RECORDING AVAILABLE-Statewide Monthly Meeting-February

GET the recording of the Creation Care program.


On February 15th, please join PA IPL for our Statewide Monthly Meeting and Program. To supplement local monthly chapter meetings, PA IPL will be holding a regular meeting & program each month on 3rd Monday evenings at 7:00 PM EST via Zoom.

This month PA IPL Board Member Greg Williams will be offering a program and resources for how to organize and participate in efforts to directly combat climate change through PA IPL Creation Care.

We will describe ways to get involved, address any obstacles, and guide you through the process to actively participate as stewards of creation.

Creation Care is a hands on opportunity to safely connect with each other and restore the environment. Through our tree planting efforts — and collaborations with the Keystone 10 Million Trees project, and scores of local groups across PA —  we have planted over 3,000 trees in the last four years and removed invasive species.

These efforts made measurable progress against climate change.

·        We increased the biodiversity of our environment

·        We cooled our rivers and streams

·        We slowed down pollution and erosion

·        We enhanced our environment’s ability to sequester CO2.

As we expand these efforts in urban communities and in PA’s northern tier with a new distribution hub in Lewisburg we will plant more than 10,000 in 2021! To sign up to participate in PA IPL’s Creation Care or obtain a tree yourself fill out this Google Form.
Register now here

January 2021 Newsletter-Creation Care

After planting 1,000 trees last year in Central PA, due to the hard work of PA IPL Board member Greg Williams, and many dedicated stewards of creation across the state, this year PA IPL will receive and plant or distribute 10,000 native trees from the Chesapeake Bay Fund!

This year our Creation Care program will expand the scope of our work in Northeast PA and North Central PA. In addition to our original site in Williamsburg, we will have new distribution centers in Scranton and Lewisburg. 

We are actively looking for volunteers to participate in planting events and the removal of invasive species across the state. If you are interested in volunteering or can help in identifying additional sites, please sign up here. Trees will be delivered to the three centers in April and the planting season will go through June but other work is always available year round. 

If you are also interested in accepting trees yourself, we will have a limited number of unreserved trees available. All trees are distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis and we cannot guarantee specific species. please register here. 

This expansion will also result in greater expenses for PA IPL, any donations to support this important work would be appreciated.

LOWER TRAIL: Invasives workparties

Greg Williams is taking advantage of the mild weather to get some invasives work done in Blair and Centre Counties.  Contact Greg to let him know you’re coming, and make sure you have his cell number (215-242-0854) to make it easier to find him when you get there.

Dress to get dirty and stay dry.  Greg has tools and gloves to share, but the more the merrier at a work party!

Sunday June 13th 12:30 – 2:30
along the Lower Trail as it goes downriver – cutting back ailanthus, Norway Maple, bush honeysuckle and privet to make room for native plants.
We’ll meet at the Lower Trail parking lot at 1st and Liberty in Williamsburg and work our way downriver doing the same thing.

STATE COLLEGE: Walnut Springs workparty

Greg Williams is taking advantage of the mild weather to get some invasives work done in Blair and Centre Counties.  Contact Greg to let him know you’re coming, and make sure you have his cell number (215-242-0854) to make it easier to find him when you get there.

Dress to get dirty and stay dry.  Greg has tools and gloves to share, but the more the merrier at a work party!

Saturday June 12th noon – 2:00pm.
We’ll continue our work removing non-native invasives around the perimeter of the marsh at Walnut Springs park in State College. We’ll meet on Walnut Spring Lane at the Walnut Spring Park sign one block east of University Dr., just before the road ascends a hill. From there we’ll walk to the marsh. We’ve had a great influx of folks coming to help from the neighborhood above the marsh and are making incredible and exciting progress. I’m encouraged that we may be done in time to do a big planting of natives this coming spring.  Join the fun !

WEBINAR: ReBirthday of the Trees

Our friends at the Shalom Center are offering a webinar on Wednesday, January 9 from 7:00-8:30 PM in preparation for Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees.   This year, Tu B’Shvat falls on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Webinar registrants will receive a recording of the webinar, and tools to hold a seder ceremony on Tu B’Shvat.

Description from Rabbi Arthur Waskow:
Join us as we explore the connections between Tu B’Shvat and a commitment to the physical health of our entire planet, a commitment to act to protect trees and the Interbreathing of all life. We know now that trees  and all vegetation breathe in the CO2 that humans and all animals breathe out, and all animals breathe in the oxygen that vegetation breathes out. And that Interbreathing is now endangered by the unrestrained burning of fossil fuels.

And in line with this renewed concern with the physicality of Earth, our webinar will explore a Tu B’Shvat seder in which the four elements (Earth, Air, Water, and Fire/Energy) are celebrated and connected to  the Four Worlds of the Kabbalists, with the aid of four species of fruit and four cups of wine or grape juice.

REGISTRATION is a must and is $18 

Join the Shalom Center for the webinar.  Registrants will receive a link to the webinar, even if they are unable to attend at the scheduled time.  

Trees, Justice, and Faithful Learning

Bill Hemmerling, Friendship Trees

Our traditions refer to trees as rooted-and-reaching symbols, as wise teachers, or as important and respected resources. We have so much to learn from them.  In this post you will find several tree resources.  We’d like to do an additional post around our secular arbor day, so please share your favorite tree poems or stories (even if you’re sure we must have them!)

We begin with a poem we shared as the meditation at the end or our Sustained Advocacy call near Tu B’Shvat 2019, and continue with hands-on work PA IPL groups are leading, and two learning and worship resources.

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.
                                —Wendell Berry

In several collections including This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems

Tu B’Shvat is a minor Jewish holy day that, in Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s words, “celebrates the bare beginnings pf the reawakening  of trees in mid-winter, and was seen by the 16th-century Kabbalists as the rebirth of that Tree of Life that has its roots in Heaven and its fruit in the existence and creativity of us — the whole of life.”

The festival itself and its amazing Seder come at the full moon on the 15th day of the Jewish lunar “moonth” of Shvat, this year from Sunday evening January 20 through sundown Monday January 21. That means it falls this year on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday.

Consider registering for the Shalom Center’s Tu B’Shvat webinar (webinar on January 9, 2019; Tu B’Shvat begins the evening of January 20, and is January 21this year — there are also webinars preparing for earth-climate-justice rooted Passover celebrations as part of their Sacred Seasons for Sacred Earth series.  The webinars include tools for holding your own celebration.

image source

Martin Luther King’s birthday (and birthday-as-observed) are always close to Tu B’Shvat on the calendar, but in 2019, they fall together.  While we focus on the struggle for civil rights for people of all races in our celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King and his work, in fact, the larger trajectory of his work was justice.  In 2014, Rabbi Daniel Swartz, then a board member of PA IPL, wrote this piece about the connections between the two holidays.

The Rev. Dr. Leah Schade left Pennsylvania when she took a job teaching at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky, but we remember her well, and are pleased to share this 8-week devotional connecting trees and faith “Healthy Trees, Healthy People, Healthy Faith”

intro   week 1   week 2   week 3   week 4
week 5  week 6  week 7  week 8

Each spring and fall, the Germantown Tree Tenders plant and tend urban trees in publicly-available space from sidewalks to houses of worship.  They do so in community, and often include opportunities to offer blessings and dedications (and sometimes chances for shared food together)

In Central Pennsylvania, under the energetic leadership of Greg Williams, groups of community members, the 3rd Way Collective from Penn State, congregants, and Central PA IPL regulars have been joining for work parties  to clear space for native trees and tender plants to thrive, adding diversity and resilience to our forest systems.  Much of this work has been removing invasive plants and staking out the beginnings of the native seedlings, but the have also done successful bareroot tree plantings, live staking (along the Juniata River), (over 600 trees in 2018!), as well as native wildflower meadow plantings.  Over time, inspired by a Joanna Macy practice called Honoring our Adversaries, they have challenged themselves to recognize and honor the tenacious and exuberant qualities of the very invasives they are working so hard to hold back so the diverse native plants can thrive.

We’ll close with this browsing link on tree writings over at Baha’i Teachings.