Stories from the Road reflection— Mark Smith, support driver

Share a highlight of a past bike trip.
I loved being able to show up at scheduled breaks with snacks and water. Maternal feelings of concern and care for the riders were not typical of the ways in which I typically connect to other people.

Fuel for the humans!

How has the bike trip continued to impact or sustain you? 
I learned an important lesson about the power of working with other people. We can’t always do everything on our own. We are more powerful together. I witnessed the support of a rider who was struggling on a particular day by several other riders who stayed with him, even as he fell behind the main group.

In what ways are you continuing to reap inspiration and energy from your experience of the trip?
I hope that I will be able to make the trip at some point in the future.

Fall 2016 Blessing of the Trees

What you are doing right now to support the work of PA IPL in raising climate change as a moral issue?
I run Germantown PA IPL Tree Tenders, an official tree planting group of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The group advocates in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia for the moral imperative of PA IPL’s message about the climate crisis through its spring and fall plantings.

What “call to action” would you encourage others to take regarding climate change at this time?
Voting for strong environmental candidates, not just in the national election, but in the state and local elections is the most important thing to do this year!

Tree blessing.

This strong, warmed-from-within group gathered to plant and bless this sapling in Germantown on a blustery, damp day.

Germantown tree tenders next to their just-planted tree.

Following the work of planting, the group blessed the tree, and with those blessings recalled blessings by other trees they had known.

Each person spoke an appreciation of a tree they had known and loved, and the group responded, together:

Grow straight.
Grow strong.
Give shade.
Share life.

Thank you, Tree Tenders of Germantown!

When your group plants, waters, weeds, or otherwise cares for a tree, we hope you’ll use this blessing led by Rev. Alison Cornish. Share some of your stories and photos with us, and help jog other people’s memories of trees they have known and loved.

PHILADELPHIA — Tree Planting and Blessing

tree planting poster imageOn Saturday, Earth Day,  PA IPL Germantown Tree Tenders will be planting trees at 3 different sites.

At Janes Memorial United Methodist Church on Germantown Avenue and  we will be having a blessing of the trees at 11:30 (we might start a little later, depending on the plantings), led by The Rev. Andrew Foster (Janes Memorial UMC)  and the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch (Summit Presbyterian).

Actual planting starts earlier.  See poster (click on image to enlarge) for times and contacts.

Would you like to participate?  It’s a chance to celebrate and also give our best wishes to Pastor Foster, who will be moving at the end of May to become leader of the New England District of the UMC.

Contact Pastor Cheryl Pyrch to RSVP.

Germantown PA IPL Tree Tenders: Come Bless Our Trees!

Bill Hemmerling, Friendship Trees
Bill Hemmerling, Friendship Trees

In mid November, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Tree Tenders and volunteers will plant about 435 trees in Philadelphia and another 530 trees in Southeast Pennsylvania   Germantown Interfaith Power & Light Tree Tenders will be planting 6 of those trees on Saturday, November 19th.  At noon neighborhood clergy and leaders will lead a short “Blessing of the Trees” ceremony beginning outside the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG), 6001 Germantown Ave.  Then all tree blessers and tree planters and their supporters are invited to a free lunch at FUMCOG.  Please RSVP to Cheryl Pyrch,

These new trees count towards the Plant One Million campaign, the nation’s largest multi-state tree initiative that continues to replenish the tree population of 13 counties in the Greater Philadelphia Region.  About 520,000 trees have been planted since Plant One Million began in 2011.   The Philadelphia Chapter of PA Interfaith Power & Light has joined this effort to help mitigate climate change and build resiliency in our community.  This is our first annual tree planting. Perhaps next year we can plant trees near you!

The region has lost millions of trees in recent decades to development. Replacing our tree canopy will benefit the whole region for decades to come.   Trees improve air quality, reduce the heat-island effect, absorb storm runoff to reduce flooding and water pollution, increase property values, and enhance the quality of life in our communities.