Meet Our Beekeeper Saturday at 10 AM

Meet Our Beekeeper

June 23 @ 10:00 am11:00 am

Free

In honor of National Pollinator Week (June 18-24, 2018), the Piedmont Patch Beekeeper, Gillian Hadden, will be on site to introduce folks to the honeybees living in the hive beside the pond where volunteers have planted over 1000 native grasses and wildflowers. She’ll demonstrate her equipment, show us how the bees are doing (Spoiler alert – They are making honey!), and talk a bit about what honeybees and native pollinators need to thrive. Gillian tells us that she became interested in beekeeping after learning about the difficulties these (and native) pollinators are facing. All ages are welcome.

Piedmont Patch Upcoming Events!


All are welcome and encouraged to join us

The Bees Are Coming!
The bee box is built and placed on the north end of the Pond. The hive arrives Friday, April 6. Our keeper and teacher, Gillian Hadden, will place the bees in the box at 5:45 that day. Come watch and learn!

Many enthusiastic volunteers are needed for the Piedmont Patch Planting Day on Saturday, April 14 (rain date April 21) from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers from the wider community are coming, and we hope to have many people of the Advocate present as well. Experience is NOT a prerequisite to participate: we’ll team newbies with experienced gardeners, so that the experience of all will be enriched. Because we’re planning for teams, your email RSVP is important. Let us know if you are a veteran gardener or a newbie and how many folks you’ll be bringing. We’ll provide drinks and snacks. Read more about the Planting Day here.

And mark your calendar now for the next Piedmont Patch education event on Saturday, May 19, 10:00am – 12 noon. “Container Gardening,” with Amy Brightwood, promises to introduce us to container gardening techniques and the therapeutic benefits of the practice, especially with families.

A Piedmont Patch Presentation: Debbie Roos on Pollinators and Habitats. Saturday, February 17

“Creating Wildlife Habitat with Pollinator Gardens”
Featuring Debbie Roos
Saturday, February 17, 11:00am – 1:00pm

The Piedmont Patch Collaborative invites the interested community to join us for the inaugural event in a multi-year program to collaboratively restore native landscapes, one patch of piedmont at a time. “Creating Wildlife Habitat with Pollinator Gardens” will be offered by noted pollinator expert Debbie Roos at the Episcopal Church of the Advocate on Saturday, February 17, 11:00am – 1:00pm. The Advocate is located at 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. The event is free but registration is requested.

Debbie Roos is a Chatham County extension agent for sustainable organic production. Her talk will describe the relationships between native pollinators and native plants, the habitat requirements of these species, and offer suggestions on how to make any landscape more friendly to native pollinators. Participants will be inspired to establish a piedmont patch that will attract and support native plants, birds and mammals in any urban or suburban landscape. A frequent and popular local speaker, her talks are enhanced by her extensive photo collection. She also maintains a demonstration pollinator garden at Chatham Mills in Pittsboro, that is free and open to the public.

“We are excited to offer such an engaging opportunity to our neighbors and friends,” said the Rev. Lisa G. Fischbeck, Vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate. “We hope that people who don’t know anything about native gardening will come, and be inspired to put in a small pollinator garden in whatever space they may have available. We’re in the process of transforming The Advocate’s property into a native habitat, and it is a place where anyone is welcome to walk, sit, fish, and be inspired. ”The Piedmont Patch Collaborative is a joint project between the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill, NC, and various native species advocates. The Piedmont Patch aims to provide educational and experiential resources to support the restoration of diverse native flora to urban and suburban landscapes in the Piedmont region in North Carolina. Quarterly educational events and hands-on experiences are planned to engage interested persons at any level of experience. For more information, email piedmontpatch@gmail.com .

The Advocate Awarded Stewardship of Creation Grant from The Episcopal Church

IMG_0461We are more than happy to announce that The Church of the Advocate was awarded a $9,600 Stewardship of Creation grant from The Episcopal Church for the Piedmont Patch Project, a collaborative social ministry dedicated to restoring native flora and fauna displaced by the rapid urbanization surrounding the property, and cultivating keepers of Creation.

See more on the website of The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina here.

If you want to be a part of this project — learning, teaching, planting, inviting, cultivating — please contact Day Smith Pritchartt <emaildayp@gmail.com>

Debt Relief in Sight!

photo_2Debt Relief in Sight!

In 2013, The Advocate was at the peak of our campaign to worship on the land. We had raised the funds to buy the land and to move what would become The Advocate Chapel, and we still needed to restore the chapel and to get the site up to code for use by a church (parking lot, sewer, pond repair, etc. etc.). We had raised a lot of money (over $1.7 million), but not enough. So we took out two loans:

  • A $180,000 loan from an anonymous individual loaner. This loan was without interest for one year, then a 1.5% interest rate and interest-only payments for 4 years. After five years, the entire $180,000 is due. This is what could be called “a balloon loan”. It comes due early in 2018.

In 2016, the people of the Advocate received a challenge to raise $40,000 toward the retirement of this second debt. With significant stretch, Advocates stepped up. In November 2016 our $40,000 plus the challenge gift allowed us to pay of $80,000 of that $180,000 loan.

Then, in January 2017, the Advocate received a challenge to raise $30,000 from friends of the Advocate. Friends responded, and in September we paid another $60,000 of that loan.

$40,000 remains.

Now, the loaner herself has offered to match $20,000 of the remaining $40,000, if we can raise another $20,000 in the months ahead.

Any gift given towards the Advocate’s debt retirement for the next $20,000, will be matched up to $20,000. This will pay off the loan.

  • A $150,000 loan from the North Carolina Episcopal Church Foundation. This loan is being paid at 2% interest over 10 years. The 10% payment and the 2% interest have both been budgeted in the Advocate’s Annual Budget for the past 4.5 years. At the end of 2017, $82,000 will remain to be paid on this loan. At this rate, we could pay it off in 5.5 years, in June 2023. We would sure be glad to pay off this loan sooner and be able to use that $15,000 each year to augment our life and ministry instead.

Checks should be designated for “Debt Relief” and written to The Episcopal Church of the Advocate (or ECOTA) and sent to 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516.

Thank you!

 

Native Grass Plugging: A Piedmont Patch Project July 29

IMG_0430Grass-Plugging for the Kingdom of God
A Piedmont Patch Project
Saturday, July 29, 8 AM – 10 AM.


The Church of the Advocate has received a gift of almost 500 native grass “plugs” for the area around the dam. This significant gift is an important next step in our Piedmont Patch Project, “to restore native flora and fauna, one patch of the Piedmont at a time. Previous steps have been to expand our vegetable garden and to stock the Advocate Pond with hundreds of fingerling bass, catfish and brim. The grasses owe have received will not only bring back native flora to the site, they will also serve an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of the dam.

However, the plugs need to be planted soon. So we’re looking for volunteers to come to the Pond,  Saturday, July 29, 8:00 AM-10 AM (hoping to beat the heat!) to plug and learn!

Planting logistics which will involve electric drills with bulb-planting augers, and teams of folks doing drilling, planting (“plugging”), and watering.

IMG_0431Project botanical consultant, Cathy Bollinger, and her associates have already begun to prepare the site for us. Cathy will be with us on Saturday morning, and, as always, will teach as we go. 
All are welcome!

Please contact Day Smith Pritchartt to sign up for the morning.
Here are links to photos of the beautiful grasses we have been given. Our dam will be singing its own Alleluia by next summer!

Andropogon gerardii (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/andropogon-gerardii) — “Big Bluestem”

Panicum virgatum ‘North Wind’ (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/panicum-virgatum-northwind) — “Upright Switchgrass”

Sporobolus heterolepsis (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/sporobolus-heterolepis) — “Prairie Dropseed”


Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blue Heaven’ (http://hoffmannursery.com/plants/details/schizachyrium-scoparium-minnbluea-blue-heaven-pp17310) — “Little Bluestem”

The Piedmont Patch Project

img_7929The Piedmont Patch Project: Restoring Native Flora and Fauna, One Patch of Piedmont at a Time

The people of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate have a dream. Since moving onto our scruffy 15-acre site in 2014, we have been working to transform it into a place of hospitality, worship, and contemplation, and a regional resource for collaborative social ministry and the arts. In 2015, The Advocate began collaborating with individuals and organizations outside the church to host three “tiny homes” on our site, for individuals who would otherwise be homeless (PeeWeeHomes.org ). Now we are beginning a second collaboration, the Piedmont Patch Project, to restore native flora and fauna displaced by the rapid urbanization surrounding the property, and to cultivate keepers of Creation.

The Piedmont Patch project will transform five acres of our site into a food-producing and natural habitat, create a network of involved neighbors and provide numerous opportunities to educate and engage people of all ages and backgrounds. We believe that in deepening connections with creation and with our community, mindfully tending and keeping the land and teaching others to do the same, we will honor God.

20170628_195951We imagine the Advocate Pond and grounds enriched with diverse well-adapted native plants that will attract and nurture an array of wildlife, including butterflies, bees, birds, frogs, turtles, and small mammals. Surrounded by rapid urbanization, the Church of the Advocate’s acreage can serve as a sanctuary for homeless wildlife increasingly displaced by bulldozers, asphalt, and concrete. Over time, such native plantings require less maintenance than traditional ornamental plantings, most of which do not meet the needs of native wildlife.

The project has an educative component, engaging school children and graduate students and inviting all who are responsible for patches of Piedmont land to learn how to create vibrant native sanctuaries that serve rather than harm God’s creation. Ideally, we can lead other congregations and other neighborhoods to adopt this concept of native sanctuaries, building refuges of hope for native wildlife and havens of peace and beauty for humans one patch of piedmont (and beyond!) at a time. The Project will also include education on invasive exotic species and their removal — why it is important, how it contributes to sustainability.

IMG_8563The Piedmont Patch Project is grounded in a belief that the environment and our natural resources will be better sustained, and even thrive, as organizations and individuals work to cultivate one patch at a time. The Project is envisioned as a collaborative effort of the church, the town, the NC Botanical Gardens, and individuals with knowledge and skills to share, such as Cathy Bollinger of The Piedmont Gardener.

We hope the Piedmont Patch Project (like the Pee Wee Homes Collaborative) will serve as prototypes that can be scaled and replicated in a variety of church, public, and private settings.

Breaking News!!! The Advocate Awarded Stewardship of Creation Grant from The Episcopal Church!

Here’s and article about native and non-native wildflowers and bees.

The Piedmont Patch Project — Saturday, January 28 @10AM

img_7929The Piedmont Patch Project: Building Sanctuaries One Patch of Piedmont at a Time

Introductory Presentation and Conversation
Led by Cathy Bollinger and the Vicar
Saturday, January 28
10 AM at the Advocate

The People of the Advocate know how much our commitment to maintain the Advocate Pond means to the surrounding community; it welcomes and encourages them to continue to use this special spot. But from an ecological perspective, the pond’s setting is less welcoming to non-human natives. We can change that.

Imagine the Advocate Pond and grounds enriched with diverse well-adapted native plants that will attract and nurture an array of wildlife, including butterflies, bees, birds, frogs, turtles, and small mammals. Surrounded by rapid urbanization, the Church of the Advocate’s acreage can serve as a sanctuary for homeless wildlife increasingly displaced by bulldozers, asphalt, and concrete. Over time, such native plantings require less maintenance than traditional ornamental plantings, most of which do not meet the needs of native wildlife.

The project has an educative component, engaging school children and graduate students and inviting all who are responsible for patches of Piedmont land to learn how to create vibrant native sanctuaries that serve rather than harm God’s creation. Ideally, we can lead other congregations and other neighborhoods to adopt this concept of native sanctuaries, building refuges of hope for native wildlife and havens of peace and beauty for humans one patch of piedmont (and beyond!) at a time. The Project will also include education on invasive exotic species and their removal — why it is important, how it contributes to sustainability.

The Piedmont Patch Project is grounded in a belief that the environment and our natural resources will be better sustained, and even thrive, as organizations and individuals work to cultivate one patch at a time. The Project is envisioned as a collaborative effort of the church, the town, the NC Botanical Gardens, and individuals with knowledge and skills to share.

Cathy Bollinger has a life-long passion for the natural world, especially in her home state of North Carolina. With a Masters in Environmental Management,  she has been a student of the ecology of especially her home Piedmont region all her life. These days, she volunteers at the NC Botanical Garden in several roles, continues to write her blog, The Piedmont Gardener, which she began in 2011, and recently began writing a bi-monthly gardening column for a small weekly paper in Virginia. 

Strength to Strength III: A $300,000 Campaign to Pay the Debt and Repurpose the House

In Epiphany 2008, the Church of the Advocate launched the
Strength to Strength Capital Campaign of $2.25 million. 

Strength to Strength I: To Buy The Land
Epiphany 2008 – Epiphany 2011

Strength to Strength II: To Worship On The Land
Epiphany 2012 – Easter 2014

In 2014, The Advocate received our certificate of occupancy for our Chapel, just in time for Easter. It was an exciting time, and the culmination of more than six years of fund-raising, planning, preparation, and hard work. To get to that point, we received generous and abundant support, not only from the people of the Advocate, but also from numerous friends, especially elders of “The Greatest Generation” who wanted the Advocate to thrive.

Even so, to be able to complete the adaptive re-use of the site and Chapel, we had to take out two loans, and leave the work of re-purposing the Advocate House and making it accessible to all for another time.

Two years later, that time has come, and the Vestry has launched:

Strength to Strength III:  To Pay the Debt and Repurpose the House
Epiphany 2016 – 

Strength to Strength III is a $300,000 Campaign to pay off our $180,000 debt and complete all needed and desired site and building work in and around the house.

The Vestry has determined the following priorities for funds as they come in.

– The first $40,000 will be raised by November 1, 2016 and will be matched by an anonymous $40,000 donor. This $80.000, will be our first payment on our $180,000 debt. This $40K challenge is being met thanks to more than 75% participation by the People of the Advocate and to a few kind friends.

– While gifts may be designated to debt retirement at any time, the next $60,000 raised will be used to repurpose the House for our use, especially to get it ADA compliant, and complete the site work required by the Town along with it. Namely to bring sewer to the house, curb and gutter a 10-car parking lot behind the house, and add a second ADA parking space. This is an essential response to our call to hospitality and accessibility to all.

– The next $100,000 raised will be used to retire the remainder of the $180,000 debt, due by June 1, 2018. * In December 2016, we were given a challenge to raise $30,000 from people beyond the Advocate congregation. That $30,000 will matched by an anonymous donor, bringing our remaining debt to $40,000.

– Another $60,000 raised will go toward making the house as functional as possible for our purposes: A wrap around deck to allow for accessible outdoor meeting and worship, a fully ADA accessible kitchen, a renewed library and meeting space. See complete plans here.

Gift forms are available online and in the Chapel bell tower.
Checks written to ECOTA with land/building in the memo line can be sent to:
The Advocate
8410 Merin Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Or to donate online click HERE.

*(Note that the Advocate also is paying off a $150,00 debt to the Diocese. This debt is being paid through the annual operating budget at a rate of $15,000, plus interest, each year for 10 years. Seven years remain on that debt payment).