Tropical Leaves


The Green Sanctuary Ministry Team is committed to building awareness of environmental issues and generating an interest for personal lifestyle changes among our fellow UUs as well as the general community. Its members strive to build a sustainable world as well as a connection between spiritual practice and environmental consciousness.

Spring Bird Walk
Spring Bird Walk
Wildflower planting
Wildflower planting
Annual Winter Bird Walk
Annual Winter Bird Walk
The White Family (Elden, Arden and Nuala) on (and off!) the Danvers Rail Trail.
GSMT members hike the Forest River trail.
June 29, 2022


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The Green Sanctuary Ministry Team announced this spring that they were planting a native tree in Swampscott to honor Toni Bandrowicz, long-time member and former Chair of the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team, for her stewardship of the earth, and her long and inspiring leadership of the GSMT. A red oak was planted in early June at Swampscott Middle School to honor Toni.


"A heartfelt thanks to everyone in Green Sanctuary for the lovely tree that you had planted in my name at the Middle School. I drove over to the school with Dave, my son, and we both admired how delightful it looked. I look forward to watching it grow and mature over the years. It will be a reminder of all we accomplished as we went about affirming the UU Seventh principle - and all the fun we had doing so. I’m proud of our environmental accomplishments, but the best part of Green Sanctuary for me has been the friendships that were formed, friendships that I hope will continue on long into the future.


I think the environmental movement is going to go through a tough time in upcoming years, but I feel hopeful knowing there are people like you, and groups like Green Sanctuary, that are committed to building a more sustainable and “greener” world.


All the best, Toni


Friendship is a sheltering tree.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge"

May 5, 2022



Saturday, May 14th | 9am

Our annual Spring Bird Walk will be on May 14th at the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary on Risley Road in Marblehead. We will meet at Risley Road to begin the walk promptly at 9am. Go HERE for details and links.

Children accompanied by parents/guardians are most welcome. No pets, and no bikes or cycles.

Due to COVID, the event will be limited to 25 people. Social distancing and masks will be mandatory. Please do not carpool unless you live in the same household.

Register HERE

October 23, 2021



Tuesday, November 9th | 7pm



Join us to learn more about the intersections of climate change, heat, and health in the Greater Boston Area with Melanie Gárate from the Mystic River Watershed Association. The Mystic River watershed faces disproportionate impacts from climate change. Climate vulnerabilities are largely separated by the exposure, sensitivity and the ability to bounce back from an extreme weather event. How did we get there? What are the root causes? And how can we move forward in a just and equitable way? This talk is cosponsored by the Swampscott Conservancy, the Town of Swampscott Conservation Commission and the Swampscott Library.


Melanie Gárate is the Climate Resiliency Project Manager for the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). She started her career as a marine scientist examining how people impact climate change. At MyRWA, Melanie works with municipal CEOs, grassroots organizations, public health officials, and local residents in the Boston area to understand who the most vulnerable populations are during and after extreme weather and ways the municipalities within the watershed can work collectively to enhance climate equity and resilience.

Register HERE

September 16, 2021


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Thursday, September 30th | 7pm

Join us for this virtual workshop presented by the Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) as the Senior Program Manager Rev. Vernon K. Walker will present how extreme weather is impacting Swampscott and surrounding areas and what residents can do to prepare for it now and in the future. This event is part of CREW's Climate Prep Week and co-sponsored by the Swampscott Conservancy, Swampscott Library, Town of Swampscott Conservation Commission, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn.

Rev. Walker is the Senior Program Manager for Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW). CREW is a network of local leaders building grassroots climate resilience through inclusive & hands-on education, service, and planning. Learn more:


More info HERE.

Register HERE

May 11, 2021



The best way to enjoy Spring is to get outside — and that’s just what several UUCGL members did on a recent Saturday morning in May. Lead by John Benson, the group went to the Marblehead Wildlife Sanctuary for the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team’s annual Spring bird walk.  After a long winters rest, the sanctuary was alive with new growth — White Wood Anemone, Trout Lily, Serviceberry (or Shadbush), Crabapple, Wild Oats (or Sessile-leaved Bellwort), and Highbush Blueberry. Birds that the group either saw or heard  included American Goldfinch, Catbird, Robin, Wrens (possibly House as well as Carolina), (Downy) Woodpecker, Blue Jay, (Fish) Crow, and Tufted Titmouse.  There is much more to see as the seasons progress.... so do visit this magical place throughout the year!

April 5, 2021


Image by Matt Hoffman

May 1st | 10am-12pm | UUCGL

The Green Sanctuary Ministry Team, supported by The Swampscott Conservancy, invite you to participate in a Native Wildflower Planting around our church!

Family groups and individuals are welcome to join in planting native wildflowers on church property on either side of a pathway in the woods.

Social distancing and masks will be required.

Additional Information will be sent to participants after they register. People should register with their family group so we can group them together. Please register early as we are limiting the event to 30 people. If you have questions, please contact Jim Olivetti or Jeannette McGinn.

Rain Date: May 2nd | 1pm-3pm

101 Forest Ave., Swampscott (meet in the front parking lot)


March 18, 2021



It was a breezy and bracing Saturday morning but that didn’t prevent a hardy group of UUCGL members and friends from venturing out to the shores of Nahant for the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team’s annual Winter Bird Walk. Led by John Benson the group spied a much hardier group of winter avian visitors bobbing in the chilly surf — including Red Breasted Mergansers, Goldeneyes, Loons, Black Scoters, Common Eiders, Brants and Buffleheads. These seabirds spend most of the year as far north as the Arctic but come down to Massachusetts for the winter so the time to see them is now.  After a year of the COVID lockdown it felt invigorating to be outdoors and see friends live and not on a screen — masked and socially distanced of course. The Green Sanctuary Ministry Team will be hosting another bird walk on Saturday, May 8th at Audubon’s Marblehead Neck Wildlife Bird Sanctuary, a haven for migratory birds, especially Warblers, during the spring migration. We hope you can join us!  

March 10, 2021



Interfaith Climate Crisis Presentations

March 31 & April 7 | 7-8pm | Online


Learn about the ways you can be empowered to help


Moderated by Dick Prouty, Chair of TownGreen2025

Co-sponsored by First Congregational Church of Rockport; Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church; Temple Ahavat Achim, Gloucester; Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly; Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn; Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport


Register for One Session or Both:

Session 1

Climate Justice: The Climate Crisis and its Impact on Health 

with Peter Digre

Wednesday, March 31, 7-8 pm


Pete Digre is a member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Corps



Session 2

How I Reduced My Carbon Footprint in 20 Steps 

with Denny Dart

Wednesday, April 7, 7-8 pm


Denny Dart is an Environmental Engineer and Climate Activist 


Questions? Please contact Sam Silverman or Ruth Budelmann.


January 28, 2021



Walden Warming: The Effects of Climate Change on the Plants and Animals of Thoreau's Concord



Tuesday, February 9 – 6:30pm

Richard Primack, Professor of Biology, Boston University

Virtual Webinar via Zoom - Co-sponsored by UUCGL


Henry David Thoreau was a climate change scientist! For the past 17 years, Professor Richard Primack and his team have been using Thoreau’s records from the 1850s and other Massachusetts data sources to document the earlier flowering and leafing out times of plants, the earlier flight times of butterflies, and the more variable response of migratory birds. Most noteworthy, plants in Concord are also changing in abundance due to a warming climate. This work has received extensive media coverage as an example of the biological effects of climate change, and is now being extended to the neglected autumn season. What would Thoreau tell us to do about global warming if he were alive today? Click here for more details and to register.

November 25, 2020


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The Green Sanctuary Ministry Team invites you and your family to go take a hike and share photos of your adventure with the congregation. Email photos here and they'll be posted in the Weekly Update.


Read more here!

June 11, 2020



The Story of More — How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren

Join the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team in a church-wide book read related to the theme of climate change. We’ll read The Story of More — How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here, by Hope Jahren (author of Lab Girl). We’ll discuss in person or via Zoom on Friday, August 7, at 7 pm. It is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.

In The Story of More, Jahren illuminates the link between human habits and our imperiled planet. In concise, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions – from electric power to large-scale farming to automobiles – that, even as they help us, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere like never before. She explains the current and projected consequences of global warming – from superstorms to rising sea levels – and the actions that we all can take to fight back.

April 17, 2020



April 22nd of this year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Big plans were in the works. There would be worldwide events with mass gatherings in the streets, parks, and public halls.  It was, after all, the Golden Anniversary of Earth Day. A day to commemorate 50 years of honoring this fragile spinning orb we call home. But a worldwide pandemic canceled all the grand plans.


There were still worldwide events but they were largely virtual (as with everything else in our lives these days). While we can be disappointed that we were unable to assemble together in the streets, parks, and public halls on the actual date as 20 million in the U.S. did on that first Earth Day in 1970, we should keep in mind, as the expression goes, that “Every Day is Earth Day.”  

So, join in on the digital events celebrating this Earth Day 2020 but also consider coming up with a plan on how you and your family will continue celebrating Earth Day every day throughout the year. This isn’t hard to do given the many on-line suggestions and given that we all seem have a little extra time lately to browse the Internet.  Bring Earth Day into your home this year, and make it something personal.  We think Barney, the Purple Dinosaur, said it all in a song:

Think about the deep blue seas / Think about the plants and trees

Think about the things you see every day / Think about the way you live

Think about the things you give / and what if every day was Earth Day?

Hey!  Every day is Earth Day! / Wherever we roam / the earth is our home

(now that’s someone we never thought we’d be quoting)


Stay Safe and Healthy,

The Green Sanctuary Ministry Team

May 18, 2022



Saturday, June 4th | 10am-12pm

Come join us to dig in the soil and plant the seeds that will bear fruit to feed a community.  Arrive at Newhall Fields Community Farm in Peabody ready to share this experience with neighbors and friends while you explore and dig, plant and weed in the herb garden and vegetable rows on our two-acre plot at Tillie’s Farm. Please bring your own snacks, lunch, and lots of water to drink.


How to sign up: Visit the farm’s SignUpGenius calendar page, check Sign Up for the UUCGL GSMT slot on  6/4/22 and  you will receive a confirmation email with additional information.  


Location: Newhall Fields Community Farm, 193 Lynn Street, Peabody, MA 01960. Behind Tillie's Farm Stand - Walk down the path to the left of the large greenhouse.


Parking: Lynn Street is a good place to park.  Please do not park directly in front of the Farm Stand or in the Tillie’s Farmstand  parking lot. We will leave that open for Tillie’s customers who are coming and going.


Mission: Newhall Fields Community Farm strengthens the community by creating access to healthy food through sustainable agriculture, volunteer-powered farming, and outdoor education. 


Sponsored by: the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team and Newhall Fields Community Farm


NOTE: Rain date is Saturday, June 11, 10:00am – 12:00pm



February 10, 2022



Saturday, March 12th | 8:30am

It's time for the UUCGL Winter Bird Walk! We will meet in Nahant at the big parking lot across the street from the Life Saving Station (not at the LSS's own parking lot) at 8:30am. At 8:45 we'll "caravan" to the usual locations (Marginal Road, Forty Steps Beach, East Point, the Audubon Thicket, the Town Wharf, and possibly elsewhere, time and inclination permitting). 


• Public Safety will be notified in advance, and we will provide yellow "permit" notices for non-residents to place in their windshields. 

• Covid restrictions apply (masks, social distancing). 

• Children who are able to walk for over an hour are welcome but only if accompanied and supervised by a parent or other responsible adult family member. 

• Bring binoculars if you have them!


Group size is limited to 25. In case of cancellation an email will be sent to registrants at the email address you provided.

Register HERE

October 23, 2021



Tuesday, October 26th | 7pm

You are invited to a virtual webinar on Tree Equity, co-sponsored by UUCGL! Please  join us for this important and interesting topic which touches on climate change and environmental justice issues.  


In an era of climate change, trees are a critical component of building healthy and resilient communities. At Speak for the Trees, Boston, they care about trees because trees care for us. Join us as we host David Meshoulam from Speak for the Trees (SFTT). SFTT works at the intersection of environmental justice, racial and social equity, public health, and climate change to advocate for a healthy and equitable urban forest in Boston. They recognize the inequities of tree canopy coverage and believe that trees are a vital component of developing, building, and maintaining healthy and vibrant communities. This talk is cosponsored by the Swampscott Conservancy, Town of Swampscott Conservation Commission, Swampscott Library, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn.


Registration is required. 


More info HERE.

Register HERE

May 11, 2021



Sunday, June 6th | 1pm-2:30pm

Join us for a Newhall Fields Community Farm Tour with Herbalist Rebecca Ingalls!


Small family groups and individuals are invited to visit Newhall Fields Community Farm in Peabody for an experiential farm tour with herbalist Rebecca Ingalls. Come explore the realm of the herb garden and rows of a variety of vegetables growing on our two-acre plot at Tillie’s Farm. This will be a relaxed exploration of all this community farm has to offer from the ground up. Social distancing and masks will be required. No snacks involved. We suggest you bring a water bottle.


Save the date! NOTE: Rain date is June 13, 1-2:30pm


Location: Newhall Fields Community Farm 189R Lynn Street, Peabody, MA 01960. Behind Tillie's Farm Stand — walk down the path to the left of the large greenhouse.

Register and find more info HERE

May 5, 2021


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The Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn is going wild! — with wildflowers that is. With the help of the Swampscott Conservancy, church members planted 136 seedlings of native Canada Windflower (Anemone canadensis), Eastern Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), and Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) in a wooded area on the church’s property.


Suzanne Hale, Conservancy member and native plant enthusiast, assisted in the selection and placement of the plants. Jeannette McGinn and Jim Olivetti, church members, organized the May 1st event, which brought 14 people out, trowels in hand, ready to start planting. With everyone wearing masks and socially distancing, the seedlings were gently transplanted from pot to soil, ready to root and grow in their new woodland home.

What are native plants? Native plants are those that occur naturally in the region in which they evolved as opposed to exotic species brought in from other countries.  Compare our Northeast Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) that attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators, and with invasive Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) that smoothers and strangles shrubs and trees.

Why plant natives? The simple answer is that they protect biodiversity – in short, they benefit the birds and bees. Native wildlife typically only feeds on plants native to the area. The proliferation of exotic non-native plants creates in essence an ecological desert for many birds and pollinating insects. Another reason is that the trees, shrubs, and flowers native to an area are hardier and generally require less water and care than more exotic plants.

To discover New England native plants that will thrive in your garden, visit the Native Plant Trust (formally Garden in the Woods) website at Native Plant Trust


For more info on invasives, visit the Conservancy’s short videos on YouTube entitled “Nature Notes on Invasive Plants” Swampscott Conservancy - YouTube

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Conservancy’s annual Native Plant Sale scheduled for 10am on June 13 at the Swampscott Farmer’s Market. 

April 5, 2021



May 8th | 9am | Marblehead

Our annual Spring Bird Walk will be on May 8th at the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary on Risley Road in Marblehead.


Meet at Risley Road to begin the walk promptly at 9am*


*John Benson will wait at our church parking lot from 8:30 to 8:45am to provide information for those who are not familiar with the Marblehead Neck location. Otherwise, we will all meet there. 


Since the Marblehead Sanctuary designated parking area is rather tight (room for maybe eight cars, max), some participants may have to park along the side of the road.


Children accompanied by parents/guardians are most welcome. No pets, and no bikes or cycles.


Due to COVID, the event will be limited to 25 people and pre-registration will be required. Social distancing and masks will be mandatory. Please do not carpool unless you live in the same household.


Notice of cancellation due to inclement weather will be posted on the church website.



March 18, 2021


Winter Shorebirds

Test your knowledge of winter shorebirds! Match the picture with the corresponding name in the list below:

  • Bufflehead

  • Common Loon

  • Brant

  • Common Eider

  • Black Scoter


February 25, 2021



Shake off the winter blues with us!

March 13th | 8:30am | Nahant


Join members of UUCGL for the annual Winter Bird Walk in Nahant! In the past, we have been treated to sightings of Snowy Owls, Common Loons, Black and White-Winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Mergansers, Scaup, Eiders, Brants, Cedar Waxwings, and Hawks, among other birds.  There have been recent reports of a bald eagle in town.

Meet at the parking facility on Nahant Road across the street from the Life Saving Station at 8:30am (Note: not the parking lot at the LSS, but the lot across the street.) Nahant Police will be informed, and each car will be supplied a notice to be put inside the front windshield.

Due to COVID, the event will be limited to 25 people and pre-registration will be required. Social distancing and masks will be mandatory and pre-arranged carpooling from one site to another in Nahant will not be offered.

Notice of cancellation due to inclement weather will be posted on the Church’s website,

January 6, 2021



The Annual Snow Person Building Contest is back!

There’s bound to be more snow coming, so get ready to plan your entry to participate in this winter’s Green Sanctuary Ministry Team’s ‘20-’21 Snow Person Building Contest!


Through April 1st, you may email a photo of your snowperson to Prizes will be awarded and photos of the winners will be posted on
the website for all to enjoy!


November 13, 2020



Congratulations to June Carlson the winner of Green Sanctuary’s Pumpkin Decorating Contest for her adorable kitty cat pumpkin! She will be receiving a gift certificate to A&J Bakery as her prize.


Stay tuned for our Snow Person Building contest this winter!

April 17, 2020



Download Earth Day Resources here!

JANUARY 3, 2020




Join us as we explore how our faith calls us to respond to the climate emergency. Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn in conjunction with the Swampscott Conservancy.

Download the flyer here.