Swan View Uniting Church wins environmental award

Swan View Uniting Church was recognised for its community garden and environmental efforts on Sunday 30 October in a special service and celebration.

The church was recognised with a Five Leaf Eco-Awards Basic Certificate for their water saving native garden; solar hot water system and solar photovoltaic panels; community green waste collection, chipping and compost program; educating their church and community about gardening, compost and sustainability; and their community garden, which was established in partnership with the Swan View Community Association.

Five Leaf Eco-Awards founder Jessica Morthorpe visited Swan View Uniting Church to present the award to Neil Butcher and Rosemary Smith, who were representing the church and community garden, and to congratulate the congregation on their achievements. This presentation makes them the 9th church in Western Australia to achieve a Five Leaf Eco-Award and the 26th in Australia, with many more working towards completing the criteria.

“The Swan View Community Garden is truly impressive, and has previously been recognised with several grants and awards,” Jessica said.

“It hosts a thriving collection of fruit trees and all sorts of vegetables, all planted in a variety of recycled garden beds, including fridges, bathtubs and old water tanks. Water is recycled through the garden to reduce waste and shade cloth has just gone up to protect budding strawberries.

“Produce grown in the garden is donated to the local Salvation Army Foodbank to provide a healthier diet for disadvantaged people in the area. Local children also sometimes visit to learn about composting, and the garden has played host to a pilot therapy project helping children develop speech and motor skills in the garden environment.

“It is a credit to all involved and a stunning example of what community projects like this can achieve.”

The Five Leaf Eco-Awards are a national ecumenical environmental change initiative that assists, inspires and rewards churches and religious organisations for environmental action. There are currently six awards of varying difficulty available.

“Christian eco-theology and teaching on the environment make it very clear that caring for creation is a vital priority for the church,” Jessica said.

Neil Butcher is a member of Swan View Uniting Church, and was involved in some of their environmental projects. He said they have provided a great way for the church to get to know their local community.

“It’s part of our outreach in terms of reaching out to our community in Swan View,” Neil said.

“Its brought part of the community and the church together which is a good thing. That’s our mission within Christianity; is to be in the community and a caring force within the community.

“We’re very honoured to get the award. The plaque will be put in a prominent place in the church.”

Rev Ken Williams, past moderator of the Uniting Church WA, assisted with the presentation. Also present was Daniel Parasiliti, councillor for Midland and Guildford Ward in the City of Swan; Nigel Hayward from Catholic Earthcare and the National Energy Efficiency Project; and visitors from other Perth churches.

The Swan View Community Garden has been funded through multiple community grant schemes, with sponsors including the Shire of Mundaring, Open Gardens Australia, Midland Brick, Elite Limestone, Waterquip Pty Ltd, the Government of Western Australia Waste Authority, the Swan View Community Association and Swan View Uniting Church.

For more information about how to get involved in the Swan View Community Garden visit http://swanviewunitingchurch.com/garden.htm

For more information about the Five Leaf Eco-Awards, visit https://fiveleafecoawards.org

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