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Michigan Church Reclaims Land


Jenna Kennedy strongly believes in caring for the earth as part of her Christian witness.

Jenna Kennedy working on a land reclamation project.
Greg Chandler

So after her church, EverGreen Ministries in Hudsonville, Mich., completed a building expansion project, the Calvin College student approached church leaders about doing a project to return some of the land south of the sanctuary to its native dry-prairie state.

“We often neglect to realize that our relationship with creation has been affected by sin, and we should work to renew that relationship,” said Kennedy, 20, a biology major at Calvin.

Kennedy worked with Nate Haan and Calvin professor Dave Warners to design the project, which involved replacing invasive species with native grasses and wildflowers such as little bluestem, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, and wild columbine.

“We have a lot of space here that isn’t being used for anything,” said Kennedy. “We decided if we could have more variety in plants, it would be more useful to creation.”

About 30 church members, including members of EverGreen’s high school youth group, turned out on a cool Saturday morning to join Kennedy in planting seedlings.

“We care about the environment. We care about community. It’s a different way of showing care for God’s creation,” said Jodi Cole Meyer, the church’s director of arts and outreach. “Our hope is to start with a small plot, and eventually grow to encompass as much of the unused land as we can maintain.”

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