We are delighted to announce the five awardees in our 2023 Neighborhood Nature Project for the Washington DC and Baltimore regions. While creating green spaces that foster community has always been our mission, this project is unique in that it includes $50,000 in construction funding for each site to build the neighborhood green space of their dreams. In addition to the funding, awardees will receive assistance with our community-led design process, entry to our signature Bench and Journal Program and admission to the national Nature Sacred Network.
The selectees are: Rebuild Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization, Pigtown Climbs, Bon Secours Community Works, Hidden Harvest Farm and Filbert Street Garden.
Each of the awardee’s site plans met our guiding principles of being open to all, located within the neighborhood the site would serve, community-led and intended to encourage peace and reflection.
Keep reading for a brief introduction to the awardees – and their plans for their Sacred Places:
Rebuild Johnston Square Neighborhood Organization plans to transform an open lot into an urban sanctuary as part of a larger range of outdoor amenities they’ve helped create in the neighborhood, such as basketball courts and a walking path. The Johnston Square neighborhood faces challenges of disinvestment, segregation and a high rate of vacant homes.
Pigtown Climbs is working to turn a lot that’s been vacant for 60 years into a rock climbing wall to promote racial justice, health and environmental initiatives. The Pigtown neighborhood, also known as Washington Village, has very little existing green space. As a part of this larger project a Sacred Place will provide a site for community gathering, reflection and a community refrigerator.
Bon Secours Community Works Moon Garden will be a three-way partnership in Southwest Baltimore between Nature Sacred, Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School and Bon Secours Community Works, a nonprofit that’s already affiliated with four other Sacred Places. The idea for a moon garden came from the late Barbara McQueen, who was inspired by Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, MD.
Hidden Harvest Farm is located in the Greenmount West neighborhood, which has experienced gentrification and resulted in community friction in recent years. This project will be in partnership with Baltimore Greenspace, Hidden Harvest Collective, and the Greenmount West Community Center. The existing site has an active, working farm that nurtures skills, community and access to healthy food. With the help of Nature Sacred, they plan to create a space to help build relationships between neighbors.
The Filbert Street Garden in Curtis Bay is a place for plants, animals and people to thrive in a neighborhood that struggles with poverty, pollution, drug issues and a lack of food and internet access. The garden provides free food and internet access to residents and plans to expand by building more seating and a native plant and pollinator garden.
Look for updates on our website as these New Sacred Places unfold.