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TIKKUN OLAM

The Interfaith Greenway, a lovely garden set in a valley behind the synagogue, is a hard-working landscape, engineered to capture and hold storm water until it can percolate into the soil. It also creates food and habitat for local wildlife, just as it provides an oasis of beauty for congregants and neighbors.

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WE HAD A PROBLEM

Gardens like this one benefit densely-built environments by reducing the runoff caused by acres of roofs andpaved surfaces. Since Beth Sholom’s property is approximately 90% roofed and paved, its 1980s-era system of gutters and storm drains was often overwhelmed. Stormwater overflowed into a neglected gully choked with aggressive weeds, and the path behind the synagogue frequently flooded.

THE CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED

Stormwater running from our property through a network of suburban drainage systems is laden with silt, nitrogen and pesticides from lawns, and salts, oil and litter from roads empties into nearby Cabin John Creek. Water from the Creek drains directly into the Potomac River—the source of drinking water for the entire Washington metro area—and then into the Chesapeake Bay. Thus, the Interfaith Greenway is an important link in the 1972 Clean Water Act-mandated effort to clean up the Bay.

A watershed is an area of land through which a common set of streams and rivers drain into a single body of water.  Locate your home in the Cabin John Creek watershed and find more information about the Greenway’s relationship to watersheds here.

THE INTERFAITH GREENWAY

IS PART OF THE SOLUTION

A PLAN FOR CONSERVATION

The trees, shrubs and perennials in the Greenway are native to the mid-Atlantic region, well-adapted to our local climate, soil, insects and microorganisms. Their deep roots prevent soil erosion and absorb excess water, helping them tolerate periodic inundations as well as droughts. The wide variety of plant species growing here supports a healthy local environment, including a tightly interdependent food web. The region’s birds, frogs and lizards eat the insects that hatch and grow only on such indigenous plants. Find a list of all plants  in the garden, additional information about conservation gardening and explore the rich biodiversity of Maryland

SEE THE GARDEN IN ACTION

The Interfaith Greenway flows through several microclimates, from shady woodland edge to sunny meadow. Visitors can journey through the garden on the Sensory Trail or relax and learn in several gathering places. The garden educates community groups of all ages and backgrounds on the latest environmental practices. Bring your group for a guided tourFind curriculum resources for your group here.

HOW IT WORKS: BENEATH THE SURFACE

A layer of coarse gravel beneath the garden’s paths creates space to hold water while it is slowly absorbed by the plant roots in the surrounding soil and into the subsoil below. The Interfaith Greenway contains several drywells (see section view below) capable of holding many gallons of water. The soil and crushed gravel filter the water as it drips through, and the plants are nourished by the nitrogen and phosphorus that would have polluted the creek. The plants also take up and hold atmospheric carbon dioxide, moderating climate change.

 

TRY THIS AT HOME

The Interfaith Greenway is part of a growing network of environmental landscapes, known as RainScapes, created at homes, businesses and institutions across Montgomery County. For information on how your property can become part of this network and qualify for a rebate on the associated costs, visit RainScapes.org.  

 

MORE FUN FACTS:

For more detailed information, click here

Interfaith Greenway Naming Opportunities

Contact Information

 

Mon, March 18 2019 11 Adar II 5779