We are moving again! Seventeen people met after the November 13th service to introduce Sacred Grounds to newcomers, rekindle excitement, and get moving on Phase 1 projects. Enthusiasm was high!

Volunteers jumped in to start planting native species, join the Love the Land work parties on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday, staff the patio info tables and communications, and select the material for the paths. As we complete visible projects we should gain more visibility and more volunteers and be able to move forward on the other parts of the Phase 1 projects.

These activities build upon the progress already made on each of the three Phase 1 projects. Completed components include the Plaza Enhancement misters, the Celebration Garden art sculpture and sourcing of the Sacred Stones, and the Garden of Hope art sculpture, butterfly garden milkweed, Little Library, and Rev B’s bench.

Completion of the full Phase 1 projects will continue to progress in dependence upon volunteers and donations. Jerry added that there are plans to develop the property to our south and maybe we should prioritize plantings to screen the view. Similarly we might prioritize shade for the sanctuary back wall which gets very hot.

A key objective is providing refugia for native species, and connecting people with the land.

Many opportunities for the congregation to engage were presented at the meeting. The Social Justice committee and Fran announced the UUCOD Environmental Film Festival starting Nov 20 and extending until Earth Day in April. In addition to Jerry’s Love the Land work parties, we also discussed more educational ideas such as UUCOD nature walks and talks, and a signed nature trail (with QR codes for videos). We also discussed the potential for the Peace Garden to tie into the Board’s goal for Outreach.

There are many opportunities to engage with other groups in the valley. Guest Elizabeth Erickson talked about opportunities with UCR including the California Naturalist, Climate Steward, Coachella Valley Garden Day, Wild & Scenic Film Festival and more. We also highlighted the many different organizations to engage (CA Native Plant Society, Master Gardener, Living Desert, Mohave Desert Land Trust, Oswit Land Trust, Friends of Desert Mountains, CV Water District, …).

The Sacred Grounds reserve fund will not be sufficient to complete the Phase 1 projects since bids will be much higher than they were in 2020. Any fundraising campaigns will wait until later March, after the Pledge drive. In the meantime we will be selling Sacred Stones at a patio info table and accepting unsolicited donations. We could really benefit from a volunteer checking out grant opportunities.

Another idea was to acquire boulders to provide habitat for lizards. Katie Barrows mentioned that Oswit Land Trust recently was able to get free boulders by noticing nearby construction projects unearthing boulders and asking if they could have them. Maybe we can keep our eyes open?

Sacred Grounds Recent Posts

Sacred Grounds Update January 2023

Here’s an update on progress since the November Sacred Grounds meeting, at which various sub-teams were formed. There are many opportunities for you to get involved, matching your interests and skills. Read about the Native Plants sub-team, the upcoming Weed Pull Party, landscaping, design ideas for the sidewalks and more!

Earth Day Worship Service

First, a huge thank you to Katie Barrows. The Barrows family of Katie, Cameron, and Colin is the undisputed First Family of our local natural lands. The family business has been protecting our native lands, being stewards, listening to and understanding interconnection of the other species, and inspiring more stewards. Please let’s acknowledge our gratitude to Katie and her family.

Our beautiful area is hurting. The eastern valley

Sacred Grounds Update

Remember the Sacred Grounds Initiative? After a long Covid hiatus, the Initiative will be starting back up.

History
Oh, didn’t Covid change everything? By March 2020 a large group of congregants had formed the Sacred Grounds Initiative, a vision for our amazing grounds that included support for the native plants and critters, plus nourishing human souls with places for meditation, connection and reflection. The minister spoke from the pulpit, a couple of congregation-wide meetings were held, and a Love-the-Land work party

Our Lovely Desert Iguanas

With the warming temperatures, our three pairs of Desert Iguanas should soon be making an appearance on our Sacred Grounds. First will be the youngsters who hatched last fall and should come out of their burrows for the first time this next week or so. Soon after, as the sand becomes reliably warm, the adults will appear. The Desert Iguanas are one of the last lizards to emerge because they are unable to digest their

Our endangered species re-emerges!

Our grounds are one of the few spots supporting the endangered Coachella Valley Milkvetch, which was once prominent on the vast sand dunes before we all built our houses. Our Sacred Grounds provides critical habit for this federally listed species. Most years we get a Fall crop but alas Fall was so dry that nothing sprouted. And with the dry January and February, it appeared this would be our first year with no germination. But those rains a few weeks triggered the milkvetch! We now have perhaps a dozen little tiny plants and one bigger one that is blooming. Blessed be our Sacred Grounds.

Our Lovely grounds

Our grounds are one of the few spots supporting the endangered Coachella Valley Milkvetch, which was once prominent on the vast sand dunes before we all built our houses. Our Sacred Grounds provides critical habit for this federally listed species. Most years we get a Fall crop but alas Fall was so dry that nothing sprouted. And with the dry January and February, it appeared this would be our first year with no germination. But those rains a few weeks triggered the milkvetch! We now have perhaps a dozen little tiny plants and one bigger one that is blooming. Blessed be our Sacred Grounds.

Rescuing Our Trees

Our gorgeous Palo Verde trees suffer from years of neglect. But the rescue has begun! The dead and diseased wood was trimmed out this Tuesday and Wednesday. Upgrading the irrigation for the trees continues into next week, followed by treatment for disease.