We are an Earth Sanctuary as well as a Center for Renewal and Regeneration. Just outside Philadelphia on Back Forty Farm, we are the stewards of 10 acres of woodland and 10 acres of pasture, plus and old farmhouse, barn and kitchen garden. This land was originally part of the territory held sacred and lived on by the Leni Lanape Nation. During colonization it became part of the Cheyney estate and farm, which in the late 1800’s deeded land to an organization that founded the first Historic Black College, now known as Cheyney University. Back Forty Farm has been in my family since the 1950’s.
We share this land with numerous species of birds such as Pileated Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Blue Jays, Northern Flickers, Carolina Wrens, Bluebirds and Barred Owls year round and Hummingbirds, Scarlett Tanagers, Orioles and more for the summer breeding season. We also feel blessed to share this land with deer, fox, Chipmunks, squirrels, turtles and possibly a Bobcat. The woods are full of ramps and berries, some mushrooms and a little watercress, as well as other wild edibles we are learning to recognize.
Our “church” consists of the woods and fields, and our style of worship is Quaker. We have an intention of creating a sweat lodge, having asked a local Lenape leader about the appropriateness of non-native people doing so, and receiving positive answer.