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. Get Involved!

Four people formed a Native Plants sub-team with a focus on getting some plantings done quickly within the optimal planting season. Katie Barrows donated 13 native plants from the Coachella Valley Garden Day native plant sale and Dave planted them around the grounds. Most notably he planted four mesquite and four Palo Verde along the back (south) wall to screen future development. Mesquite is a keystone species, anchoring habitat and food for many other native species. It is also extremely deep rooted, reaching down to the water table. Invasive Tamarisk is the only other species that can do that. The new trees are quite tiny and will take a while to sink their roots. Dave also replaced a few of the desert milkweed and added a few other natives.

Jack designed desert-appropriate front landscaping by the front steps and ramp and Dave installed the irrigation and did the planting. We want to add more landscape rocks and then a front row of plantings. We are also looking at adding plantings in the rock perimeter of the plaza. If you want to be involved in the landscape design, Get Involved!

The fresh rains promise lots of great wildflowers but also weeds. Let’s do a big Weed Pull Party on Saturday, January 28. In the past these have been lots of fun and community building. Rod provides training and pictures to distinguish native from invasive. Can you help promote it, organize stuff like tools, or provide drinks and snacks?

Sue E volunteered to work with the concrete contractors for the new Gardens. John R is playing with design ideas to make the new concrete sidewalks more attractive, such as patterns or colors. If you’d like to join in on the design, give John or Sue a shout.  The cost may exceed our Reserve and require more donations, but it would be great to have more attractive sidewalks than just gray concrete. We want to get the construction (and large expense) done before the end of the fiscal year in June.

Fundraising in the Congregation can’t start until after the Pledge Drive (which starts in a few weeks). But someone could start researching potential grants or other sources of funds. We did that successfully in other areas – years ago for music and more recently for AV. Do you like to do research and want to help find opportunities?

Another sub-team was Education. Fran is assisting the Social Justice team with the Environmental Film series November through April. Rod is scheduling Interpretive Nature Walks in February and April, in conjunction with Life Span education.

A few people offered to form a Communication sub-team but that hasn’t really got started yet. We need to get that sub-team moving and get the congregation involved in all of the activities. We probably need to do another Sacred Grounds meeting with the whole congregation. Does helping on this align with your skills and interests?

We have three congregants signed up (so far!) for the UCR California Naturalist course this year (every Saturday morning February 11 – April 22). On January 15, our Share the Plate recipient is the UCR Conservation Biology program, including funding scholarships to make the California Naturalist class available to a more diverse group of people.

We could also take advantage of the numerous UCR activities such as the Wild & Scenic lectures, the Boyd Deep Canyon lectures, the Wild & Scenic Film festival and more, assembling a UUCOD contingent at these events (a number of us already attend). Would you like to help organize and promote any of this?

As you see, there are lots of opportunities for you to get involved and increase your connection to the land and the community. Whatever your skills and interests there is a perfect match for you. Get Involved!

Sacred Grounds Recent Posts

Desert Canyon Habitat Nears Completion

Take a stroll through the new Desert Canyon Habitat garden by the labyrinth. The first of 4-5 habitats on our grounds, this provides refugia for our native species, and provides a place for us to develop and nurture a deep a spiritual connection to the interconnected...

Sacred Grounds Update: November 2023

Celebration Garden
Huge progress! Our stunning Celebration Garden is really taking shape. The walkway is embossed with designs inspired by native plants and lizards, a ring of Encelia (brittlebush) circles the metal sculpture, and a new bladderpod hedge to screen off the parking lot is in place.

Desert Canyon Habitat
On October 23 we started planting the Desert Canyon Habitat with over a hundred native plants!

Sacred Grounds Update: August 2023

Wow, this has been a busy month. We've finalized the landscape design for the Desert Canyon Garden, defined the paths, got the plant material list ready to order and even got 25 tons of boulders delivered!  The Celebration Garden is taking shape too - the stamps for...

Sacred Grounds Update June 2023

Greetings from Sacred Grounds! A lot has been happening so let’s catch you up. We are hard at work and eager for you to join in the creation of the Celebration Garden and several Native Plant Community Gardens.      Sacred Grounds Update: June 2023 Spoiler: October...

Sacred Grounds Weed Pull, March 2023

Dear Friends of Sacred Grounds and Fellow Weed Pullers, The rain this winter has produced a new crop of schismus grass, and we need to remove this pesky invader soon. Schismus grass is easy to remove! No need to get on your hands and knees. You can stand and scrape it...

Fall Kickoff!

Sacred Grounds relaunches! 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.

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.

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