Upcoming Events


Pleasant View - Earth Day Celebration all weekend

Saturday, April 21, 10 am to noon volunteer work day

Put this on your calendar now.  We will celebrate Earth Day by seeing what has survived in our native plant garden over the winter.  We'll plant a few new trees, shrubs, and perennials.  We'll also begin labeling plants, weed as needed, and add new mulch.  Bring food to share for a potluck picnic.  Children will be welcome to come with parents -- students can earn SSL hours.  RSVP to merikays@verizon.net.  (I can definitely use some team leaders for this event -- please let me know if you are willing to help.)

Check out the photos from the beginning of our project including these by Caitlin Moulton from April 22, Earth Day of last year:  https://caitlinmariephotography.pixieset.com/earthdayevent/  Last year we had 100 volunteers on Earth Day.  Invite your friends and neighbors -- this time we are not starting with bare ground and hopefully it will not be raining!  We will have an educational team led by a Master Gardener who will walk the garden and answer questions about the plants for those who want to learn more with a special emphasis on helping people learn about native plants which might thrive in their own home gardens. 

Sunday, April 22, 4 - 6 pm 150th celebration begins

Pleasant View Trustees are hosting the community for a celebration of the 150th year since this property was purchased by freed slaves.  We are invited to join the fun from 4 - 6 pm with speakers, a picnic, and children's activities.  Donations from this event will help fund the renovations of the church and school.  Our work on the morning of April 21 will prepare our new native plant garden to look its best for this celebration.  Hope you can join us for both, or at least one, of these events.

Past Events



Join us to learn about a new program to help get more conservation landscaping in our watershed.  The Lands Green Waters Clean program is being transferred to the Muddy Branch Alliance and nearby watersheds to extend its reach to more county residents.  Merikay Smith has been asked to help lead this new initiative.  She's inviting local members of Earth Stewardship East to join this March 8 meeting and will gather with ESE members following the 7 pm meeting to talk about our plans for 2018.  If you can't be there, please email merikays@verizon.net with your ideas for what you want to do in 2018 with Earth Stewardship East.  Another kayak/cleanup event on the Potomac?  Continue our work at Pleasant View?  Host an event in your home/nearby?  Hiking/camping together?  Share earth stewardship principles with our wards/Stakes? (and how?)  

Let's see what we can accomplish together in 2018.  If each of us helps just a little it will be amazing what we can accomplish.




M.L. KING Day of Service

January 15, 1 pm



Join us to pick up trash along the Muddy Branch --- the watershed we are protecting with our Pleasant View project.  Explore the Muddy Branch trail and help us keep it clean. We'll start at 1 p.m. from the parking lot at 15021 Durfief Mill Road (near Rt. 28 and Muddy Branch). 

OR do your own MLK service by inviting friends and family to help you pick up trash along the closest stream to your home.  There are also many other MLK service events organized throughout our region.  Please join in to help build community through service.  For details on the Muddy Branch event, contact Merikay at merikays@verizon.net or visit the Muddy Branch Alliance website www.muddybranch.org

If you chose to serve somewhere other than Muddy Branch, please consider taking a photo and sharing it with us.  Speaking of photos, Tompkins Hallman (left, age 90+) is sharing his experiences with Pleasant View volunteers in the historic colored school at one of our ESE planting events.  Hearing him speak was a treasure -- WWII veteran, civil rights activist.  Besides speaking to us he was out digging with us in the native plant garden.  

Pleasant View Work Days

Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 am     spreading mulch

Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 am    Tree Planting

Monday, Oct. 23, 10 - noon

Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 - 11 am

Thursday, Oct. 19 4 - 6 pm

Help us weed, plant for fall, and replenish the mulch.  Bring your own shovel.  Come alone or bring family/friends.  RSVP to merikays@verizon.net.  We especially need all volunteers who can possibly come to join us on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Photos from August 24.

Pleasant View 9/11 Day to Serve



Poplar Island Tour, Chesapeake Bay

July 21, Friday, 9 am to noon

Departing from Tilghman Island - optional camping at tuckahoe state park, july 20

(See our blog post for a report and photos from this excursion.)

As shown in the satellite photo, by 1996 Poplar Island had nearly disappeared.  Restoration efforts are underway to save the island -- recreating its 1,000 acres of habitat.  Join us on a free tour of this island.  We'll be reserving spots at a state campsite for those interested in camping.  This should be an educational and fun outing.  There's a small museum on Tilghman Island featuring creatures from the Bay -- one of many optional excursions.  

We have a reservation for a group tent site at Tuckahoe State Park for Thursday, July 20 if you want to arrive early and enjoy more of this area.  Adkins Arboretum is located within Tuckahoe State Park.  There are hiking trails (walking actually - no elevation changes) and areas to canoe/kayak.  

A few fun ideas if you have time to spend on the Eastern Shore.  If you're interested on sailing on the Bay, one option is the sailing yacht Lady Patty which sails from Tilghman Island. Other charter fishing and sail boats are available at various sites on the Eastern shore.

On your drive to the Eastern Shore you might stop before crossing the Bay Bridge to visit the Sandy Point State Park. There's a wide beach here with playground equipment, boats to rent, and a great view of the Bay Bridge. It's fun to wade in the water (watch for stinging jellyfish) and watch the sailboats, barges and ocean vessels passing under the bridge. Or better yet rent a boat and get out on the Bay. With nearly 800 acres to explore there are also walking trails -- a great place to see birds.

Just off route 404, (31 miles from Sandy Point) you could stop at the Adkins Arboretum and wander their trails. Enjoy the native plant landscaping and be inspired. They have a small native plant nursery on site if you want to buy plants for your home garden. There's a visitor's center and minimal fee to enter. The Arboretum is part of Tuckahoe State Park, the camp site suggested as a place to stay on Thursday night, for those who are interested.

Near where we'll be taking the boat to Poplar Island is the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, a small but very interesting collection of Bay creatures including an area where oysters are grown to repopulate the Bay with these water cleaning marvels. If you're interested in the history of Tilghman you could visit the Tilghman Watermen's Museum.  http://tilghmanisland.com

If you have time there's also the Pickering Creek Audubon Society (http://pickeringcreek.audubon.org) where there are trails, canoes/kayaks to rent on weekdays, a small garden and birding areas.

St. Michael's Maritime Museum (and the town itself) is worth a visit. CBMM’s campus includes a floating fleet of historic boats, 12 exhibition buildings, and changing special exhibitions, all set in a park-like waterfront setting along the Miles River and St. Michaels’ harbor. Learn more at http://cbmm.org/


"Native Plants for Your Garden"

May 23, Tuesday, 7 pm

11800 Darnestown Road - Pleasant View Schoolhouse

Come learn about great native plants for the home garden.  Merikay Smith, Master Gardener and Project Leader for the conservation landscaping at Pleasant View, will share photos and tips on including native plants in home gardens.  Please invite neighbors and friends.  This talk is part of the educational component of the Chesapeake Bay Trust grant that Earth Stewardship East received for Pleasant View.  While you're at PV, stop by and see how the garden is beginning to grow one month in the ground.  RSVP on ESE's FB event post or to EarthStewardshipEast@gmail.com.

 Native yucca in the foreground, used to mark graves in historic African American cemeteries.  Pleasant View schoolhouse in back, site of May talk. 

Native yucca in the foreground, used to mark graves in historic African American cemeteries.  Pleasant View schoolhouse in back, site of May talk. 

Pleasant View Project 

April 29, Saturday, 9 AM  - 1 PM

11800 Darnestown Road, Gaithersburg, MD

Join us for our final spring volunteer work day at Pleasant View.  We'll finish installing two huge beds of native plants -- each 30 feet by 70 feet.  Over time our plantings will provide habitat and better storm water management too.  

We'll also have time for volunteers to visit inside the historic colored school and talk with former students.  Learn about how you can improve storm water management on your own property -- and tips on creating habitat with native plants. 

If you work with Scouts or other youth groups, consider including them in this project.  We have several possible Eagle Scout projects that could be done on this property.  

Please email Merikay at merikays@verizon.net or signup on our Facebook page.  We need to know who can help.  Thanks!

 Large slope of turf/weeds that we will be replacing with native plants.  What an exciting thing -- to be able to watch the conversion process over time as the plants take root and begin to grow.  By next year they should look great for the 150th celebration of Pleasant View.   

Large slope of turf/weeds that we will be replacing with native plants.  What an exciting thing -- to be able to watch the conversion process over time as the plants take root and begin to grow.  By next year they should look great for the 150th celebration of Pleasant View.


 The same slope after our Earth Day volunteer event.  A few gaps that still need plants and the entire center needs newspaper/cardboard and mulch.  We'll also add some trees and a planted bed under the entrance sign.

The same slope after our Earth Day volunteer event.  A few gaps that still need plants and the entire center needs newspaper/cardboard and mulch.  We'll also add some trees and a planted bed under the entrance sign.

Earth Stewardship East 2017 Launch

January 29, Sunday, 7 pm

10923 Breewood Rd, Silver Spring, MD

Please join us to discuss a talk by Elder Marcus Nash, LDS General Authority, on "Righteous Dominion and Compassion for the Earth."  The talk can be found at: https://www.lds.org/topics/environmental-stewardship-and-conservation?lang=eng

We'll also talk about our Chesapeake Bay Trust grant to landscape the Pleasant View Historic Site and other upcoming plans.  
Most of our activities will be family friendly but this particular event is for adults only. Thanks to Chandler and Amy Griggs for hosting.

Interfaith Environmental Conference

February 12, Sunday, 3 PM

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 11701 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg

Earth Stewardship East is co-hosting "Interfaith Light," the fifth annual interfaith environmental conference for our local area.  Merikay Smith will be the keynote speaker joined by representatives of the Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu faiths to share inspiration on care for the earth and care for the poor.  We will look at Pope Francis' encyclical and what impacts this statement has had on local, regional and worldwide actions.  We plan to have information on current issues being addressed in Annapolis by the current session of our state legislature.  In the past this has been a great event for inspiration, learning and networking -- all to make a positive impact locally.  Please invite your friends and neighbors, particularly if they are a "green team" leader in their faith.

Climate Prayer Vigil

January 22, Sunday, 1 pm

Brookside Gardens, Japanese Tea Room

Join us for an interfaith vigil for prayer and meditation on care for Creation this Sunday, January 22, at 1 p.m. at the Brookside Garden Japanese tea room. People of all political backgrounds care about the earth -- let's join together in prayer.

We will be less than one hour. You're welcome to wander the gardens and nearby woodland trails after. Please invite your friends. Children are welcome too since we're outside and will not be long. 

If you cannot be with us, consider setting aside time to pray and reflect on caring for the air, water, lands, and creatures of our earth.

Boat Tour of Anacostia River

October 29, 2016 at 10 am  

Click above (Merikay's photos) and below (Ken Mortensen's photos) to see full slideshowS.  


We will have two tours, one at 10 am and the other at 11 am, both leaving from the National Arboretum dock. Fall colors will be at their peak!  Please share with friends who might like to join Earth Stewardship East.  The more the better.  

Bring your own picnic and join us at the tables near the Anacostia dock area at noon.

This Free event will be led by people who care about the Anacostia -- they'll share its history, wildlife, and environmental concerns.   The boat carries 13 passengers.  The Riverkeepers are willing to take one group at 10 am and a second group if we have that many interested.  We have arranged for this tour to depart from the docks at the National Arboretum which is a wonderful place to visit.  They ask that everyone on the river be ages 5 and up.


JUNE 25, 2016


We'll meet at Riley's Lock for a free event -- all welcome.  Pick up trash stream-side or from a kayak.   Kayaks and life-jackets provided.    Afterwards BYOP (bring your own picnic).  There's a covered area with tables.

We can offer SSI (student service hours) to MCPS students. 

May 21, 2016

First meeting of Earth Stewardship East

Potluck and Program

Twenty-five adults and four children attended the kick-off event for Earth Stewardship East at Merikay Smith's garden.  We ate Chicago pizza and lots of delicious vegetable dishes.  Despite rain we had a great time together -- kids left with tadpoles from the pond and it cleared enough for many to enjoy the garden.  Kate Cummings shared our goals and elicited comments.

Merikay  spoke on Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, "Care for the Earth: Care for the Poor."  Our first meeting topic of Pope Francis' encyclical parallels the spring social for the LDS Earth Stewardship group  held in Salt Lake City.  

Check our website's "Inspiration" section for posts on the Pope's encyclical.