As part of our commitment to the 7th principle—caring for all life—People’s Church worked through the process to become certified as a Green Sanctuary. Now there is another certification on the horizon! Within the next year, the church property will be certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Green Sanctuary Committee members are working with the Youth Group to assess the property and implement some projects to be able to qualify. Some target species for providing improved habitat are butterflies, bats, bees and reptiles and amphibians. Once the process is complete, we will be eligible to purchase a sign to place on the property.
One thing that makes our process easy is the amount of property the church owns: a total of 22.83 acres. These include a mix of woods and open field with many native trees, shrubs and wildflowers to provide pollen, seeds, nuts, berries and nesting areas. The labyrinth has an incredible variety of native wildflowers that are all excellent for butterflies, bees and birds.
Two challenges are the lack of a water source and the amount of non-native invasive species, especially in the south part of the property. The non-native invasive species reduce the overall quality of habitat for many different birds and animals. And if you have ever tried to walk through the south woods, you know that some, like multi-flora rose and buckthorn, make it very challenging to get through without lots of scratches, torn clothing, and probably a few expletives.
Committee members are working on a land management plan that will include how to deal with these invaders and provide a healthier habitat for the critters that call our property home. An important part of this plan includes a map of the property to help connect members with our property. The map will show where trails and benches are located and have a key to the memorial trees. Look for the map in April on the Green Sanctuary kiosk in the foyer.