:

• Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space’s (FoHVOS) clean up on Sat. April 9th. In support of the commitment our church made as a River-Friendly organization please join us on April 9th to help keep Hopewell Township clean! Clean Communities Day is an opportunity for groups and individuals to raise money for the nonprofit of their choice while helping clean up Hopewell Valley! You can register by going to the FoHVOS web site.
• UUCWC Grounds Cleanup on Saturday, April 30th, starting at 1 pm (so you can participate in the online Auction which begins that morning!) Bring your own gloves, and water thermos. Some tools and a list of tasks will be provided. One of the tasks will be to weed and check on last year’s Earth Day tree and shrub plantings!