What happens when a Green Team, becomes a Super Green Team?

The Oakland Mills Interfaith Center’s (OMIC) Green Team is comprised of representatives from nearly half dozen congregations in Columbia, MD!

  • Bet Aviv
  • Columbia Baptist Fellowship
  • Columbia Jewish Congregation
  • Columbia United Christian Church
  • Kol Nefesh
  • Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church 

Their beautiful Interfaith Center, also known as "The Meeting House", has over 30,000 square feet of space on more than 6 acres! The group has a wonderful history of inclusiveness constructed during a time in Columbia’s past when shared religious facilities were an integral part of New Town Planning. OMIC truly embodies James Rouse’s (a Maryland native) who helped create the community’s vision by building “a garden for the growing of people.” 

For the last decade, OMIC congregations have had Green Teams that work in fellowship under the OMIC Green Team umbrella. Current green team leaders include Karolina DuBois, Chelle Ginsburg, Wendy Hall, RoseMarie Meservey, Hans Plugge, Marti Simpson, Bonnie Sorak, Kathleen Valdivia, Ruth Alice White, and their very many cherished volunteers. This dedicated group has been awarded 4 grants this past year and recently, the center has been funded with more than $25,000 from the Howard County Plastics Reduction and Environmental Protection (PREP) Grant to transform the community’s sustainability. The grant has a nearly doubled their in-kind match (value of volunteer hours) committed by the OMIC Green Team. In addition to the congregations, outside organizations such as environmental nonprofits and schools will be part of the grant implementation process. Funding will focus on sustainable food and waste management, especially waste minimization (composting and reusable water bottles), and educational efforts. Outreach efforts to educating the public on storm water management, plastic bag replacements, rain gardens, and a Youth Green Team will also be a part of this proposal.

This is simply a slice of their many incredible projects going back to 2015 when IPC first engaged with OMIC through our Trees for Sacred Places program. Through this program a total of 60 trees were planted that boast a 90% survivability rate. This impressive effort took the approval from each of the 5 congregations that share the facility, the OMIC Board, and Village Architectural Review Committee. The team also helps to maintain other expansive projects such as their 4 rain gardens, 1,000-gallon cistern, beautiful pollinator garden, and educational workshops.

There is lots to see and do at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center in Columbia, wonderful projects to appreciate, and amazing green team leaders to meet!

Sarah Redden


Program & Outreach Coordinator (Montgomery, Frederick, Prince George's, DMV)