Our Green Space
Fig Tree (on the front lawn near Hunter Mill Road)
At the 66th Anniversary celebration of Unity of Fairfax, Ed Merritt, Board of Trustees Second Chair, tossed the first shovel of soil supporting a new fig tree.
Ed explained that this fruit tree is a symbol of renewal and regrowth after the forced isolation of pandemic times, and it's a gift that keeps giving. It can produce a desired edible food (twice a year!) that can be enjoyed during fellowship after service.
Children will receive a firsthand experience of where food comes when they gather the very local fruit, as Ed has fond memories from his childhood.
Fringe Trees (on the front lawn near the drive to the church)
These native trees were planted in September, shortly before Celebrate Native Trees Week. As Plant NOVA Trees explains:
Every tree counts! And counting every tree also helps show whether Northern Virginia is meeting its environmental goals. The Virginia Department of Forestry is counting planted trees to see if Virginia is meeting its stormwater goals to protect the bay, and the Department of Environmental Quality is asking Northern Virginia to plant 600,000 trees by 2025.
In addition to their beauty, shade, and carbon sequestration, native trees provide food and shelter for birds and insects.
Native plants and wildlife have evolved together. Native insects won’t eat just any plant. They are attracted to specific species. Likewise, birds won’t eat just any insect. They need specific insects that eat specific plants.
A chickadee will fly half a city block from its nest – past nonnative trees – to find a native tree with insects to feed its young. Replacing native plants with non-natives disrupts this food web and decreases native wildlife. Loss of biodiversity has serious consequences, such as our food supply being impacted by the declining number of pollinators.
According to Desiree Narango from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, “If you have a lot of trees that are not native, to the birds it’s almost like there are no trees at all. . . .Nonnative trees may support insects, but they do not support the insects that birds want and need to feed their young.”
Butterfly Weed (in the circle garden outside the church entrance)
Asclepias tuberosa, also known as butterfly weed, is a native plant that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds with showy orange blossoms.
Butterfly weed is a kind of milkweed. Like other milkweeds, butterfly weed is a host plant for the larvae of the Monarch butterfly. The caterpillars, which feed exclusively on milkweed plants, incorporate a toxin from the plant that deters bird predators.
There is a worldwide loss of pollinators due to conditions such as habitat loss, pesticide use and the climate crisis. By creating beautiful native landscapes that support these insects, we can strengthen ecosystems that support life (including humans!)
Celebrate Mother Earth
- Walk our Labyrinth and experience nature in our Meditation Garden
- Visit the Medicine Wheel in the Meditation Garden
- Roam our Sacred Five Acres cared for by the EarthCare Ministry
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.
Would you like to be an Earthling?
Contact Mary Brown (email@example.com) or Casey Tarr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
EarthCare in Their Own Words
Enjoy two-minute EarthCare Videos celebrating the contributions EarthCare makes to Unity of Fairfax and the larger community.
Environmental Practices on the Grounds
The Retention Pond, the Riparian Buffer and Bluebird Boxes
Installations on the Grounds
The Green Roof, the Labyrinth and the Stone Wall Garden
Visit our Labyrinth page.
Outreach to Church Members and the Community
EarthCare and our Youth, Member and Community Practices and the EarthCare Team
Ongoing actions sponsored by EarthCare are listed on the EarthCare Actions page on our website.
The legacy of EarthCare at Unity of Fairfax is on the EarthCare Legacy page on our website.
Twenty-nine important files from the history of EarthCare are stored in the EarthCare Archive.