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Ventures in Caring for Mother Nature
Trenching for the Bamboo Control Project
Trenching for the Bamboo Control Project

In 2020, as a result of COVID shelter-in-place measures, GreenFriends DC was only able to complete one group project. With the help of AYUDH, we undertook the Bamboo Control Project to protect the ashram garden from the spread of invasive bamboo from the neighbor’s property. The project was labor-intensive and involved the use of a "ditch witch", a trench digging machine, as well as lots of hand labor, to create an underground barrier that protects against the spread of invasive bamboo. This underground barrier protects the ashram garden by preventing the spread of invasive bamboo onto the ashram property.

In the fall, GreenFriends DC did a Serve Nature Project, during which individuals cleaned up litter from public areas near their own neighborhoods. Over an eight week period, we cleaned up and collected 18.25 kitchen-size trash bags of litter.

Some of the plastic trash picked up during the Serve Nature Project
Some of the plastic trash picked up during the Serve Nature Project

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Inspired by Amma’s teachings on Nature Care, MACDC residents and local devotees share their stories of organic vegetable gardening, tree planting, recycling and composting, and more!
    "I am an ashram resident and have helped with the ashram garden. This year, residents asked for a garden, and our ashram gardener shared space with us. Amma’s encouragement to grow our own vegetables has always been on my mind. Since this was my first gardening experience, I began with one crop: greens. I planted seeds for a kind of turnip greens, in which only the leaf is edible. Since the ashram was already composting, I used that compost. With Amma’s Grace the greens grew nicely, and I ate them all summer!" - Praseetaa Young

    "While I was in recovery from a health-related surgery, I weeded the garden and discovered many volunteer plants (those plants that grow from seeds that have been left in the ground from last year’s garden or from the compost which has been applied to the garden).

    "I transplanted about 20 volunteer long bean plants in one bed and found many volunteer red spinach plants which I transplanted to another bed. There were also many tomato plants, which I transplanted to sunny areas. It turned out that there were four different kinds of tomatoes: cherry, multicolored grape, round large, and oval large.

    "Now that it’s cold out, I am growing many plants inside add: the ashram to decorate the altar, to provide a natural indoor air cleaner, and to grace our living space. I believe we all have had a loving learning experience through our gardening activities. I want to thank Amma for giving us this wonderful garden to play with this year." - Gunavati Miller

Snow
Anagha hanging squash
Beans and tomatoes
Harvested beans and tomatoes
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    "I have been nurturing a garden plot with a friend this summer, and maintaining garden boxes in my windows. Growing vegetables and flowers, and for the first time starting my plants from seed inside. I have enjoyed taking abandoned or discarded plants, reviving them, and sharing them with others. The focus for 2021 is rebuilding the garden dirt!" - Caroline Mitchell

    "My contribution to Mother Nature this year includes: picking up bags of litter." - Spirit Madden

    "I have recycled since childhood and used reusable bags for more than a decade (I can’t remember how long). I walk everywhere possible, so I use my car less than 2000 miles a year under normal circumstances; this year, because of COVID-19, I have hardly driven. During COVID-19 I have made new best friends forever…. I would go for a walk in the woods every day, to see these lovely orange fungi, which I found at two opposite ends of the woods. When they turned black and died, I was so very disappointed. Nonetheless, I found other BFFs to visit and photograph. You could say that I am One with them." - Jyotiaatma Finesilver

    "My parents have cultivated a vegetable and flower garden at our home." - Anagha Sreevals

    "Inspired by GreenFriend's efforts and Amma’s direction, I have started picking up other people’s trash when I go on my walks around my neighborhood. I am trying to leave it looking better for the people who come next and to prevent the trash from ending up in the drainage system.

    "I discovered that my town has a city-wide food composting program. I now collect my food waste in a plastic bag in my freezer. When I have a goodly amount, I take it to the compost bins, dump the contents and bring the plastic bag back home to wash and reuse.

    "I carry reusable bags with me to the grocery store and all other stores!

    "I put my produce in the plastic bags that my grapes come in (there are no bag-free grapes available at my grocery store!). I save the grape bags, wash and dry them and then use them to put my fruit and other produce in when I am shopping. That way at least I am not using an additional plastic bag to put my produce in. “I continue to limit my water usage as much as possible. For example, I keep my used dishwashing water to pre-soak my dishes. The pre-soak allows me to make much more use of my fresh dishwashing water.

    "In the summer, I harvested the water from my dehumidifier and used it to water my plants. I would love to have an outdoor garden, but my landlord hasn’t been too keen on that as yet. Perhaps that will change in 2021!" - Martha Miller

    "More than a century ago, nearly four billion American Chestnut trees were growing in the eastern U.S. They were among the largest, tallest, and fastest-growing trees. The wood was rot-resistant, straight-grained, and suitable for furniture, fencing, and building. The nuts fed billions of wildlife, people and their livestock. Almost a perfect tree until a blight fungus killed it when the Chinese Chestnut trees were introduced to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. The chestnut blight has been called the greatest ecological disaster to strike the world’s forests in all of history. The American chestnut tree survived all adversaries for 40 million years, then disappeared within 40.

    "The American Chestnut Foundation, founded in 1983, has been working to develop blight resistant American Chestnut trees and to begin to plant them in their former native range. In the spirit of Amma's teachings to plant trees, and wanting to help revive the American Chestnut, we got seeds from the American Chestnut Foundation and sprouted them over a three year period. We planted 14 small saplings in our field. We’re hoping some of them will survive and grow into full trees." - Ken and Wendy Steben

    "For right now and since COVID, I compost regularly in partnership with my neighborhood garden, I had a balcony garden in the summer and fall with plants and herbs. I participated in the MA Center DC ashram trash collecting project. I continue to pick up trash in my neighborhood during my walks." - Anaswara Breslin

GreenFriends thanks all the devotees who shared their activities and photos with us. So many ideas inspire us to find ways, in 2021, to support Amma’s request that we care for Nature!

Amma says, "Everything in God’s creation has a purpose and a benefit, whatever it is. There is a use for everything, whether it is a dog, a cat, or a hen. No matter if it is an animal or a plant, there is a purpose behind its creation. Even if human beings do not have any use for something, other creatures do. The harmony of Nature depends on all things that have been created." - Awaken Children, Vol. 3, p.76

MA Center, DC

Orange mushrooms
Orange mushrooms
Chestnut orchard
Chestnut orchard

Read Turtle Stories Part II from the Q1 2021 newsletter >>

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