TTF Watershed Educator
Rosanne Mistretta, Abington Friends School
As a third and fourth grade science teacher at Abington Friends School (AFS), Rosanne Mistretta has long taught students the importance of caring for our waterways. She connects her students to the outdoors and encourages a conservation ethic, with stream walks a regular part of science classes. As the Director of AFS Outside, she has helped transform the Lower School playground into a certified Nature Playground, an inviting outdoor space that encourages learning, discovery and play in a natural setting. This is the first nature playground in a school in Pennsylvania to be accredited by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Rosanne has also been a leader in the AFS-TTF partnership to protect and restore the Jenkintown Creek on the AFS campus through the installation of a riparian buffer and a rain garden. She has engaged other organizations to support the creek and the surrounding campus environment, creating a renewed sense of connection and responsibility for our creek and watershed that permeates our entire school community.
Olney Christian School
The Olney Christian School (OCS) is located at D Street and Roosevelt Boulevard, directly across from the Bingham Street Gateway to Tacony Creek Park. OCS requires that each student have a standing permission slip to participate in outdoor classes when teachers identify an opportunity for learning in the park.
The school, teachers, and students demonstrate a commitment to care for the park across the street, viewing it as a community asset to steward and improve. We have partnered with OCS on numerous programs including a recent Earth Day celebration that included cleaning up along the trail and planting native shrubs and flowers, as well as student bird watching sessions using the Celebrate Urban Birds project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
TTF Youth Champion
H20 for Life Club, Abington Senior High School
Green Thumbs Club, Abington Junior High School
Founded in 2008, the mission of the Abington Junior High School Green Thumbs Club is to promote a better environment by raising environmental awareness and participating in service projects. The Green Thumbs averages 30 students and hosts recycling drives, builds rain barrels, labels storm drains, cleans up the campus, and removes invasive plants in addition to planting and maintaining trees, buffers, and school gardens.
In 2012 and 2013, the H2O for Life Club and the Green Thumbs Club created a two-phase riparian buffer in partnership with TTF along the headwaters of East Baeder Creek at the playing fields at Abington Junior High School. This project was led by TTF alongside partners including the Abington Environmental Advisory Commission (EAC) and Briar Bush Nature Center. This buffer improves the health of the creek and provides an outdoor classroom, demonstrating how this creek impacts the health of our 30 square mile watershed and the Delaware River, one of the sources of drinking water for Philadelphia.
Both clubs have undertaken numerous clean-ups in and around the buffer; the Green Thumbs also work with TTF on water quality testing. The H2O for Life students created a model to teach the importance of protecting our watershed from litter, cigarette butts, plastics and other contaminants. Children enjoy the hands-on “what if?” activity of “polluting” the watershed, making it rain and then seeing what happens if we do not take care of our waterways. This demonstrates in a very real, dramatic way the need to protect our waters.
We hope you’ll join with us to recognize these watershed heroes at our Milestones Award Ceremony & Reception on May 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at our home at the Globe Dye Works in Frankford. Information here.
See you soon!