"I have learned how important clean water, trees and other native plants are and want to share this with others in the neighborhood."
~ Janell Belcher
..I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young will see visions, your old will dream dreams.
~ Acts 2:17
Janell Belcher is only 16, but she is helping make some big changes in her community. A youth member of Mount Lebanon Baptist Church (MLBC), and a Gold Award Girl Scout, she can often be found on her congregations’s grounds where she has worked with her grandparents and other church members to plant trees, and install a cistern and rain garden.
In 2018, Janell attended one of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake’s "Inspirational Bus Tours" and was inspired to focus her pursuit of a Girl Scout Gold Award on the planned rain garden, tree planting and cistern installation at MLBC. Over several months she helped do presentations to neighborhood associations, helped with a pollinator garden installation at another local church, spoke at an environmental film showing and panel discussion and participated in a trash clean-up in the surrounding community.
That November, Janell participated in a One Water Partnership Interfaith Youth Service and led the group gathered at the service by reading Psalm 1:1-3. The service was followed by a planting of more than 75 trees at a site in Cherry Hill, Baltimore where Janell led a "Litany of Commitment for Creation Care."
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Since the projects at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church have been completed, Janell has continued to do outreach to other churches and the surrounding neighborhood associations to share her newfound knowledge. She has created an informational brochure and is committed to letting her light shine as a young environmental steward.