Stories from the Road — we are stronger together!

Learn about August’s Stories from the Road, see how our donation tree is growing and help us meet our $30,000 fundraising goal to lift and support our faith-grounded work toward climate justice. There are now 2 ways to double your donation!

“We’re regularly in the cathedral of God’s creation”

Sun shines and birds sing as PA IPL Board member Greg Williams takes us to Detwiler Park in Huntingdon, PA, one of the many locations where he has helped volunteers had made green spaces resistant to climate change through habitat restoration.

2018 and 2019 cyclists stopped there to remove invasive species and plant trees, adding to the 592 events, over 400 participants, and over 3500 person-hours of pruning, clearing, and planting nearly 2500 trees, three wildflower meadows, and over 1000 live stakes in Central Pennsylvania between November 2016 and June 2020! (You can see the live stakes in the video: they are live stick segments from ecosystem-appropriate shrubs stuck into the muck stream side, which then root and grow, protecting the banks!)

Listen to Greg’s story below, or catch his 10 minute sermon for University Mennonite Church’s zoom-based church gathering on Sunday, May 10, 2020 (the rest of the service is pretty great, too!)

Other voices from the road: Mark Smith

Mark Smith of Philadelphia drove a support car for the Philadelphia leg of the 2019 bike trip (that’s him in the little red car!). He leads the Germantown Tree Tenders, part of the work of the PA IPL – Philadelphia, and is also supported by Mark’s home church: the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. Planting and tending trees in the city of Philadelphia is a way to reduce urban heat islands, which are growing and intensifying with climate change. Read Mark’s reflections.

Two ways to DOUBLE your donation!

Feel free to mismatch your socks and your silverware, but get your donations matched while you can!

Supporters of PA IPL’s Stories from the Road Campaign have two ways to see their contributions matched. A group of generous donors has created a matching fund of up to $4,000, doubling the contribution impact of right-now givers during the August campaign.

Those who make a three-year pledge will have their first year of donation matched by an individual donor through our For the Long Haul campaign. We are immensely grateful for the generous people seeding our growing organization’s fundraising efforts.

DONATE

Take Action: Make your local ecosystem climate change resistant

Here are Greg Williams’ top five ways to combat climate change through habitat restoration. Need more guidance or advice? Contact Greg to get connected to books, trees, and advice for setting up local habitat restoration projects.

1. Read one of these books on restoring native habitat by University of Delaware entomologist Douglas W. TallamyBringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants; Nature’s Best Hope; or The Living Landscape.   Or you can start with a listen to this Bringing Nature Home interview from 2013, or if you really want to get into the relationship between birds and insects and plants, try this Hope for the Wild zoo talk.

2.  Reduce the size of the lawn at your home or congregation and replace it with native trees, shrubs, wildflower meadows, or food gardens. Want to know what’s growing there already? The  iNaturalist app lets you submit photos of plants and animals for identification, and contribute to research on biodiversity. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has a helpful collection of online fact sheets and photos of invasive plants and how to remove them.

3. Host a series of earth tending parties for your worship community, youth group, neighbors, or budding PA IPL chapter. (Work, Eat, Pray is one example.)

Teach participants to identify and remove invasive species, see the fruits of their labor over time, and have a conversation on the effects of global warming on the natural spaces they love. This can be done on the property of your faith community, or in a local park (with permission from park authorities!) Contact a local naturalist or extension agent for help with plant identification and removal. 

4, Ask your local nursery if it sells native trees, shrubs, and flowers which support native pollinators as well as being feeding grounds for native insect larva.  These Pennsylvania nurseries do carry native trees, and should be able to help you choose one for your site.  The linked list is from our friends at Keystone 10 Million Trees.

5. Plant those trees! They trap and hold (sequester) a huge amount of the carbon dioxide that causes global warming, and they temper the immediate microclimates in the neighborhoods where they are planted. The Philadelphia chapter of PA IPL partners with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s Tree Tenders program to plant trees in the Philadelphia region. Learn about their Zoom-based training in September. 

If you live near central Pennsylvania, Greg Williams, who lives in Williamsburg, is distributing trees from the Keystone 10 Million Trees initiative of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which aims to  plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania by 2025. Contact him.  You can also watch a recording of the November 2019 webinar for PA IPL with Keystone 10 Million Trees.

Turn to prayer

Please hold PA IPL and all who are working toward climate justice in your prayers through the week.

In 2019, PA IPL supporters “paved the cyclists’ way with prayer,” submitting original prayers, poems and artwork to express the deep faith that underlies their commitment to climate justice and care. The cyclists shared a compilation of these prayers with elected officials in Washington, as part of their advocacy conversations. Each week we are featuring a different prayer from the collection.

This week’s prayer is excerpted from a poem written in 2019 by  Lynn Cashell of Congregation Beth Israel, Media PA:

God is an artist
Creating majestic mountains from molten lava and magma
Forming stoic woodlands and flowing grasslands;
Bursting through the earth’s crust in towering geysers;
Sliding down glaciers into rocky moraines.

God is a painter
Brushing long flat strokes of plains and prairies;
Dabbing puffy white clouds onto azure blue skies;
Cascading waterfalls from mountain springs;
Coloring rainbows from an unending palette of pigments.

God is a creator
Sending aloft soaring bald eagles and osprey;
Filling the grassland with bison, sheep and pronghorn deer,
Stocking the streams with cutthroat trout and dam building beavers;
Varying our sizes, shapes and colors like the landscapes that surround us;
Imagining all of us – together.

Save the date— Stories from the Road Live Celebration, Sept. 1

On Sep. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, we’ll culminate our campaign with a live zoom-based Stories from the Road Celebration, featuring live music, prayer, storytelling, and a chance to share your own stories of climate work with people throughout the state. 

The event is free with a donation to PA IPL during the Stories from the Road campaign (June through August) Additional tickets can be purchased for $10. Seating is limited, so donate now!

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!

PHILADELPHIA: Blessing of the Trees

Fall 2016 Blessing of the Trees

Come to the the “Blessing of the Trees” as the tradition continues with the planting of new trees  by Germantown Interfaith Power & Light Tree Tenders.*

The blessing will be held at 12:00 noon
Saturday, April 21st.
at 5847 Germantown Ave.
(just south of the old Germantown HS and on the same side of the street)

Contact Cheryl Pyrch if you would like to help plan the ritual.

Following the blessing, we will walk about a block to enjoy vegetarian chili (and the company of those gathered!) at

FUMCOG (First United Methodist Church of Germantown)
6001 Germantown Ave
(just north of Germantown HS) after the blessing.

Your reply will help us know how much chili to prepare.

Any questions or interest contact:
Mark Smith or 215 264 5442

Bill Hemmerling, Friendship Trees

*Germantown Interfaith Power & Light Tree Tenders is part of outreach efforts by the Philadelphia Chapter of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light. Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light is a community of faith based organizations and individuals of faith responding to climate change as an urgent moral issue through advocacy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy. Semi-annual tree planting events by Germantown IPL Tree Tenders are intended to create awareness and action within Germantown faith groups.