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Posted by Ron Stafford ● Thu, Apr 09, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

Renewing the Face of the Earth: Tree Planting Project on Volunteer Day

 Willow_Tree_KidsOn Volunteer Day (April 18), Pecometh is planting around 100 trees! This project is more than just landscaping - it's an investment in our future, an expression of faith, and a way to care for God's creation. 

We, as Christian stewards of God’s green earth, have been given much responsibility. God commands us to not only have dominion over it, but to care for it, as well.

A delicate balance, indeed.

As a matter of fact, one of the Seven Foundations for Camp & Retreat Ministry is “teaching Creation care and appreciation”, and one of the concrete ways that Creation care is taught is through tree planting.

This spring, Pecometh will receive a grant from the Trees for Sacred Places Project, a two-year, grant-funded project with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake.

Together, these two organizations seek to improve the overall health of the Chesapeake Watershed by working with local congregations and faith-based organizations.

The goal for this project is to increase tree canopy and reforest riparian areas (the place where land meets a river or stream) on faith-based properties throughout Maryland, including Pecometh.

Joanna Freeman, Maryland Program Coordinator for Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, states it this way.

“Pecometh is a unique property for us to be working at since it is so close to agricultural land and water, making trees even more important to plant to provide a buffer between the two land uses.

Planting at Pecometh is a great opportunity for the Alliance to reach kids of all ages and teach them the importance of trees.

We hope that they will learn the importance of trees to the environment, see how they can keep cabins cool in the summer heat and learn about the impact different species have on wildlife. “

This planting plan is quite extensive, and all starts on Volunteer Day, Saturday April 18. More on how you can help with that later.

The plan itself calls for us to:

  • Infill empty space between the Grove Cabins with 10 White Oak trees

  • Plant 4 Hackberry trees at Riverside

  • Reforest between Talley House and the old Admin building with 30 Red Maple, 30 Red Oak, and 40 White Oak trees

  • Create a grove of 8 Red Oaks, 7 White Oaks, and 5 Red Maple trees on either side of Grace House

  • Add 11 Red Maple trees along Retreat House Lane

  • Plant 16 White Oak trees along Jack Elliot Way and around the Picnic Pavilion

A great task for a great project.

Why plant all of these trees in the first place? Doesn’t Pecometh already have enough great trees now?

First, planting trees helps to improve the air and water quality in our region, and it also helps to prevent erosion.

Planting all of these trees will provide much more shade for some of the cabins, which means cooler cabins during the summer.

Plus, this planting will provide more shaded places for our guests and campers to enjoy.

Our birds that make these trees their home enjoy great shade with this project, as well.

There is also a spiritual component to planting trees. It could be said that trees can be a type of theophany, a window into understanding the qualities of God and our relationship with our Creator.

In the Bible, faithfulness is a central quality indicated by trees.

“Happy are those who follow the ways of the Lord...they are like trees planted by streams of water.” (Psalm 1)

Yes, trees provide great ecological benefit as they contribute to God’s “renewing the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30), and they also reflect the Creator’s glory.

In other words, trees provide shelter, shade, and so much more, offering a symbol of what God has done for us.

“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8 ESV)

***Post Update: On April 18, 2015 about 120 volunteers helped us to plant 157 trees (they also completed many other projects for us!) Our trees are doing well. You can see photos of the work on our Volunteer Day Tree Planting Facebook Album

Topics: Outdoor Classroom