Mark Speaking-WE DO

When Debbie and I were raising our children, Thanksgiving was always a big deal, with guests often joining our family for a big meal. But with our daughters now adults and leading busy lives we’re finding that they’re often not around at the end of November. So, as an alternative we’ve been experimenting with traveling to interesting locations within a drivable distance over Thanksgiving weekend.

This year we chose Savannah, Georgia, a location we like not just for the interesting history and architecture, but also for the natural beauty surrounding it. The salt marshes and tidal islands represent a stunning but fragile ecology endangered by global warming and coastal development. So, Debbie and I like to make a point of seeking out “eco-tours” of the area to acquaint ourselves with the wilder side of these gems while they’re still around. This time we got out to Wassaw Island, a federally-protected isle that has never been cut and so offers views of what the undeveloped coastal landscape is really like. It was a fascinating and delightful tour.

RainGarden-webThis experience got me reflecting on a dimension of our Welcome Project that hasn’t received much attention. While it’s true that our Welcome Project has disturbed much of this site, our planning team wanted to be sure that we remain good stewards of the land we occupy. For one thing, we are trying to assure that as much as possible rainwater that falls on our site remains on the site to recharge the groundwater and be available for our trees. Ordinarily, when developers build plazas like the one off Edwin Place they install drains that guide rainwater away from the site. Rather than doing that, we created rain gardens off Edwin Place and behind Jefferson HouseJH-backyard-web that will capture and retain that water as well as water from our roofs, allowing it to be drawn back into the soil and made available to native vegetation planted above it. In fact, if you look at all the plants added to our site, you’ll notice that they’re all natives indigenous to our region.

All of this is an important way that we continue to live our Seventh Principle affirming the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part. We can make a difference on our own site and be examples of the kind of practices that serve the Web of Life.