Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake


  • Reflection: Sikh Environment Day
  • Calls Needed to Support the Bag Ban and Pesticide Bill Donate_Button.jpg
  • Trees for Sacred Places
  • Free Boat Tours on Anacostia River
  • Lenten Calendar Resources
  • Experience Trash - Clean a Stream!
  • Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Recap
  • Upcoming Events

Sikh Environmental Day is coming up on Monday March 14th. To honor this special day, we invited Sumeet Kaur, Program Manager for EcoSikh North America to share a reflection on the meaning and purpose of the day:

Sikh Environment Day is an annual celebration of the Mother Nature by Sikhs around the world. The day, which occurs every March 14th is inspired by the seventh guru of Sikhism, Guru Har Rai, one of the earliest environmentalists in the Indian subcontinent.

One particular story of Guru Har Rai as a child illustrates his inherent appreciation for the natural world. As a young boy, Har Rai was riding his horse when he noticed Guru Hargobind in the distance. Har Rai quickly dismounted his horse and ran to Guru Hargobind, but as he rushed toward his company, his long robe became caught on a bush and broke some flowers from their stems. Distraught from killing these flowers, Har Rai started crying. He was deeply hurt from this incident and vowed never to pluck a flower or kill a plant for the rest of his life. As a guru, Guru Har Rai grew medicinal plants in his famous gardens and purposely contributed to creating diverse ecosystems where plants and animals would thrive.


Drawing inspiration from the Guru's life, Sikhs today celebrate Sikh Environment Day. Sikhs throughout the world celebrate by planting trees, hosting recycling drives, gardening, and conducting workshops and seminars on green living. Last year, more than 2,000 gurdwaras (Sikh temple), schools and organizations celebrated Sikh Environment Day from six different continents, and more are planned to celebrate in 2016. One of the biggest celebrations will be taking place in the DC area, at Guru Gobind Singh Foundation of Virginia, in Potomac Maryland on Sunday, March 13th. People of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to visit the temple, learn about Sikh history, and partake in the festivities beginning at noon following the service. It is not only a day of celebrating Guru Har Rai’s life, but also a tribute to the environmentalist messages embedded in Sikh tradition.

Not many people know a lot about the Sikh faith, but we at EcoSikh hope that through positive actions, we can spread the values we are taught as Sikhs: to remember God, to work hard, and to perform selfless work. On Sikh Environment Day, we aim to do all those things.

Learn more about Sikh Environment Day with these resources.


Phone Calls are Needed This Week to Support the Bag Ban and Pesticide Bill

Bag Ban
Please click here for an easy-to-read script, and how to find your representative's phone number. It's so important that you call this week! It takes only 30 seconds and has a huge impact. They need to hear from you, otherwise they're just representing themselves! This bill is moving through the process and it helps for your legislator to hear what you think about it.

Pesticide Bill
Many people don't realize that when they buy flowers or plants for their gardens, they might be buying products that have been treated with neonic pesticides. Eco-minded legislators in the House and Senate are working hard to pass a pesticide bill that would ban neonic-treated plants and seedlings in Maryland. If you support this bill, you can raise your voice by calling your legislator. Find your legislator here: here for more information about the bill and talking points for your phone call.


Trees for Sacred Places - Free Trees for Faith Communities

We have opportunities right NOW for congregations in Montgomery County and Maryland-wide to obtain free trees for their grounds.  Trees are "Creation's Cure-all" since they filter pollutants from the water, reduce stormwater runoff (#1 source of water pollution from urban and suburban locations), prevent soil erosion, and mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide.  

The Trees for Sacred Places program offers all of these for FREE:   (See list of participating congregations and find out more information here.)

  • Spiritual workshops to explore faith teachings on stewardship along with the spiritual meanings of trees and water in our faith traditions
  • Educational workshops on the importance of tree planting in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  • Planting Plan tailored to your site
  • Hands-on training for tree planting and maintenance
  • Crew leaders to train the congregation's volunteers on the planting day
  • And, of course, FREE Native trees!  

Interested in learning more? Contact Bonnie Sorak, [email protected] or 410-609-6852View and download Flyer here. 

Tree Planting Days

March 19 
- at Mar-lu-ridge Lutheran Camp, Jefferson, MD, beginning at 8:30am.
April 10 - at Camp Gan Israel, Columbia, MD, 2pm.
April 17 - at Adat Shalom, Bethesda, MD, 10am-12pm.
April 23 - at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Adelphi, MD, 9am.


Boat Tours on Anacostia River

One of our nation's most degraded rivers is right here in our back yard: the Anacostia River. The DC Department of Environment is providing a great opportunity for groups to participate in free boat tours with the Anacostia Riverkeeper. Get up close and personal with the river and its struggles, learn about its history, and the solutions helping it realize its full potential. Tours are for up to 12 people and are 1- or 2-hour tours. This is free, paid for by the DC Bag Fee (how smart! Ban bags AND raise awareness!) More information?

If you would like to take a group from your congregation, please contact IPC's Program Assistant Farley Lord Smith at [email protected]


Lenten Calendars

Keep God's Creation in mind when starting your Lenten journey. These state-specific calendars offers suggestions for caring for creation on each day of Lent in a variety of ways. Feel free to download and print them for your congregation, too!

Maryland Lenten Calendar
Virginia Lenten Calendar
Washington, DC Lenten Calendar


Experience Trash First-hand: Clean a Stream!

Want to see first-hand the trash that accumulates in our sacred waters? Volunteer with Project Clean Stream or Alice Ferguson Foundation's Potomac Watershed Cleanup and be forever changed! Get your Men's Group, Bible Study Group, Boy Scout group, or Green Team together for a field trip and join the movement. This is free and easy to organize. There are many stream cleanup projects organized throughout the state, but here are two of the bigger ones. 

Project Clean Stream - April 2nd
Alice Ferguson Foundation Potomac Watershed Cleanup
 - They'll support cleanups any time between March 26th and May 8th

Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Forum Recap

Nearly 400 people registered and attended a mayoral candidate forum at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Baltimore to hear current candidates talk about sustainable living. If you missed it, detailed responses from the candidates and videos are available here. Thank you to all who came out! 

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • March Lobby Nights on GGRE - Speak out in support of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Click here to sign up to participate and connect with Interfaith Power and Light for more information.
    • March 7 - for those living in Montgomery County and Western Maryland
    • March 21 - for those living in Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore
  • March 13 - Elevation Chapel AME Church holds their Community Visioning session to kick off their participation in Blue Water Congregations
  • March 18 Ecological Stations of the CrossSt. Matthew Catholic Church in Baltimore conducts Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. Several alternative stations readings will be focused on the earth/environment. The Liturgy Committee will be offering these Ecological Stations of the Cross on the following dates/times:  Friday, Feb. 12 (noon), Sunday, Feb. 21 (10 am), Friday, Mar. 18 (noon). This is a good way to remain focused on Pope Francis's call to "Care for Our Common Home"!
  • March 19 - Faith and Earth Stewardship: Sacred Waters and Trees of Life workshop led by IPC staff on the faith foundations of caring for Creation and Earth stewardship focused on watershed restoration.  2-4pm at Fox Haven Farm and Learning Center, Jefferson, MD. To register or for more information: email to [email protected]
  • March 19 - 14th Annual Prayer Breakfast - Join Radio One as they honor 20 pastors in the DC region. Tickets and Tables for purchase here.
  • March 20 - Enough - Enough, Too Much, and Not Enough Featuring Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin & Rebecca Rehr, Public Health Advocacy Coordinater, Maryland Environmental Health Network. Earth Forum of Howard County 2-4:30 PM at First Presbyterian Church
  • April 9 - Spring Fling at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, after services. The Spring Fling is an annual street party in McElderry Park, an urban neighborhood in east Baltimore. Amazing Grace will be showcasing their new rain garden, existing vegetable garden, and impervious paved alley. Come celebrate with us! 2424 McElderry St, Baltimore, MD 21205

Volunteers Needed - We anticipate that the flood gates will open with Earth Day requests for IPC to suggest speakers for services and events and informational sharing opportunities. We will need your help to meet this wonderfully growing demand to spread our message of faithful renewal! If you have expertise or simply wonderful enthusiasm for our cause that you would like to share as a speaker or by attending an event to staff an information table on IPC’s behalf please contact Bonnie Sorak at [email protected] . We can share slide presentations with you and will arrange to get you all the supplies you will need and train you about all the programs we have available. Here are some specific requests that have already come in:
  • Sat. April 16 Baltimore Ecofest 
  • Sat. April 16 Baltimore - Ben Fest (Brooklyn Neighborhood Festival) 
  • Sat. April 23 Baltimore Mayors Clean Up
  • Sun. April 24 Earth Wind Faith Festival Annapolis Town Centre - 2-4:30 Information Table