Jewish retreat centre continues commitment to preserving nature
Pearlstone Retreat Center, a member of Faith Plans partner Hazon, is restoring a 1,300-foot length of stream as part of an exciting wetlands restoration project in Maryland, USA.
The aim is to redirect, re-grade and re-plant the stream, both to reduce erosion and to improve ecological function.
The project, which is being carried out by specialised ecological restoration company Ecotone Inc, also incorporates two natural mikvahs. These are pools which are typically filled by springs or naturally sourced water. They are used for immersion prior to marriage or conversion to Judaism and for many other traditions in various Jewish communities.
Wooden structures were used at bends in the stream to create these deep, natural pools, and strategically-placed large rock structures were built to provide natural seating areas around the mikvahs, for both ceremonial and leisure use.
The restoration not only preserves a natural landscape, but also provides a means for people to develop a deep connection with the land and the environment.
The natural channel design re-aligns the stream to reduce stream velocities and shear stresses on channel banks by allowing the water to exit the channel efficiently and spread out on the floodplain.
One of Pearlstone’s core tenets is caring for life, which includes caring for the earth and fostering a responsible and sustainable relationship with the land. The Pearlstone campus features an organic farm, retreat center, events space, and a substantial area dedicated solely to natural habitat.
The Center holds workshops and courses open to the public to learn from its eco-stewardship experts on the land, water and other natural resources. The Center hopes that the stream restoration will allow the creek and wetlands to become more accessible to visitors and serve as an additional way for everyone to learn more about water and the role it plays in our health.
The Pearlstone campus programmes aim to enable and inspire vibrant Jewish life. Pearlstone engages Jewish, faith-based and secular organisations, individuals and families. It serves all ages and backgrounds throughout Baltimore, the Chesapeake region and beyond.
For more information, visit their website: https://www.pearlstonecenter.org/