St. Mary's Catholic Parish in Annapolis, Maryland was recently honored by the City of Annapolis in The Capital newspaper. They retrofitted a parking lot that drained polluted runoff into Spa Creek, and installed energy-efficient lighting systems in church buildings. By reposting the recent newspaper article posted in The Capital, we hope this inspires more congregations to see that anything is possible! Click here to read more about this exciting project. If you would like to speak to St. Mary's congregants about their efforts and learn from their experience, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and she will put you in touch with them. Finally, this article from 2009 summarizes the project for which they were recently honored.
(As printed in The Capital newspaper)
Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides announced that St. Mary’s Parish is the first church to be awarded the City of Annapolis’ Environmental Stewardship Certification. “Not only is St. Mary’s committed to environmental education, Father Tizio and his team are role models for environmental best practices,” Mayor Pantelides said. “I applaud both the church and school staff for their ongoing efforts to protect the environment.”
The Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program is a part of the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs' Sustainable Annapolis initiative. Launched in 2009, the Annapolis Environmental Stewardship Certification Program awards best practice certificates to homes, restaurants, lodging establishments, auto repair shops, schools, retail stores, places of worship & other institutions, and office buildings. For a full list, go to http://bit.ly/11slbfI.
St. Mary’s worked with the Spa Creek Conservancy and Carroll House and Gardens to retrofit the 2.1 acre parking lot behind St. Mary’s Church that drains polluting stormwater to Spa Creek. Nine rain gardens were installed to allow much of the runoff to naturally infiltrate the soils. St. Mary’s students helped plant the gardens with water-absorbent native plants.
The rain gardens and improved stormwater management have greatly decreased nutrients, sediment, and toxic chemicals running into Spa Creek after each rain storm. Rain barrels have been placed around drain spouts from school buildings to hold stormwater from roofs and prevent pollution.
Working with BG&E and the University of Maryland, a comprehensive energy audit of the parish facilities was conducted and meetings arranged with BG&E energy conservation leaders to plan energy conservation measures that BG&E helps fund. Highly efficient lighting systems have been installed in three of St. Mary’s buildings and records show that electric use has been cut by an average of 18 percent in these buildings. That is a total reduction of about 104,000 kilowatt-hours a year, which translates into about $8,000 in annual savings.
The school is committed to environmental education through academic programs, club activities, and through volunteer learning opportunities, offering a range of courses and activities that encourages students to consider their place in the natural world. St. Mary’s Elementary was designated a Green School by the state of Maryland.