(Photo by Peter Gianokos of Sligo Creek)
My neighborhood is named after its watershed, Sligo Creek Neighborhood, which lies between Sligo Creek and Long Branch Creek (in Takoma Park, MD), both of which flow into the Anacostia watershed, and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay. Last spring we were hit with a deluge of heavy rain, which fell fast and furious in a short period of time. The next day my heart sank when this subject line popped into my inbox from Friends of Sligo Creek (FOSC): “Large Fish and Salamander Kill at Sligo Creek and Long Branch.” A FOSC member drove down to Sligo and Long Branch to assess the situation where he met Chris Luckett, Fish Kill Section, Maryland Department of the Environment. He said that he saw a large number of dead fish on Long Branch and in one case a pool of a dozen dead fish was seen. He estimated that there were 50-60 dead fish. (Photo at left, credit: Peter Gianokos)
We later learned that this was largely due to the effect of such a heavy rain event “flushing” too much water too quickly, carrying with it toxins and nutrients that washed off of roofs, pavements, and lawns into the creek. In essence, the fish suffocated as a result. This sad story is just one local example of how stormwater runoff is becoming an increasing problem as a consequence of climate change since we are having more “extreme rain events”. Changes in rainfall patterns are occurring worldwide, where some areas are stricken with drought, while others are experiencing massive floods. Overall however, “regardless of shifts in total rain, more of it is coming in heavy downpours.” (Cornell University)
Is your stormwater project ready to break ground? Are you thinking of having a blessing ceremony for the newly planted garden or trees and the volunteers that made that happen? IPC developed a “Toolkit for Faithful Stewards” to help you make the most of the outreach and community education portions of your projects. You can access our newly revised Toolkit on our Resource page, then just click on the top “ToolKit”. We have also set up a conference call for Friday, September 4th 10-11 AM to go over the toolkit, how to use it, and answer questions. Please RSVP to let us know whether or not you can participate in the conference call. Pre-register on our website at: http://www.interfaithchesapeake.org/toolkit_wrkshop_conf_call
Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin to be Honored
We are thrilled to announce that the Co-Chair of our Board, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, will be honored as a Watershed Champion by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay at their annual Taste of the Chesapeake Gala. Every year the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay honors those who are making a difference in Chesapeake Bay restoration, and we are proud that they are recognizing one of our own this year. They are also recognizing Rev. Johnny Calhoun, African Methodist Episcopal pastor, for his work with “Black is the New Green.” He has been instrumental in the success of our RiverWise Congregations Program. We encourage your support of this event and support the great work that all of these organizations are doing.
One of the best ways to help restore creation is to plant trees! We are currently enrolling faith communities for free tree plantings! Congregations of all faiths are needed to join in this united effort to heal Creation through tree plantings. Our Trees for Sacred Places Program provides everything your community needs for the tree planting, customized support, and an educational/spiritual workshop specific for your faith tradition. If you know of a religious-owned property (congregational grounds, retreat center, summer camp, retirement community, etc.) that has open spaces that can be converted from lawn to forest, contact Bonnie Sorak at email@example.com or 410-609-6852. This program is available throughout the state of Maryland. View and download the flyer here.
How to Move Your Green Ministry Forward to Action?
Are you starting from scratch, just getting things off the ground with your Creation Care ministry or perhaps your congregation has already been deeply engaged in a variety of environmental stewardship activities. Either case, you are wondering “What’s next?” and “How do we get there?”
Examples of CPP generated plans/activities:
The Covenantal Partners Program offers a facilitated process to assist your congregation to develop a response to the environmental challenges of our time. We are actively seeking groups in Baltimore (city or county) interested in learning more about the program. Click here for details and contact Bonnie Sorak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-609-6852 if you have questions. Download flyer here
Call for Public Advocates
Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act - This act requires Maryland to cut economy-wide carbon pollution by 25% by 2020. The Maryland Climate Change Commission, made up of elected officials, heads of state agencies, and advocates, will release a key report this fall recommending next steps on climate action in Maryland. By speaking up now -- before the August 31st deadline for public input -- you can help influence the commission’s final report to the Governor and the General Assembly. Chesapeake Climate Action Network has set up a form to submit pre-scripted letters to the commission, which you can access here. Or you may wish to prepare your own letter, and submit to the Commission directly here email@example.com
Montgomery County, MD - Healthy Lawns Bill 52-14 currently limits the non-essential (cosmetic) application of toxic pesticides on lawns throughout Montgomery County. At the next Transportation and Environment hearing, the committee chair will seek to amend the bill by allowing parks, businesses, private residents and Homeowner Associations to continue using toxic lawn pesticides. Those who support Bill 52-14 unamended are encouraged to be present at the next T&E Committee hearing on Thursday, September 17th, 9:30 am, 3rd Floor Montgomery County Council Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. Or, click here to submit a letter to your representative regarding this matter.
Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Here are some Upcoming Events, and chances for you to help us! Please consider attending an event on IPC’s behalf to staff a table for an hour or two to spread the message of faith and renewal. We will arrange to get you all the supplies you will need and train you about all the programs we have available. Please contact Bonnie Sorak at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to volunteer. Even if you can’t help out consider attending to show your support. (**Denotes your volunteer help is needed.)
**Sept. 12th 1-8PM Sustainafest, Indian Creek Upper School, 1130 Anne Chambers Way, Crownsville, MD 21032 Event begins at 1:00; Films begin at 6:30 Click HERE for more information.
**Sept. 12th 1PM-4PM F.R.E.E. (Furnace Creek Restoration Environmental Expo) organized by one of our Riverwise Congregations, Faith Baptist Church of Glenn Burnie. Click HERE for more information.
Sept. 12th 5:30PM-7:30PM, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in DC is hosting “Climate SMART: Honoring Our Children's Future Through Faith, Art and Action.” Join artists and parishioners in discerning how Pope Francis' Encyclical might change your life. Click HERE for more information.
**Sept. 19th 10AM–4PM Montebello Lake Centennial Celebration, sponsored by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works. Celebrating clean water. Free activities for children and parking with shuttle service. Click HERE for more information.
Sept. 19th Jodi will be speaking at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Derwood, MD
Sept. 27th 10AM Christ the King Episcopal Church, 1930 Brookdale Road, Baltimore 21244; Sermon on climate justice.
**Oct. 3rd 11AM-3PM Blue & Green Festival at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Eastport. More information HERE. Meet some of our RiverWise Congregation Watershed Stewards to learn what their congregations are doing about polluted stormwater.
Oct. 3rd 12PM-4PM Feast of St. Francis Family Fun Day and Blessing of Animals. St. Pius X Church, 6428 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212. Visit Blue Water Baltimore's table display about their Blue Water Congregation project plans.
Oct. 3rd 9AM-Noon Friends of Herring Run Parks is hosting 4 clean up sites along the Herring Run Watershed in Baltimore. Click HERE for more information.
Cisterns in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties
We are excited to partner with the Anacostia Riverkeeper on efforts to install stormwater management projects at faith-owned properties in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. Cisterns are large rain barrels approximately 650 gallon capacity and can be installed at houses of worship to store and release rainfall for non-potable water uses and stormwater disposal. Cisterns can alleviate flooding problems as well as reduce your property’s contribution of polluted runoff.
The Anacostia Riverkeeper intends to secure the funding for these projects up front so that they are no cost to the congregation. If your congregation has a roof at least 500 square feet in size and the space to install a large cistern, please consider this wonderful opportunity for a free project on your grounds. To learn more or express your interest, please contact Jodi Rose at email@example.com or 410-609-6852.
Can You Give Back to IPC?
If you have some time and would like to help us to spread our message more effectively please contact Bonnie Sorak at Bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org.
Watershed Realities: Stormwater Kills Local Fish
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