Green Sanctuary

News from the Ecological Landscape Team Vernal Spring

Take a stroll down the recently completed path to the spring. Stop and meditate in our outdoor Peace Garden.

We are a group dedicated to beautifying the grounds with hardy, native, non-invasive plants and innovative landscaping tech­niques.

Our goal is to use plants adapted to the local en­vironment, rather than to spend time, excess water and chemicals correcting soil conditions. On the grounds of UUS:E we are challenged by a variety of mini-environments, from the desert of the sunny slope near the parking lot to the lush wetlands in the woods near the spring. Each area has needed a unique combination of plants and care.

What is a Green Sanctuary ?Energy Star Logo

UUS:E became an officially designated Green Sanctuary in June of 2006. We were one of the first 50 congregations in the nation to be certified by the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and were the first in Connecticut. Our congregation has come though a long process that involved an environmentally focused evaluation of all aspects of congregational life, and the creation and completion of a 15 step action plan.

We try to incorporate “green” thinking and actions into all areas of programming at UUSE – from worship services, to adult and youth Religious Education, to recycling many types of items and purchasing recycled and earth friendly supplies, to composting and growing an organic vegetable garden. We practice energy conservation, and purchase Connecticut Light and Power’s 100% Clean Energy Option. We have recently completed a new “green” renovation and addition to our building, including a geothermal HVAC system to heat and cool the entire building.  We have an Ecological Landscaping Team working to restore, naturalize and beautify the grounds.  Green Sanctuary is our way of bringing our UU Seventh Principle to life: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

The Green Sanctuary program is facilitated by the Sustainable Living Committee (SLC) which plans and promotes programs and activities at UUS:E. The committee also works with other local, state and national groups on environmental justice issues. SLC co-sponsors educational programs and encourages congregational participation in working for positive change in the wider community.

Children's Organic Garden, "Hal's Garden" garden level of the ChurchSLC also sponsors a monthly sale of Equal Exchange fair-trade, sustainably-grown, organic coffee, tea and chocolate after each service on the second Sunday of the month. These products are good for the growers, good for the earth and are offered at a very good price. The coffee served on Sunday mornings and at other UUS:E events is also the Equal Exchange brand.

The Sustainable Living Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9 P.M. at UUSE.  The newsletter includes a Green Tip of the Month. A recent Green Tip of the month can be found to the left of this column. For some past Green tips click on Green Tips.

The committee also writes a monthly article in the UUS:E newsletter entitled Green Sanctuary News.

For more information contact Sue McMillen, chair of the Sustainable Living Committee,

Some important web links: