Neighborhood Projects: Our Lady of Mount Carmel (2019 - 2020)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) is a Catholic parish and school situated on 8.5 acres in Essex. In 2018, OLMC students helped reduce stormwater runoff by planting a rain garden on their campus. In 2019, their efforts were further augmented with the installation of several more Bay-Wise landscaping practices through the Bay-Wise Project at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and Parish, funded by a Chesapeake Bay Trust's Outreach and Restoration Grant.
The project was guided by the watershed principle of "Do Unto Those Downstream as You'd Have Those Upstream Do Unto You!"
Care of Creation messaging
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake staff offered two events at OLMC that helped parishioners connect the watershed restoration work with their faith tradition and teaching. A "Water and Garden Keepers" group was formed on campus with the intention to cultivate volunteers to maintain the gardens, as well as educate other parishioners about the importance of environmental stewardship.
Educational signs were installed near several of the Bay-Wise practices. These signs included either a graphic of how stormwater is processed or examples of native plants that benefit pollinators and other native wildlife. Each sign also included a quotation or message chosen to resonate with the Catholic faith. Both OLMC and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy will offer Bay-Wise tours in 2020 to inspire parishioners, other churches, and the general public to take action for clean water on their property.
Taking It to the Next Level
The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy is thrilled to announce that we received another Chesapeake Bay Trust grant to continue our work at OLMC in 2020. We will be removing almost 500 square feet of parking lot and replacing that impervious surface with two microbioretention practices, which can treat high volumes of run-off. Additionally, OLMC will create an outdoor teaching area that will benefit students and parishioners alike.
The Clear Creeks Project is made possible through funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Chesapeake Bay Trust; Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability; Baltimore Gas and Electric; Gunpowder Valley Conservancy; and Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, administered by Maryland Department of Natural Resources.