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Church Does Its Part for Environment

Earth Day Fair imparts information about keeping the earth green.

Thinking green is what the environmentalists of the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church (MVUC) like to do. To extend that feeling, they hosted a special Earth Day celebration last Sunday. Visitors came to the church and enjoyed children’s activities and food. They saw demonstration animals that were brought from the Potomac Overlook Park and Raptor Society. They listened to presentations on how to create rain gardens and healthy yards. They also learned about green roofs, the Little Hunting Creek watershed and Earth-friendly hybrid cars.

Bird houses were for sale, as were native plants. Outside, children did the labyrinth walk, while adults visited the greenhouse to check out the plants that are on sale until the end of May. Many of these plants have been raised by church members in the greenhouse itself; others have been purchased for resale. Included on that list is: basil, diascia, Echinacea Magnus, forget-me-not, host, mint, pansy, nasturtium, salvia, thyme, trillium, Veronica and zinnia. There are many more varieties for sale; plants will be sold on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon through the end of May.

Suzanne Cleary, one of the church environmentalists, said, “Green awareness at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church has grown substantially since we became a candidate for certification as a ‘green sanctuary.’ Our church founders incorporated green practices when they built the church and we are excited about incorporating additional environmentally-friendly practices into our planned expansion.”

Rabbi Daniel Swartz was on hand to talk about Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light. This cooperative, non-profit venture sells clean energy to congregations. He said that since they launched last November, they have signed up 13 congregations. So far, they have none in Virginia, and he is hoping that somebody at MVUC might be interested in trying it out. He has also spoken to Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

In addition to selling clean energy, Greater Faith also educates congregations about ways to improve efficiency in their churches, as well as including elements in worship service that talk about the importance of reducing the impacts of climate change.

Julie Carvalho, a member of MVUC, had a display set up to explain why ground cover is better for the environment. This is something that she has done effectively at her own house, so she is able to speak from experience.