When communities are healthy, wildlife flourish too.

IPC’s work with congregations through the National Wildlife Federation’s Sacred Grounds program exemplifies how places of worship honor Creation by promoting native plants, which are essential for thriving ecosystems and flourishing wildlife. These plants not only enhance ecological health but also foster community well-being by fostering connections with nature and supporting vital functions such as stormwater management and local food production. Through initiatives like Sacred Grounds, communities are empowered to integrate environmental stewardship into their practices, bridging the gap between faith and environmental care. This program aids houses of worship nationwide in achieving their visions, ranging from community building to wildlife habitat creation, while encouraging the planting of native gardens to ensure equitable access to nature, especially in underserved urban, BIPOC, and Indigenous communities.

See the Sacred Grounds Program in Action

Right here in the Chesapeake region, participating IPC Partner Congregations have held inspiring webinars and workshops, hosted native plant giveaways, installed native plant gardens, and inspired and educated their communities on the benefits of planting natives.

The Indonesian Muslim Association in America (IMAAM) Center in Silver Spring, Maryland embarked on a journey towards becoming a Sacred Grounds Congregation after attending IPC's Faithful Green Leaders Training program. Partnering with not only the National Wildlife Federation, but also the Friends of Sligo Creek and Interfaith Power & Light of DC/MD/NoVA, they were able to enhance wildlife habitat and foster environmental stewardship.

The Episcopal Church of the Ascension is another congregation participating in the Sacred Grounds program and was recently awarded a 2024 Environmental Achievement Award by the City of Gaithersburg. With support from IPC and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, they have taken much pride in caring for their grounds and installed a rain garden and a rain barrel to address stormwater runoff, while planting seven native trees to further mitigate environmental impacts.

IPC’s mission includes working to achieve a healthy watershed for all community members of all faiths, races and cultures, working together for the common good. Our work would not be possible without the support of our funders and the many congregations we work with that share this vision. There are many opportunities for funding for projects like this, supporting and continuing education, and outreach through various organizations. Join IPC for our May Learning Lab where you’ll hear from some of those organizations and get great tips on how to successfully apply for a grant!