As a Certified Wildlife Habitat, our church has installed rain barrels and native landscaping to create an ecological oasis. Our Green Sanctuary Committee began the certification planning and application process in 2010 and received its Green Sanctuary Certification in 2014. Installing the native garden was one of the projects for certification that we undertook beginning in 2012.
Two 55 gallon rain barrels were installed that are used to help water the gardens. The barrels are equipped with automatic timers and an irrigation system with soaker hoses. The timer was no longer needed as the plants became more established. The rain barrels are intercepting rainwater draining off the roof and redirects it to the garden, rather than it spilling into the sewer system.
Our church is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The Garden Care Team volunteers rotate weeks for caring for the garden May through October. The garden maintenance promotes "community building" as neighbors participate in the annual plant sale and have complimented the project and our church community for having a positive impact on the neighborhood.
We have installed two 55 gallon rain barrels capturing 110 gallons of stormwater.
To pay for the project we used a $500 grant from the Hardy Plant Society Mid Atlantic Group, donations from a community meal for the congregation, other donations from members and friends of Unitarian Universalist Church of Lancaster and a native plant sale.
Our Annual Native Plant Sale is held each year in April or May and brings in $350 to $550 that we use for maintenance such as mulch, new plants, gardening tools, bird bath, and plant markers. Patrons include neighbors as well as members and friends of the church.
As you visit our site we offer this prayerful reflection: “Roots, hold me close; wings, set me free. Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me." This comes from the Unitarian Universalist hymn "Spirit of Life," that is beloved by this congregation.