River Friendly: Green and Gold

We Are Gold: River-Friendly

After several years of effort and review, the Earth Ministry Team is pleased to announce that UUCWC has been certified as a “River-Friendly Community Partner” by The Watershed Institute of Pennington, NJ. Al Johnson and Barbara Drew, Co-chairs of Earth Ministry Team, noted that, “Not only is UUCWC the first organization to be certified, but we received the top recognition by achieving Gold status.”

We will receive a plaque for our Gold River-Friendly Community Partner award. The Earth Ministry Team is grateful to Steve Saddlemire and Scott Drew, Grounds Committee Co-chairs, who helped immeasurably to assemble a detailed application that documented our many land stewardship, water conservation, and facility management actions that make us green, eco-friendly and river-friendly at the Gold level. The rigorous review included comments by the Watershed Institute and two additional environmental organizations in our area.

Having green plants in the Sanctuary and Crossings Room, (currently cared for by Susan Irgang, our multi-tasking Congregational Administrator), a vegetable garden (which supplies food for HomeFront and Food Ministry), reduced mow areas, habitat for wildlife, and a compost area, along with managing our church grounds with measures that protect our natural resources and participating in community cleanups and climate change protests, all contribute to our eco- and river-friendly achievements. Future projects include installing birdhouses, which could be made and provided by our youth and families. We also will advocate for reducing single-use plastics for our church gatherings.

We Are Green: Indoor Plants and Native Plantings

Earth Ministry is also pleased to announce that we are the recipients of two grants to enhance our grounds with native plantings. UUCWC’s Endowment Grant and Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve (New Hope, PA) will fund native plantings that support wildlife habitat and improve the aesthetics of the parking berms. With the temporary relocation of our entrance due to the capital campaign construction, these plantings will be significant improvements to our “front yard.” We will remove any invasive plants and prep the soils for native shrubs and small trees that are well-suited to the growing conditions of the site. Native plants support wildlife by attracting birds, butterflies and generally contribute to the biodiversity and health of a property. By contrast, non-native plants have little value: they can be invasive by choking out other plants and they also generally do not provide food that attracts and support wildlife.

Earth Ministry has always been more than the used books and organic products sales (coffee, tea, olive oil and chocolate) which enable Earth Ministry to supply the coffee for our Fellowship Hours. This past April 22 was the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day and many special activities were planned by Earth Ministry, including a mindful meditation walk of our grounds, two films on the environment, and a “Green Table” where we provide information on topics such as composting, recycling and native plantings. We are currently looking into ways we can continue to offer advocacy, information, and organic products while the church building is closed.

If you have a green thumb and want to help with our green plants and veggie garden…if you want to do more to protect our environment at UUCWC, at your home, in our community… please contact Al Johnson or Barbara Drew at earthministry@uucwc.org.