EarthCare is about educating ourselves and others on ecology, climate change, storm water management, providing a healthy environment for pollinators, green roofs, energy audits, conservation and wildlife protection and gardening.
Create an Ecological Oasis in your Yard or Balcony
Loss of biodiversity is as critical an issue as climate change. The good news is that we can do something about it. This article from Yes! Magazine/EcoWatch features a Northern Virginia gardener who transformed her yard.
- "What you do on your property affects everybody” Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware
From the article:
“Nonnative or ornamental plants may not look like pollutants, but from an ecological standpoint, they are. Tallamy's research bears this out: A new paper from his team shows just how effective nonnative plants are at destroying local habitats.
‘We compared caterpillar communities in hedgerows that were invaded with non-natives versus hedgerows that were mostly native,’ he explained. ‘There's a 96% reduction in caterpillar biomass when they're nonnative, so if you're a bird and you're trying to rear your young, you just lost 96% of your food.’
"But there's a flip side, he said. If you take the invasive species out and put the native plants in, you've just created 96 percent more food”.
Although we don’t want to plant nonnative invasive plants, the article explains that we can include some favorite nonnative plants.
“One thing that we've learned with our research is that there is room for compromise," Tallamy said. Native planting doesn't have to be all or none to make a difference. He gave the example of chickadee reproduction: If you have at least 70 percent native plant biomass in a given habitat, you can have sustainable chickadee reproduction. "That gives you 30 percent to plant perennials and exotics and other ornamental plants."
UUCF Climate Conversation on Biodiversity
To learn more about how to increase biodiversity, attend this program from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax. The UUCF Climate Action Group will hold Climate Conversation #5 –
- Biodiversity: How Our Survival Depends On It on Sunday, May 18 at 2 — 3:15 p.m.
Tom Lovejoy (godfather of biological diversity) and Kevin Coyle (environmental advocate with NWF) will present their thoughts on this important topic, the loss of which represents one of the greatest challenges facing Earth today. We intend that the discussion and followup Q&A will encourage further engagement by people to do more to prevent further loss of biodiversity. A special feature of the event will be consideration of the spiritual aspects surrounding our relationship with the living world around us.
For further information please contact Bob Root at email@example.com
Enjoy the church grounds
Check out what Pete Clifford, Rick Hartley, MacMcDuffie and other EarthCare members and Adopt-A-Spotters have been working on, including:
- New watering systems on the Labyrinth and in Hearthaven, the Meditation Garden.
- Many new plants in the Meditation Garden including Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.
- Three huge stones and newly working water feature in the Mediation Garden
- New plants behind outside the Sanctuary window including Radiance Abelia.
Aligned with the Unity of Fairfax Core Value on Integrity — “Our thoughts, words, and deeds are trustworthy, authentic, respectful, and responsible.” — we have kept our commitment to the Unity EarthCare Covenant, as demonstrated by:
- Conducting the annual Earth Day event
- Conducting the very successful annual Winter Solstice Celebration
- Representing Unity of Fairfax as a member of the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) to collectively focus on local and state governments to take the lead in energy conservation and environmental stewardship.
- Offering monthly the very popular Local and Earthcare Sunday refreshments
- Providing earth curriculum in Sunday school (e.g., planting tulips and caring for five planters in front of the church)
- Renewing annually our sacred Unity EarthCare Covenant with the congregation
- Providing education to the community on Best Practices (BPs) in storm water management through tours and seminars to interested parties, such as the Earth Science classes at NVCC. We have been designated as a county demonstration site.
Earth Friendly Purchases
- Purchasing new recycle bins for use in the Atrium and Kitchen
- Purchasing new compost bins for food scraps and coffee grounds
- Installing more native plants and trees, including nine new Dogwoods along Hunter Mill Road
Work On Our Campus
- Sponsoring the Adopt-a-Spot program to maintain our gardens
- Installing new landscaping under the Unity wall sign at the East end of the building and at the Labyrinth
- Maintaining and beautifying our Meditation Garden
- Maintaining our grounds with organic materials and eliminating chemicals
- Sponsoring the Spring and Fall Beautification Days
- Sponsoring Summer Weed Pulling and Pizza Parties (oh yeah!)
- Supervising the trimming and removal of dying trees on our campus
- Producing the Unity of Fairfax monthly Green Insert to provide environmental news and local and church activities on such topics as energy, recycling, spirituality and environmental justice, FACS updates, and landscaping and local green products.
- Maintaining liaison with the Saturday Farmer’s Market in our parking lot
- Conducting team monthly meetings via Zoom on every second Tuesday 7 – 9 p.m., where all are welcome to come and share their ideas and energy about our five-sacred acres
- Overseeing the audit of the church’s electrical usage and bringing to fruition the total replacement of all fluorescent and incandescent lighting with state-of-the-art LED lights. This project saved many dollars from the church's operating fund and has reduced climate damaging emissions.
You too can become an Adopt-A-Spotter. Our motto is, “There is no spot where God is not.”
The legacy of EarthCare at Unity of Fairfax is on the EarthCare Legacy page on our website.