Woods Tackles Environmental Issues With Campus Restoration Project


Woods Church welcomed members and community friends to its campus on September 12 to highlight the church grounds, which were recently upgraded to an earth friendly, pollinator friendly and people friendly habitat. The event was nearly four years in the making.

“The little church on the hill,” built in 1912, is no longer little and its hill is eroding. Now known as Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, it has a four-acre campus that is massive and includes many buildings and expansive parking lots. Sitting high atop property near the intersections of Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and McKinsey and Cypress Creek roads, the church has experienced growth impacting not only the wooded areas of its campus but also the Magothy River, as thousands of gallons of roof and parking lot runoff water quickly finds its way to Cypress Creek after each wet-weather or snow event.

Partnering with Maryland ecology groups, the Woods Church gardening group of the property management ministry had several goals when planning the upgrades:

  • Redirect storm runoff to wooded areas on campus.
  • Replace grass areas with native plants to mitigate lawn maintenance expenses, including chemical fertilizer use, and save 5,000 gallons of water used for irrigation.
  • Replace invasive plants, bushes and trees with native plants to create a barrier to slow runoff. Create year-round habitat for bees, birds and small critters.
  • Reconfigure landscape slopes to mitigate erosion around sidewalks and other human-made surfaces.

The fruits of the year’s labor were evident in September with prevalent butterflies and bees happily flying about, and plants that bloomed in the summer are starting to show their ripening berries to the delight of the many species of birds that came to nibble.

The project was supported by many volunteers including teens from Woods scouting and youth groups. The native plants have been labeled so that visitors to the grounds may take note and know which plants to add to their own properties.

Grants were provided by the Unity Gardens organization, Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Tree Trooper program. Volunteers from the church community, Bay-Wise (from the University of Maryland), Maryland Master Gardeners, high school environmental and honor society clubs, and retired persons, and others, assisted.

As stewards of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Woods and other Anne Arundel County faith congregations are coming together to care for shared watersheds through the One Water Partnership. Cool Congregations (www.coolcongregations2021.org) awarded Woods with its Sacred Grounds Award for the campus restoration.

Woods’ members Karen and Bob Royer serve as co-project managers. Members of the community are welcome to come walk the grounds at Woods.

To learn more about this project, check out a YouTube video by Chesapeake Bay Media and take a YouTube video tour of the grounds via Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy.


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