CREATION CARE MINISTRY
The Episcopal Church’s Covenant for the Care of Creation is a commitment to practice loving formation, liberating advocacy, and life-giving conservation as individuals, congregations, ministries and dioceses. It is helpful to review this as our Creation Care Ministry moves forward using this covenant as our guide:
In Jesus, God so loved the whole world. We follow Jesus, so we love the world God loves. Concerned about the global climate emergency, drawing from a range of approaches for our diverse contexts, we commit to form and restore loving, liberating, life-giving relationships with all of Creation.
LOVING FORMATION For God’s sake, we will grow our love for the Earth and all of life through preaching, teaching, storytelling, and prayer.
LIBERATING ADVOCACY For God’s sake, standing alongside marginalized, vulnerable peoples, we will advocate and act to repair Creation and seek the liberation and flourishing of all people.
LIFE-GIVING CONSERVATION For God’s sake, we will adopt practical ways of reducing our climate impact and living more humbly and gently on Earth as individuals, households, congregations, institutions, and dioceses.
To learn more about Immanuel’s Creation Care Ministry and Action Team, contact Denise Freeland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for information on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle
2021 CREATION CARE NEWS
Celebrating Trees: A Creation Care Resource
This fall, Plant NOVA Natives/Plant NOVA Trees is launching a multi-year campaign to plant and preserve native trees in Northern Virginia in order to increase and protect our life-giving tree canopy. The Department of Environmental Quality is asking Northern Virginia to plant 600,000 trees by 2025.
Here’s how you can help. According to Alexandria City arborist John Marlin, our church and property-owning parishioners and friends can have a substantial impact on this effort to increase tree canopy. Since most available land in Northern Virginia is private property, we won’t meet the goal without planting thousands of new trees in our neighborhoods and in our own private spaces. We CAN make a difference!
Benefits of Trees
Did you know that trees sequester carbon, making them crucial partners in reducing our carbon emissions? They help purify the air!
Other benefits include:
It’s fun to see the National Tree Benefit Calculator. It’s a simple estimation of the benefits individual street trees provide. Check it out at http://www.treebenefits.com/calculator/index.cfm
Tree Planting Recommendations
Plant native trees. A tree is native to our environment if it evolved within the local food web and has the intricate relationships with animals and other plants that this implies.
https://www.plantnovanatives.org/ and https://www.plantnovatrees.org/
Plant large, shade trees where practical as they provide exponentially greater benefits than smaller ornamental trees. (Shade trees are the medium to large trees in our region such as oak trees.)
Plant a diverse mix of trees to ensure that no single invasive pest or disease can destroy your entire planting.
Diversity also means that instead of just planting 5 different oaks, consider planting one oak, one maple, one elm, one hackberry, etc.
The Alexandria City Arborist encourages us to support or plant some of the less common species, such as blackgum. A recommended list of trees to consider in the City is attached.
Where to Buy the Right Tree
A great resource for choosing native plants of all types for landscapes is
Several small nurseries grow more obscure native plants and could probably make some recommendations as well:
Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria are Northern Virginia volunteers who take the lead to enhance a sustainable urban forest through volunteer activities and public education programs.
Volunteer activities include:
Recent Books on the Importance of Trees in Our Yards and Communities
The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees
by Douglas W. Tallamy
Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard
by Douglas W. Tallamy
The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden
by Richard Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy
How to Plant a Tree
Select the right tree for your location. Check that it will fit your site when it grows, and remember that roots grow and spread as well.
Don’t add “better” soil. Native trees prefer local soils.
Dig a hole twice the diameter of the roots. Spread the young tree’s roots and place it in the hole so the root crown is level with the surface. Add the soil back to the hole, a little at a time, watering as you go to settle the soil around the roots.
Mulch lightly to control weeds, but don’t pile mulch up to the tree trunk. Leave a gap between trunk and the mulch.
During its first year, make sure the tree gets water regularly.
Fall is the best time to plant most trees, because fall is when most root growth happens.
Young trees may need protection from deer.
Plant small - it takes one year per inch caliper for trees to establish and they will need watering that entire time. Smaller trees also transplant better.
After getting established in their first year, native trees require little or no care, because they are perfectly adapted to local conditions. More details about native tree planting and maintenance can be found here: https://www.plantnovanatives.org/native-trees
A Poem: Advice From A Tree
By Ilan Shamir
English Spanish Gujarati Hindi
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!
(When you plant a tree, you’ll grow a friend, a friend you’ll have for life!)
The Celebrating Trees Resource Guide was gathered by Immanuel’s Creation Care Action Team in support of the Episcopal Church’s Covenant to care for God’s Creation. If you would like more information about Creation Care activities at Immanuel Church, please contact Denise Freeland at email@example.com or Sarah Glassco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 21, 2021
Sacred Space - Memorial Garden
Our team continues to think about how to integrate sustainable practices into our planning and care for the grounds at our church. We are working with Chain Bridge Native Landscapes, a local company focused on integrating native plants and sustainable design, on several areas of our property that need new planting, especially to deal with rainwater management and erosion control.
The newly-planted area behind Zabriskie Chapel features Packera aurea (Golden ragwort), Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire), native ferns, and rushes, to name a few. A complete list of the garden plantings will soon be available. We hope these plants inspire parishioners and visitors alike to consider incorporating native plants for use in home gardens.
As we go through this landscaping process, we are also considering the other areas on our property, most especially the Memorial Garden, and we hope to contract with this company for further discussion and planning throughout the summer and fall. We have been blessed to have strong parishioner support over many years to care for the gardens and other spaces on the property, and we look forward to engaging many in the parish in projects on the grounds through 2021 and beyond.
July 5, 2021
After meeting virtually with the Seminary leadership team in January 2021, it became obvious that Immanuel was much further down the road of solarization than VTS. The timing of their multi-building renovations was such that the only practical solar alternative for them was a 5 KWH pilot project mounted on the roof of the Welcome Center next to the new chapel. This compared unfavorably with the 85 KWH system proposed for Immanuel and promised no economies of scale from which we could benefit.
As the first quarter of the new year progressed, we received three bids from local solar installers, IPsun, Sustainable Energy Systems (SES), and Nova. After much deliberation and analysis of the three proposals, SES was declared the winner with the best likelihood of achieving the 60% offset of our electrical needs and yielding a savings of $6,500 per year in utility costs. Concurrently, with the backing of the Rector and Vestry, we continued our silent period campaign to collect pledges to offset the cost of the project, which when complete will cost ~ $197,000. As of this writing we are about there and have opened the pledge campaign to the wider parish. All of this was reported to the parish at the 20 June Forum Hour.
In the past month, we have entered into a contract with SES to install the solar panels and accompanying electrical elements necessary to tie into the Dominion Energy grid. As part of that contract, we had to stipulate to the roof condition prior to the installation. For that reason, we contracted with DBS, who installed the new roof on the Zabriskie complex, to inspect the roof and provide a list of recommended repairs. That list is in hand and is modest in scope and includes tree trimming to improve the roof exposure. On 23 June, DBS conducted an electrical inspection of the Zabriskie complex, measured the roof area and assessed the structural integrity and spacing of the raftering. Costs to date are $3,000. Upon receipt of SES’ visit report, we can expect some changes in their proposal.
We have asked those parishioners who have indicated a desire to contribute outside of the annual pledge process to make good on their pledges across a two year timeline, with a majority of the pledges received in 2021. The earliest the installation can begin is this Fall, either in mid-September, but more likely in November. October is blocked out for the Pumpkin Patch. More to follow.
— Written by Doug Henry
May 20, 2021
Good Samaritan Collection Bin
New! The City of Alexandria is committed to recovering resources sustainably and has launched a Reuse Map and Directory. Reusing items is an effective way to save natural resources, protect the environment, and reduce costs.
Immanuel’s Good Samaritan collection bin for gently used clothing is now listed in the Alexandria Reuse Directory under “Donate or Drop Off.”
Our bin is located just off the Zabriskie parking area.
Our Trex Bench has arrived and was assembled and placed in the Memorial Garden by Shawn Whitman.
It is a powerful reminder that our parishioners and friends kept 500 pounds of plastic bags out of our local streams, rivers, and bellies of wildlife by donating the plastic bags and films to Immanuel’s Recycling Challenge. Our bench is the product responsibly created for us by Trex from our 500 pounds of plastic collected. And all of this was happening during the pandemic.
We invite you to go sit on the new bench and take some time to reflect on the past year. Thank you to all who participated in the Recycling Challenge and for caring for God’s Creation in this way.
--Submitted by Denise Freeland
February 15, 2021
The Immanuel Facilities Group and Creation Care Action Team continue to explore solar power at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill and how best to fund a solar installation. One possibility is a partnership with Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). Thanks to some conversations between our Father Randy and Dean Markham last fall, a small group from Immanuel, representatives from IPSun Solar and a representative of VTS met virtually in early December to resume the solar conversations and discuss possible ways to fund solar installations both on the Zabriskie Chapel/Parish Hall building as well as potentially on some VTS buildings. Stay tuned for further developments!
January 21, 2021 Creation Care News