Marietta Church finalist in the Cool Congregations Challenge | News, Sports, Jobs

The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta received $500 as a finalist in the 2022 Cool Congregations Interfaith Power and Light Challenge for the Sacred Grounds Fort Street Pollinator Habitat Project. (Photo provided)

MARIETTA — Marietta’s First Unitarian Universalist Society is among 12 national participants in the 2022 Cool Congregations Interfaith Power and Light Challenge who received a $500 prize.

The annual competition accepts entries from congregations across the United States who are fighting global warming by reducing carbon footprints while creating models of sustainability in their communities.

The company won Sacred Grounds second prize for its Fort Street Pollinator Habitat project. Led by the congregation’s Green Sanctuary Committee, the congregation was supported by Marietta town officials, Fort Street neighbors and individuals and received funding from the Dupont Clear Into the Future program.

The project is located on the west side of the bank of the Muskingum River.

Dawn Hewitt, chair of the committee, congratulated the congregation for winning the award.

“Congratulations and great credit, especially to Rebecca Phillips, Andrew Clovis and all who have poured time, energy and muscle into our Riverbank project”, she says.

In 2020 and 2021, the company and volunteers worked with project manager Rebecca Phillips to salvage heritage plantings in honor of the first keepers as well as existing native plants before laying down black plastic to remove invasive species.

Other native plants were added in May following a plan drawn up by Clovis, the project’s designer, GSC member and master naturalist. A second phase of planting was done last fall.

A drip irrigation system was added to access the city’s generous supply of water for the habitat. Volunteers guarded the garden all winter while anticipating the arrival of spring growth.

“FUUSM and other National Winning Congregations project a vision of the kind of world they want to live in, and then realize that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” said Reverend Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power and Light.

The Cool Congregations Challenge shows that believers are united by concerns about climate change and are taking action with or without the support of government policies. Winners provide strong moral role models for their communities and their activities have a ripple effect on people in their own homes.

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Jerry B. Hatch