Janet Felsten

  Firesoul Directory

Janet Felsten

Janet Felsten holds her community dear; she is someone who sincerely values the stewardship of her surroundings and sees access to nature as an essential element of urban life. In taking responsibility for being a Firesoul, Janet says, “I am representing the larger community of neighborhood residents who collectively care for and value this park.”

In her Sacred Space, Stony Run Park, Janet’s work blends her passions with her professional interests. A designer, educator, and mapmaker, Janet has truly ingrained herself within the Baltimore community. As founder/director of Baltimore Green Map, she has led many youth and community asset mapping projects to reflect elements that contribute to a vibrant, sustainable city. 

Stony Run Park is the northernmost chain of linear, stream valley parks, framed by many school campuses and residential neighborhoods. The park is an essential space of relaxation and rejuvenation for students and residents of all ages. The Stony Run flows south from a northern edge of Baltimore, ultimately feeding into the Jones Falls and the Inner Harbor.

Located within the park is a TKF bench dedicated to three members of the Beer family, including Dr. Michael Beer, former chairman of John Hopkins University biophysics department. Dr. Beer was committed to the upkeep of the park and organized the replanting of native species there for many years. A journal, made available in the compartment beneath the seat, typically fills in about two months. Visitors write their thoughts, feelings and simply release whatever is going on in their lives. Janet finds joy in “discovering how people use the journals to reflect, to wax poetic, for therapy and shared counseling.”

Janet sees her Firesoul role as being the “caretaker for the provision and collection of journals, and the preservation and improvement of the bench setting, keeping it as an informal, to-be-discovered sanctuary just off the beaten path, in view of the murmuring stream.”

“I believe in the value of public parks as social equalizers, in the restorative power of nature, and in taking time for reflection.”

My Sacred Place

Stony Run Park

In north central Baltimore City, a 3-mile long walking trail follows the path of the Stony Run stream and offers people a means to immerse themselves in nature; a true escape from urban life. The Stony Run’s linear park is framed by many school campuses and residential neighborhoods; toward its northern end, one can find a Sacred Place.  

Meet Another Firesoul

Samantha Lee

Mandy (she/her/hers) facilitates collaborative, multi-stakeholder efforts for environmental and climate justice through the design and development of communities and the infrastructure that sustains them. She organizes with her local mutual aid network and community garden and is a vegan and bread baking enthusiast. Mandy is deeply passionate about community-driven climate, food, and environmental justice initiatives...


  Related Articles

View more  

BenchTalk Events & Programming: Bringing Journaling to Life in Sacred Places Across the Nation


Green ties that bind


The Firesoul Network — 2023 in Reflection


A Kid’s Creation: Landscape Design with Children and Young Adults

Read More