Gabe LePage

Gabe LePage

2021 Urban Fellow

Research Topic: Socio-cultural and Ecological Interactions

Faculty Advisor: Morgan Grove

Urban Ecology and Faith Practices at Stillmeadow Community Fellowship Church

In October 2020, a small church in southwest Baltimore announced its forested property as the Stillmeadow PeacePark. Stillmeadow Community Fellowship has partnered with city and environmental agencies to steward their 9.5-acres of forested property for the common good in a way that works to build trust between community members and government and non-profit institutions and across social divisions. This paper reflects on the quality of relationships and social process of the church to build culture in a way that promotes ecosystem services, especially the cultural serves of sense of place and belonging. The paper traces some of the theoretical background at work in the church and lays out 9 building blocks for others to replicate their approach. Other organizations and communities can mimic Stillmeadow’s approach to landscape stewardship and to social relationships to build trust across divisions of race, class, and religion, to increase local senses of place and belonging and increase disaster resilience.