June 8 Piedmont Patch Free Talk: Notes from a Small Prairie with Annabel Renwick

June 8 Piedmont Patch Free Talk: Notes from a Small Prairie with Annabel Renwick

The next free talk in the series offered by Piedmont Patch at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, 2019 features Dr. Annabel Renwick, Curator of the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Dr. Renwick’s talk will describe the design and growth of a demonstration Piedmont prairie initiated at that garden in 2014 in a presentation to be held at the Piedmont Patch demonstration site, Episcopal Church of the Advocate, 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

“It’s quite extraordinary to consider that three hundred years ago the terrain surrounding Durham, North Carolina would have been dominated by grassland supporting a myriad of wild flowers, grasses, and associated wildlife,” Dr. Renwick notes. She adds, “Much of this landscape has disappeared due to urbanization, farming, and forestry, and even though the population of North Carolina continues to rise, there are ways we can help create habitats for wildlife in urbanized areas.”

Dr. Renwick will describe the creation of a one-acre rendition of native grassland created with almost 100 species of wild flowers and grasses totaling 20,000 plants at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, noting the changes that have occurred over the four years since its construction. 

Dr. Renwick’s work directly relates to the mission of Piedmont Patch, which is to demonstrate how to collaboratively restore native landscapes, one patch of Piedmont at a time. Our demonstration Piedmont Patch is located on the campus of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate at the intersection of Merin Road and Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. Visitors to the site are always welcome.

Learn more about Piedmont Patch at our web site: piedmontpatch.org.

Lent at the Advocate

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. from the Book of Common Prayer Ash Wednesday liturgy.

Sundays in Lent

For the Season of Lent, we will have more silence in worship and we invite you to consider taking off your shoes when you enter the Chapel, as a way to acknowledge that you have entered a sacred space and time. If you wish to kneel, we invite you to bring a pillow from home, or to kneel on the floor. The liturgy each Sunday will begin with a penitential rite.

For the weekly schedule on Sundays and Wednesdays, visit TheAdvocateChurch.org

Ash Wednesday, March 6.
12 Noon     Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes
6 PM          Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes and Hymns

The House Dinner throughout the Season of Lent will happen on Thursdays at 7.  As usual, please let Charles Rousseau <charlesrousseau10@gmail.com> know if you plan to be there. See more about these occasions for fellowship and community here.

Lenten Study on Wednesday Nights at 7 PM: A Season of the Spirit, Readings for the Days of Lent. Join with others engaging in this helpful book by Martin Smith. For more information, contact “Paul B. Marvin” <pmarvin64@gmail.com>.

The Teachable Moment in Lent. Sunday morning at 10:10. Exploring The Cross and the Lynching Tree. “The cross and the lynching tree are separated by nearly 2,000 years. One is the universal symbol of Christian faith; the other is the quintessential symbol of black oppression in America. Though both are symbols of death, one represents a message of hope and salvation, while the other signifies the negation of that message by white supremacy.” James Cone, a founder and leader of black liberation theology, introduces “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” with these provocative words.
Join the Teachable Moment for the Sundays in Lent as we explore and respond to Cone’s work: how does injustice in the world influence how we understand Jesus’ death on the cross, where do we find hope, and how is God calling us to be advocates for justice and reconciliation in the twenty-first century? See more here.

Stations of the Cross Around the Advocate Pond
This Lent, The Episcopal Church of the Advocate invites our neighbors and friends, known and unknown, to participate in the ancient practice of prayer and reflection called the Stations of the Cross, around the Advocate Pond. Traditionally, the fourteen stations mark different events on the path that Jesus walked through the city of Jerusalem on the day of his death, from the house of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, where he was condemned to die, to the hill at Golgatha, where he was crucified. At each station, participants pause for a reading from scripture, a prayer, and a time of meditation.  See more here.

Saturday, April 6  Site Stewardship Day. We will plant and mulch around the Pee wee Homes, clear up the winter accumulations and make ready for Holy Week and Easter ahead. 9 AM – noon.

Other Notes for Lent
The Rite of the Reconciliation of the Penitent (Confession)
Lent is a good season to engage in the Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent – otherwise known as “making confession”. This simple yet powerful rite is in the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 447-452) and is required of none, recommended for some, and beneficial for all. It helps us to examine our lives, relieve the burdens of our souls, and prepare the way for the joy of Easter. It is private; it is confidential. The Vicar and the Priest Associate are available to offer the Rite of Reconciliation, or to recommend other priests to you.

 

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.