Connecting Community, Congregation and Climate Change
CrossPoint Christian Reformed Church sits near the corner of Steeles Ave W and McLaughlin Rd S in Brampton. Fletcher’s Creek runs along the north side of the 1.3 hectare (3.2 acre) property, surrounded by large deciduous trees, riparian plants and the Peelton Park trails. The location of the property in relation to the creek makes it an ideal site for sustainable landscaping projects that protect water quality, enhance wildlife habitat and improve the community.
Community is at the heart of CrossPoint’s mission. Enhancing the landscape to improve neighbourhood environmental health was a natural fit. Having already planted a pollinator garden with our Greening Corporate Grounds (GCG) program in 2019, CrossPoint was one of the first organizations to be invited to participate in CVC’s Community Tree Project.
The Community Tree Project, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada, was launched in Brampton in 2021 . It works at the neighbourhood level to build resilience to climate change and reduce heat island effect by planting trees in the community and on public and private property.
CVC’s Deborah Kenley reached out to CrossPoint to participate. “Knowing their property and their commitment to improving the ecological health of the property,” says Kenley, “I knew the project was a great fit and that they would be eager to get involved.”
We worked with Crosspoint to identify opportunities and create a sustainable landscaping action plan. The church’s proximity to the creek made a rain garden project a good choice. Run-off from the roof will be redirected into the garden where it will naturally soak into the soil. “A rain garden helps to protect the creek and water quality by absorbing stormwater and filtering pollutants from run-off,” says Brendan Gallant, Greening Corporate Grounds Specialist. “We also planted a number of native plant species that are easy to grow and create vital habitat.”
Eight volunteers including four youth took on the project. Together, they planted over 130 native plants including herbaceous species like cardinal flower, wild columbine and blue vervain, shrubs like common ninebark and smooth rose, and trees like paper birch and white pine.
The native trees and shrubs will support biodiversity by providing food and shelter to local wildlife, as well as build climate change resilience by capturing carbon and cooling our communities. The gardens will also provide a space for members and staff to connect with each other and to nature.
“Neighbours see that our church cares. Not just about going to church, but that we care about God’s creation. It looks good on Christians,” says Pastor Grift. “Come spring, our staff plan to eat our lunches by the rain garden with the hope of connecting with our neighbours and those passing by.”
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