The National Wildlife Federation

Donate Donate
}

Create

Sacred Grounds™

Planting rain garden at Baltimore church, Carolyn MillardAcross a beautiful mosaic of diverse beliefs and denominations, many places of worship share a deep spiritual commitment to steward the Earth in responsible and life-sustaining ways.   

These groups are leading the way to create wildlife habitat and educate others in environmental practices. As respected community leaders, and also often large property owners, they are uniquely positioned to inspire their congregation members, neighboring congregations, and the greater interfaith community to advance stewardship practices. In fact, close to 800 places of worship have taken the first step in creating rain gardens, pollinator gardens, meditation spaces, healing gardens, and outdoor education spaces as Certified Wildlife Habitat® spaces. These direct habitat efforts have replaced acres of turf grass with native plants, implemented storm water runoff strategies, and planted trees to increase carbon sequestration and improve air quality.

Sacred Grounds™ congregations go a step further, and not only sustain National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat® spaces on their communal property, but also engage their congregants in creating habitat at home while advancing faith stewardship practices community-wide. 

The Sacred Grounds™ program creates a unique space for praise and celebration of nature’s wonders and empowers congregations of all faiths to connect to the Earth by gardening for wildlife and studying the teachings and texts of their faiths. As a result, people, the planet, and spiritual foundations flourish.

Sacred Grounds™ Program Elements

Sacred Grounds™ faith communities begin the process with the creation of a Certified Wildlife Habitat®, which will improve the health of wildlife and human communities at their place of worship and in their local community. These habitats can be a small garden space, rain garden, or larger property area that incorporates native plants to provide birds, butterflies, and other wildlife with food, water, cover, and places to raise their young. Key co-benefits of creating wildlife habitat and “greening” congregation grounds can include improving water quality by managing stormwater runoff, improving air quality by planting more trees (thereby reducing air pollution), providing opportunities for kids to connect with nature, and creating natural sacred spaces for reflection and prayer. In total the actions to achieve each of the following are requirements to be designated as a Sacred Grounds™ congregation:

  • Creating and sustaining a Certified Wildlife Habitat® at place of worship
  • Leadership integrating faith and environmental conservation into religious activities
  • Educating and engaging the congregation to participate at home and in shared faith activities
  • Connecting and advocating for these practices in the greater community

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Sacred Grounds™ congregation, please contact sacredgrounds@nwf.org.