Christ Church boasts new Med­i­ta­tion Rain Gar­den

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CERONE WHITE cwhite@somd­news.com

A newly con­structed med­i­ta­tion gar­den at Christ Church in La Plata beck­ons com­mu­nity, church mem­bers and oth­ers to re­lax and un­wind.

With a larger mis­sion ahead, the gar­den is a bench­mark for other par­tic­i­pat­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions granted funds by the Charles County Wa­ter­shed Pro­tec­tion and Restora­tion Pro­gram (WPRP) and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust.

“We are thrilled with this new gar­den and I couldn’t be more happy with how it has turned out,” the Rev. Ti­mothy John­son said.

“The faith com­mu­nity has been such a won­der­ful new part­ner in pro­tect­ing and cre­at­ing nat­u­ral spa­ces,” Jana Davis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust, said in a news re­lease. “Th­ese green spa­ces have such power to ac­com­plish so many goals, from those that ben­e­fit us (re­flec­tion, med­i­ta­tion, hu­man health) to those that ben­e­fit habi­tat for other crea­tures. We are thrilled that the county has part­nered with the trust in mak­ing re­sources avail­able for th­ese types of projects.”

The med­i­ta­tion gar­den was funded by the Charles County Wa­ter­shed Pro­tec­tion and Restora­tion Pro­gram (WPRP), the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust and led by the Port To­bacco River Con­ser­vancy and the Church Christ con­gre­ga­tion.

“The full grant amount that was awarded for this project was $37,123,” said Ab­bie Huntzinger, se­nior pro­gram of­fi­cer of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust. “We hold 10 per­cent of the project fee un­til the project is close to com­ple­tion.”

Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease, this gar­den was de­signed to cap­ture rain­wa­ter from the church’s roof, which al­lows it to slowly soak back into the ground — ex­actly as called for by the WPRP. The idea is to re­duce the amount of rain­wa­ter that turns into stormwa­ter, car­ry­ing pol­lu­tants into Charles County wa­ter­ways dur­ing and af­ter storm events.

The gar­den is also habi­tat-friendly with plants thriv­ing in the lo­cal con­di­tions, thus cre­at­ing a sanc­tu­ary for hu­mans and an­i­mals alike.

“The gar­den was con­structed and planted last sum­mer and it was fin­ished in Au­gust, and it was very well re­ceived,” said Julie Simp­son, mem­ber of the Port To­bacco Con­ser­vancy.

The med­i­ta­tion gar­den boasts four unique at­trac­tions: shal­low de­pres­sions that col­lect and ab­sorb stormwa­ter, plus rain bar­rels, which re­duce runoff by har­vest­ing the down­spout wa­ter for later use in the land­scape. It also show­cases healthy soils, a foun­da­tion of plant life, and pro­vides them with nu­tri­ents. Na­tive plants have an im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship with lo­cal wildlife.

“We try our best to ed­u­cate peo­ple with what this gar­den is all about with the posted signs,” said mas­ter gar­dener Martha El­dredge. “We col­lect wa­ter in the rain gar­den with rain bar­rels so that we are not us­ing drink­able wa­ter to wa­ter the plants.”

Ac­cord­ing to press re­lease, sev­eral other grants will be awarded to lo­cal wa­ter­shed pro­grams and non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions tak­ing the lead on com­mu­nity-driven projects. The grants will to­tal more than $30,000.

The new part­ner­ship forged be­tween the county and trust is look­ing to grow. The dead­line for the next round of fund­ing is set for Septem­ber. Churches, schools and other not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions are en­cour­aged to ap­ply for the projects.

“Charles County is un­der­tak­ing in-the-ground ef­forts to do our part to help re­store the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, its rivers, streams and other nat­u­ral re­sources,” said Er­ica Hahn with the Charles County Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Growth Man­age­ment. “We rec­og­nize that restor­ing the bay and its trib­u­taries takes team­work, and this grant pro­gram is a great op­por­tu­nity for the county to part­ner with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions to have a pos­i­tive im­pact on rivers, streams and the bay.”

STAFF PHO­TOS BY CERONE WHITE

A sec­tion of the med­i­ta­tion rain gar­den at Christ Church in La Plata. This gar­den was funded through the Charles County Wa­ter­shed Pro­tec­tion and Restora­tion Pro­gram and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust. Be­low, Mas­ter Gard­ner Martha Elredge, left, and Julie Simp­son, a mem­ber of the Port To­bacco River Con­ser­vancy, lay mulch and help put the fi­nal touches to beau­tify the new med­i­ta­tion rain gar­den at Christ Church in La Plata.

STAFF PHOTO BY CERONE WHITE

An­other sec­tion of the med­i­ta­tion rain gar­den at Christ Church in La Plata.

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