March 2018, Issue 2


  • Reflection: Don’t Leave Our Children Inside 
  • Hitting the Road: Inspirational Bus Tours
  • Sacred Grounds Workshops This Spring
  • Legislative Actions for This Week
  • Deadline: Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship Program - April 13
  • SIGN UP: Vacation Bible School Trainings in Prince George's & Baltimore City
  • Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County
  • Recognition and Continuation of the Lutheran 500 Trees Project
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Volunteer & In-Kind Needs

Reflection: Don’t Leave Our Children Inside

Atlantic_Ocean_image.jpgSome people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it. 

                                                            ~Saint Augustine

In recent weeks the issue of mental health has been at the forefront of my mind.  I have thought often about how the poor mental health of one person, when untreated, can have devastating effects on those who come in contact with that person.  I have engaged in conversations centered on mental health and the safety of our children all around the country.  I have found solace in the fact that many faith leaders are speaking out in support of the young people who are taking a stand for their own safety.  However, I find myself still searching for answers on how best to ensure that we can feel safer in the face of all that is going on around us.

In my search for solutions, I stumbled upon the work of Richard Louv, author of the book Last Child in the Woods.  Louv is a champion of the idea that exposure to nature is closely linked to our mental wellbeing. His books highlight the evidence that being outdoors helps children and adults have a calmer more peaceful disposition, reducing stress, increasing creativity and focused attention. This is due in part to the way that nature engages all of our senses in unstructured time in ways that are not pre-selected. The opportunity for children and adults to experience the fine-tuned attention that nature evokes in us is a deeply healing experience.  Louv’s work largely influenced the founders of the "leave no child inside" movement, promoting nature experiences in children's education. 

It should be no surprise, then, that this demonstrated positive effect on our neurological system has led to some physicians being encouraged by this evidence to "prescribe"nature to address depression as well as obesity in their patients.

An article in The Atlantic also supports the idea that natural environments can provide significantly healing effects. The article’s author, Adam Alter, shares how "People who are exposed to natural scenes aren't just happier or more comfortable; the very building blocks of their physiological wellbeing also respond positively."  He continues to say that "These results are surprising because the effects are so large -- much larger than the effects of many other targeted treatment interventions."    

In many ways, this is what Rev. Sue Lowcock Harris, Co-Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, alludes to in her recent Bay Weeklyarticle.  She shares how the small forest that her congregation tends, has “nourished, awakened, and restored” the children and other members of the congregation. 

As I have continued my search for answers, I have begun to reflect more and more on my own experiences of peace in nature. How the beauty of a forest hike leaves me feeling refreshed. The joy I feel whenever I get the opportunity to be near a lake or the ocean.  The peace that surrounds me as I listen to the sound of waves moving back and forth. In many ways a peace that passes all understanding. But also a peace that has everything to do with the beauty of God’s creation.  My hope is that we will take the time to experience this type of healing and share it with all the children in our lives whenever we can. 

Hitting the Road: Inspirational Bus Tours in Jones Falls for One Water Partnership 

One Water Partnership Green Team Leaders and congregation members are invited to join us on our upcoming "Inspirational Bus Tours". Come see what other congregations in Baltimore have done to help restore healing to our shared waters. Click HERE for flyer with details. If your congregation is in the Jones Falls watershed you can still can join the effort. Email Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or call her at 443-799-0349 for the details. 

Image_for_Sacred_Grounds_Flyer.jpgSacred Grounds Workshops in Prince George's County

Sign up for one of our Sacred Grounds Workshops this spring. Come learn the simple steps that your congregation can take to help your local environment and improve the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Three participants will receive a $250 GIFT CARD to start their garden! Choose one and come join us either Tuesday, April 10 or Saturday, June 10.

For more information CLICK HERE. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Download the flyer HERE

Legislative Updates - March 19, 2018

Forest Conservation

Today - please call your Senator and urge them to support the Forest Conservation Act Amendments, Senate Bill 610. Let's make sure our children have forests to hike through in 50 years. All Senators - All Districts count! Below is a Phone Script you can use. All of the Senator's Phone Numbers are available here. (Not sure who your Senator is? Visit and enter your address to see who represents you.) If you make a call, email Jodi and tell her how it went. 

  • Hi, my name is _________________, and I live at ___________________.
  • I am calling to express my strong support of Forest Conservation Act Amendments, Senate Bill 610
  • (technically you could stop right here…you don’t need to explain why you support it.)
  • As a person of faith who respects the sanctity of the Earth and the whole web of life, I support this bill.
  • The Forest Conservation Act amendments will help protect future generations from the loss of tree canopy.
  • Over the past 8 years, over 14,000 acres of forest have been lost due to development. Developers should not take more from society than they replenish in return. The loss of tree canopy is felt by the general public and future generations, while developers profit from transforming land away from its natural state.
  • We shall not steal trees from the next generation.
  • Please fight for sustained forest cover by supporting this bill.

Ban on Expanded Polystyrene

We are disappointed to report that the ban on expanded polystyrene, Senate Bill 651, was killed in the Senate on Friday night. It did not pass out of the Finance Committee. If you would like to know how your Senator voted and would like to receive our weekly advocacy updates, click HERE and complete the form to receive regular advocacy-related emails. 

Deadline: Chesapeake Conservation Corps Internship Program - April 13th

Great opportunity for young adults looking to embark on a “green” careers. IPC is working with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to identify young adults (ages 18-25) to apply to their Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program, a paid internship beginning August 2018. Click HERE to go to our website to learn more how IPC can help. Or contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349 for more details.

Summer Time Fun: Vacation Bible School Trainings for Prince George's and Baltimore City Congregations

SIGN UP for our God's Water Heroes, Splash Into Living Waters Vacation Bible School & Sunday School Curriculum training for Prince George's County and Baltimore City congregations.  This FREE curriculum and training is focused on caring for God’s waters of Creation within your local watersheds. The trainings are held in three parts. Click HERE for more information and to register. Questions? Contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] or 443-799-0349.

Funding Available in Gaithersburg and Harford County

funding-for-smes.pngIs your congregation located in Gaithersburg or Harford County, and has your community been wanting to install a rain garden, plant trees, or tackle some other pollution-reducing project? Chesapeake Bay Trust has funding available for congregational projects that reduce stormwater pollution. For more information or to ask questions, please email Jodi Rose at [email protected]

Recognition and Continuation of the Lutheran 500 Trees Project

IPC is delighted to learn that the Carroll Lutheran Village has been selected for the prestigious Gretchen Greensheep Award by the Delaware-Maryland Synod's Creation Care Ministry for its contributions to caring for God's amazing creation by planting 70 trees last year (blessed by Bishop William J. Gohl in photo). We are also grateful to be continuing the 500 Trees project with the Synod's Creation Care Ministry for congregations to commemorate the Reformation by planting trees and thereby healing the sacred waters of God's Creation. If your Lutheran or Episcopal congregation is interested in participating please contact Laura Heller at [email protected].

 Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities 

  • March 21 6-8PM Environment in Focus book launch event. Johns Hopkins Press is hosting a public book launch event, with a talk about the challenges faced by the Chesapeake Bay during the Trump Era. Wine & cheese and music, at the beautiful George Peabody Library at 17 East Mount Vernon Place in downtown Baltimore
  • March 21 All Day - Lobby Day on Capitol Hill - All ordained clergy are invited to elevate their voice - contact Jodi Rose at 410-609-6852
  • March 22 World Water Day Find resources to honor water and take action to protect it on this day designated by the United Nations with the theme "The Answer is in Nature" exploring solutions to the challenges to water locally and globally.
  • March 24 9:30AM-12:30PM Community Clean Up @ Henson Creek Park, Camp Springs. Click HERE for more info
  • March 24 3PM Towson Solar Info Session. Learn basics of installing and utilizing residential solar power, financial considerations, and how the solar co-op process works. Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W Chesapeake Ave. RSVP HERE
  • April 7 9AM Woodlands Workday - non-native species removal work day at Catonsville Presbyterian Church
  • April 8 2-5PM One Water Partnership Inspirational Bus Tour Click HEREfor more info
  • April 10 6:30-8:30PM free Sacred Grounds Workshop, Mowatt Memorial UMC, 40 Ridge Road, Greenbelt, MD. RSVP HERE
  • April 10 7-9PM Film "This Changes Everything" Homewood Friends Meeting, Baltimore. Click HERE for more info
  • April 12 10AM-12:30PM. Vacation Bible School Training for Baltimore congregations Click HERE for more information
  • April 14 9AM-2PM Baltimore Native Plant Sale, Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore. Buy native plants directly from the grower. Learn more HERE.
  • April 14 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Easterwood/Sandtown Park n' Playground. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 3-5PM Columbia Families in Nature's Community Forest Project Site Preparation Day to create habitat, benefit our watershed, and be a positive climate action. Event is free but registration is requested. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 Alice Ferguson Foundation's Annual Potomac Cleanup. Volunteer or lead a cleanup. Click HERE for more info
  • April 14 9AM-12PM Potomac Conservancy's Potomac Watershed Cleanup at Fletcher's Cove, Jones Point Park and Anacostia Park. Click HERE for more info.
  • April 21 Vacation Bible School Training for Prince George's County congregations Click HERE for more information
  • April 21 Lobbying Day on Capitol Hill - Faith leaders are welcome to represent Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake in lobbying your US Senators and Congressional Representatives. Contact Jodi at [email protected] if interested
  • April 21 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Baltimore Community ToolBank. Click HERE for more info
  • April 22 3PM Inspirational Nature Walk at Centennial Park in conjunction with Earth Forum of Howard County
  • April 28 9AM-12PM Potomac Conservancy's Potomac Watershed Cleanup at Columbia Island. Click HERE for more info
  • April 28 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Madeira Street Garden. Click HERE for more info
  • April 29 2-5PM One Water Partnership Inspirational Bus Tour. Click HERE for more info
  • April 29 3-5PM Columbia Families in Nature's Community Forest Project Tree Planting Day to create habitat, benefit our watershed, and be a positive climate action. Event is free but registration is requested. Click HERE for more info
  • May 5 10AM Baltimore GROW Center Pop-Up, Langston Huges Community Resource Center. Click HERE for more info

Volunteer and In-Kind Needs 
  • Want to volunteer more regularly during the Maryland Legislative Session for advocacy work? If yes, then you should sign up for our separate Action Alert emails
  • Are you willing to help us coordinate volunteers? We can use your help!
  • Do you like photography? Vidoegraphy? We are always looking for help taking photos at our events, and putting them together in slide shows.  
  • Are you willing to make 5-10 phone calls each week for us to help us follow up with engaged congregations? 

If you can volunteer with us, please complete our Volunteer Signup Form.

Thank you!