The Unitarian Universalist Church of Washington Crossing (UUCWC), which has demonstrated an abiding commitment to environmental stewardship, fulfilled the requirements in June to become the first River-Friendly Community Partner at The Watershed Institute.
The new River-Friendly Community Partner program allows organizations such as small businesses, faith-based groups, municipal buildings, and others to be recognized as River-Friendly. This River-Friendly status means the organizations have taken steps to protect water quality, conserve water, improve wildlife habitat, and educate their community members about environmental stewardship.
The church’s property in Titusville abuts Jacob’s Creek and UUCWC’s Earth Ministry team intentionally manages the property with the health of the stream and wildlife in mind and is helping to protect the creek from degradation.
Their stewardship is doubly important because the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recently assigned Jacob’s Creek as a “Category One designation” for its exceptional ecological value.
To help protect Jacob’s Creek from environmental degradation, the church has eliminated the use of all chemicals in property management. They’ve also converted large areas of lawn into natural meadows to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and enhance habitat for native wildlife.
Additionally, the UUCWC has installed pervious parking areas to reduce stormwater runoff, which contributes to flooding and erosion. Instead of increasing blacktop surfaces on the property, the church’s new parking lot is made up of a permeable paving grid that allows water to be absorbed into the ground and slowly flow into the aquifer.
The church’s Earth Ministry team has organized its members for annual participation of a local litter cleanup and share information with church members about proper recycling practices and upcoming recycling events.
The church is a model in how to steward the land and community to protect our streams and water, and they’ve set an example of how individual action can make a difference in protecting our environment. Not only are they the first organization to meet the standards necessary to become a Community Partner, but they also reached Gold-Level recognition, which is the highest level of River-Friendly certification.
The Watershed Institute congratulates the UUCWC community for becoming a Community Partner and completing the requirements with a commitment to create a sustainable property and community. To continue their River-Friendly actions, the church plans to remove invasive plants from their property and gardens and replace them with native plants that will attract beneficial insects and birds!