Day to Serve

Saturday, September 22, 10 am to noon

Pleasant view, 11810 darnestown road, gaithersburg, md

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Sept. 22, 10 am

Help complete our native plant garden at Pleasant View by planting native trees and perennials.  We'll also weed and mulch to prepare for winter.  Visit "Pleasant View" on our home page to see how much we have accomplished since starting this project in April of 2017.  Former students of the historic school will be available to answer questions about the fascinating past of Pleasant View.  Optional picnic follows at noon.  We'll provide pizza -- volunteers can bring dessert or other food to share. 

RSVP to Merikay at merikays@verizon.net.  To learn more about the region-wide Day to Serve events:  www.daytoserve.org.

150th Celebration at Pleasant View

Saturday, June 23, noon to 4 pm, rain or shine

Celebrate 150 years at Pleasant View with gospel music by the Royal Harmonizers and the Seneca Gospel Choir, talks on local history, BBQ, and more.  Visit with Pearl Green who just turned 100 and hear from her and others about attending school during segregation.  We'll have a table set up under a tent near the garden to share info on native plants and conservation landscaping.  Families welcome.

Our gardens look great.  Would look even better if the deer ate less!  If you come on Saturday, plan to spend a few minutes pulling weeds and wandering in the garden.  Hope you can come as this is going to be a memorable experience, not to be missed.

 Yucca filamentosa that we planted last year is now in bloom.  This plant was often used in black cemeteries to mark grave sites.  There are yucca growing in the Pleasant View cemetery -- also in bloom this week.

Yucca filamentosa that we planted last year is now in bloom.  This plant was often used in black cemeteries to mark grave sites.  There are yucca growing in the Pleasant View cemetery -- also in bloom this week.

 

constitution garden park - exploring ways to use native plants

saturday, may 19, 10 - 11 am; LIGHT RAIN OR SHINE 

Join us to explore a new park in Old Town Gaithersburg which features native plants as well as play features for children using natural materials.  There are also several water features including a stone mill from a Seneca Creek mill and various storm water management design elements which creatively enhance the site while performing an important environmental function.  Merikay Smith and Lauren Hubbard will share information about a new program, Lands Green Waters Clean.  Get free native plant seeds and ask questions about ways to use native plants in your home garden.  Children are especially welcome at this event.  Co-sponsored by the Muddy Branch Alliance. (This event is being held instead of the planned volunteer/education date on May 19 at Pleasant View due to a septic installation on that site this week.)

dnr.maryland.gov/pgc/Pages/NPS/ConstitutionGardens.aspx

Tree Planting in honor of james baird

Monday, May 14:  DUE TO EXTREME WEATHER PLANS CHANGED to start at 5 pm 

 

About 30 of us met at the Washington DC Stake Center, 10000 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, MD to plant a dozen redbud trees in remembrance of James Baird, our former DC Stake President who passed away unexpectedly this past February.  We had to work fast to get the area cleared of invasive plants and our trees in the ground and mulched before an extreme storm hit.  The rain started as we drove from the parking lot.  Thank you to all who came - and to those who wanted to be there but couldn't because of the last minute time change. 

James had a great love of the outdoors and of trees in particular.  He also kept a collection of soil in carefully labeled bottles to remind him of significant places he had been in his life.  It seems very appropriate to plant beautiful spring-blooming trees at the Stake Center where he spent much time.  In fact, we learned the area where we planted is a trail which James helped create and used for the young men to have a woodland spot to gather around a fire pit and share ideas.  Though he was our Stake President a relatively short period he had a tremendous impact on literally thousands in our community and he is missed.

The following excerpt from one of James' talks at a ward conference while he was bishop of the Rockville Ward gives insight into his love of Creation:

"I love this earth. I like to work in the dirt. I love to watch the sunset on warm beaches. I love the taste of a fresh toasted tomato sandwich with mayo, sea salt, and fresh-ground pepper. I love to stand in cold streams and try to outsmart the fish who have a brain the size of a pea. I love all of the physical sensations that my physical body experiences, like the way my stomach feels when you go over a rise too fast in a car. I love so much of what comes into my ears, my mouth, my nose, on my skin. I have spent much of my life pursuing these pleasures, and trying to provide them for others. I justify all this by reading in Genesis that God created all this for the use and benefit of man, to gladden his eye and lighten his heart. Certainly He wants us to appreciate His beautiful creations. While not a complete epicurean, I am well aware of how much I love all that God has placed for me on this earth, and have trouble imagining that it is any better up there. Maybe there are a few of you who feel this way too. Then why should we work to get off this planet that God placed us on and created for our use and happiness? How can we enjoy all this beauty and still try to follow our bishop’s council to try to rise above it all?"

  Indeed, that is our challenge:  to enjoy our time on earth while making life choices that prepare us for our journey back to God.

 

Pleasant View - Earth Day Celebration 

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. 

We will have an additional volunteer date on May 19 (9 am to 11 am) and in June to prepare the garden for the 150th celebration at Pleasant View.

THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 7 PM

LANDS GREEN WATERS CLEAN - IZAAK WALTON LEAGUE, 707 CONSERVATION LANE, GAITHERSBURG

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.

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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

SEPTEMBER 11, 10 AM TO NOON; 7 PM TO 8 PM

HELP WITH OUR NATIVE PLANT GARDEN IN THE MORNING OR EVENING OF 9/11.  THIS IS A GREAT COMMUNITY BUILDING EVENT: HARD WORK THAT'S SATISFYING.

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.

www.anacostiariverkeeper.org/anacostia-river-explorers

JUNE 25, 2016
 

POTOMAC RIVER / SENECA CREEK KAYAKING AND TRASH PICKUP

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.