Open Voices Blog

News and conversations about the growing evidence of the healing power of nature and green development in cities

Education, environment and equity. It’s all here.

Posted on 10/09/17

We’re coming to you live today from our St. Mary’s Butterfly Garden in Annapolis, Maryland.

Tucked in a meaningful corner of a downtown K-12 school campus, this unique open, Sacred Place has offered a moment of respite to countless students, teachers, parents and passersby over its two decades of existence. 

A thoughtful rain garden that celebrates acceptance & diversity with hand-painted stones customized by students.

We love the inspired programs that spring to life in these kinds of urban settings. As in here at St. Mary’s—this garden has played host to many project-based environmental education programs over the years. 

Moreover, the St. Mary’s Parish has retrofitted a 2.1 acre parking lot with 9 rain gardens to thwart stormwater run-off into the adjacent Spa Creek. The students are involved in maintaining these native, pollutant-absorbing gardens—enriching a deep understanding of of environmental stewardship and STEM subject matter. 

At St. Mary’s, All Are Welcome, as reflected by the unique stones of all colors and shapes.

This week, our interest was piqued when we noticed a colorful river of painted rocks meandering past our bench. We learned this is part of the school’s theme this year: “All Are Welcome.”  The rock river is a metaphor for the school’s embrace of diversity—a celebration of individuality and personal differences. Each stone has been individually hand-painted by students in a meaningful and creative exercise of inclusion. 

This got us thinking. Today, as we innovate and reimagine our cities to be more sustainable, resilient and unified—it’s worth taking some inspiration from local community thought-leadership. Like here, at St. Mary’s. 

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    TKF Foundation
    ©1999-2016

    410 Severn Avenue,
    Suite 216
    Annapolis, MD

    Tel: 410.268.1376

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    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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