The earth is the Goddess, in all her feminine and receptive energy. Her direction is North. The Pentacle and a bowl of salt are her tools. Her colors are green, yellow, brown, black, and her season: is Winter. The Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn are earth signs.
Earth energy is grounding, bringing us back to the present moment when all else might be up in chaos.
The Earth is the foundation of our lives, as it is both our home and our source of sustenance. The Earth Element is ever-present and highly versatile, manifesting as both soil and seed, and witnessed in the eternal rhythms of growth, harvest, decay, and regeneration.
Earth is represented by the diverse topographical features found all over the planet, including forests, fields, caves, rocks, valleys, and gardens. This “classical” Element is associated with abundance, prosperity, and strength.
Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Nettle is a superb nourishing food and has beneficial actions on many parts of the body including the urinary tract, liver, digestive tract, reproductive system, and respiratory system. Known as an overall nourisher and strengthener, stinging nettle leaf is full of vitamins and minerals most notably magnesium, calcium, iron, and protein.
Harvesting stinging nettle at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat was such a learning experience. I used gloves to hold the nettles while I cut them, however I still got stung.
I learned when brushed by the nettle, its best to leave the area alone so it will sting less. If you touch the area a lot, it rubs the sting into your skin more and lasts longer! I got a few welts and a rash from where the nettle touched me above the gloves! It went completely away within 12 hours.
Nettle’s sting, however, reminds us to value our gifts just as we must honor and protect our work if we are to remain healthy. With her sting, she asks us to recognize and honor the worth of what she gives; if you’re willing to brave the sting to gain her treasure, you’re more likely to value what you have taken.
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The leaves are great examples of how each of us is different and on a different journey.
Each leaf is unique as it grows and thrives connected to the tree, but that’s not all that makes a leaf unique. Once the leaf has completed the cycle of growth, it begins its journey back down to the ground.
Watching a leaf fall from a tree, at the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forum, I realized how each leaf is different in the way they fall as well.
Each leaf has its own way of returning to the roots. Each person has their own path that allows them to come back to realizing who they are and their place on this earth.
When we experience this connection to earth, we become its stewarts and will to protect and preserve this beautiful planet.
The 14th annual Chesapeake Bay Watershed Forum was full of passion, inspiration and excellence, reminding us why we do what we do to take care of the water and the land.
Mamie A. Parker was the keynote speaker at the forum, and she was so inspiring. She spoke about how we as advocates, educators and stewarts of the watershed, can overcome obstacles to keep going and to keep growing. One of the big takeaways was eliminating the 4 C’s from our thoughts and speech: complaining, criticizing, comparing, and competing. When we do those 4 things, we really separate ourselves from one another and therefore can not grow and succeed.
We have to do it together, as a team; If you want to go fast, go alone… if you want to go far, go together.
Our first step towards helping the Bay is collaboration.
“Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean.” -Sylvia Earle
One of the sessions I attended at the forum was called Spiritual Voices in Nature. We walked through the woods with four faith leaders. Each leading the way back to nature through their own individual ceremony. It was an amazing experience to be in nature, listening to one another share our connection to the earth and spirit; something that I wish to be involved in more this year.
My second year at the forum taught me many new things! Live staking is when you cut branches from trees and stake them in the ground which triggers hormones to make the branch root and bud!
I learned about the importance of all aspects of our community working together for the good of the earth! The port of Baltimore works closely with the community to help handle the dredge material in an environmentally beneficial way for the whole community, through the creation of Masonville Cove. Located in South Baltimore, Masonville Cove is the nation’s first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, and home to a state-of-the-art green building nature center and beautiful waterfront public trails.
The forum also had many wonderful interactive art activities. One of which is called the Climate Ribbon Project! The Climate Ribbon is an arts ritual to grieve what each of us stands to lose if we do not take care of our earth, and affirm our solidarity as we unite.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to represent BCPS and Ridgely at the Watershed Forum, and to learn new things to share with others!
This years Earth Love Festival at Amethyst Retreat Center in Duncannon Pennsylvania was a beautiful demonstration of community, collaboration, and love.
Nicole Sharkey is the visionary who thought of this beautiful festival 3 years ago, and has since turned it into an amazing opportunity for all, to gather and to heal.
The Earth Love festival grew out of my desire to experience and share joy, forge connections in our community, and understand different perspectives on how to live in harmony with each other and the Earth.
The Earth Love festival is my way of sharing my gifts to create beauty.
I hope you will join me as the Earth Love festival evolves into its second year.
Thank you Nicole Erin Sharkey for following through with your beautiful vision and leading by example… when we are compelled to create something, we should let go and follow through with actions to manifest our deepest desires.
Thank you Pat McCabe, Susquehanna Alchemy, and Sarah Poet for facilitating such a safe space for communion and vulnerability. The stories you shared, the passions you have and how they all intertwined with our now, was a beautiful synchronicity, balance and flow to be witness to and apart of… thank you for helping me to remember the romance.
I am so grateful for all of you.
Amethyst Retreat Center is a space for all who wish to find peace and love within the land, and their community. During this event there was a pretty intense storm that damaged a few vendors tents and products, as well as one of Amethyst’s new event tents. Please consider donating to the retreat center to help keep the space beautiful and available for new and exciting events!
In honor of Earth day this year, I did all recycled material activities for our recent Arts in Action community event. In my room people were able to create sculptures from recycled materials like plastic containers and old toys.
Another station was to use plastic bottles to make flowers which were then glued to old paint brushes to be used in an installation piece on the hill by our bus loop.
Guests could also help glue down pieces of recycled plastic in order to fill three murals in the shapes of the Chesapeake Bay, a recycling sign, and the earth!
There was so much more happening during the event in other art rooms! Mrs. Grace had Draw and Dine station, and Ms. Kambic created a “Paint like Picasso” station!
1,000 students had artwork hanging in the show!
Down in the office lobby our musicians were showing off their talents as well!
A HUGE thank you to Michelle Dress, Lara Grace, Caitlin Kambic, and Anne Scott
for their amazing effort and awesome ideas!
I am so grateful to work with such amazing people!
6th graders went outside and created nature mandalas with our student teacher Anne Scott, which were inspired by Morning Altars artist Day Schildkret…
I have quite an unusual mission: To make impermanent earth art every day. Ever since I was five years old, I have been creating art with the flowers, leaves, berries, and bark right outside my front door. This has always been a way for me to feel connected, both to my imagination and the whole earth. About five years ago, after a big break-up with my partner, I started this as a daily mindfulness practice to heal my heart, help me feel gratitude, connect with the earth and make meaning in my life. However, this art wanted to have a life of its own. Over the last decade, I have created over a thousand small and large earth installations that have inspired an international movement of people to get outside and make earth art. I even have a book coming out this October! And, here’s the unique thing: Every single piece of art I have made no longer exists and that is its power: Learning how ephemeral life truly is and to love what is here right now.
Students watched a video where Day describes a little about the process of morning altars and how it can transform our perspective. Then we went outside and walked the land to gather our own natural elements. We also provided the students with flowers, beans and strings. My student teacher lead the students to create group nature mandalas!
This was such an awesome day for this assignment. The sun was shining and it felt like spring. The outdoor classroom tables and benches that were created by George Washington Carver Center for the Arts students created were the perfect place for the groups to work.
Each team member of the group had to direct a specific ring of the mandala, sharing with the students how to place the materials. I found that a few groups decided on all rings together, while others really stuck to the one ring per person.
When it was time to clean up, the students were sad and disappointed that they had to clean up their mandala. Taking a picture of their mandalas before they cleaned them, seemed to relieve their anxiety of having to disassemble it.
This year my green club students wrote proposals for a contest called Caring for our Watershed,
Turning ideas into environmental solutions!
The CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS program asks students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and draft a written proposal containing one realistic solution. Community judges select the top entries to compete at a final, verbal competition for cash prizes.
There were three proposals written and submitted, each part of a large project to turn our old ‘glen” area into an inviting and restorative outdoor classroom. The Glen area is a large wooded area that is surrounded by our school and looks out over our athletic fields. This area has 8 benches that are worn down and torn apart. My students see that there is so much potential in this beautiful space.
We heard back from the company this week and we were not a finalist, however we did win $500 towards our ideas! This is so exciting because the projects are coming together on their own. Ridgely’s awesome assistant principal Matt Rosati has volunteered to build our bluebird boxes, and a couple salad tables, and now we have money towards starting our next step to completing our projects!
In addition to receiving $500 for our student project, we were invited to the Student Environmental Action Showcase on April 23rd, 2019 at George Mason University Center for the Arts from 10AM-2PM to participate in their poster presentation, network with peers, and participate in activities throughout the showcase.
There is also an opportunity to have funds matched for projects up to $1000!
I am so excited to see what we accomplish in the coming year!