Spring is here — and what better way is there to enjoy the season than by strolling through the park on a sunny day, with your very own guide showing you the sights? Well, that’s exactly what we did during April’s Nature’s Hidden Surprises walk with Environmental Educator Judith Gratz!

A group gathers for our Natures Hidden Surprises nature walk.

Before we began our adventure, Judith shared a beautiful haiku poem written by Basho:

“Under my tree-roof

Slanting lines of April rain

Separate to drops”

 A haiku is a short, three-line poem composed of seventeen syllables, with each line having 5-7-5 syllables. These poems are traditionally inspired by nature, capturing a feeling, a moment or image of beauty.

Milkweed pod and seeds

Judith had many activities planned for us that morning — from scavenger hunting and adopting-a-tree in the park, to celebrating January through April birthdays, and planting milkweed seeds in the meadow!

Did you know milkweed plants are important for the survival of monarch butterflies? This is because monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed plants, and the butterflies need these plants to lay their eggs.

As Judith led us down the trail in Tacony Creek Park, we explored our surroundings, looking for anything that started with the letters S-P-R-I-N-G and learning about what we found. The letters “P” and “I” were a challenge, but here’s what our enthusiastic group discovered:

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle

S – stinging nettle plant, sycamore tree, spider, samara seed, squirrel

P – poison Ivy, peeling bark

R – red-tailed hawk, rock, wild raspberries

I – insect (box elder bug), invasive (Japanese knotweed) plant

N – nest, native (wineberry) plants

G – groundhog hole, geese, grass

During our scavenger hunt, we “adopted a tree” in the park that we will observe throughout the year at each walk. We chose a sycamore and an American elm tree.


At the end of our journey, as each of us released handfuls of milkweed seeds into the wind, scattering them over the meadow at the Ramona Gateway, we were inspired to write our very own haiku:

“Make a wish in Spring

While eagles soar in the sky

In love with the view”

We hope you can join us at our next adventure in Tacony Creek Park, taking place every second Wednesday of the month. Go to our Upcoming Events page for more information.

See you in the park!

About Doryán De Angel

Doryán De Angel, Community Watershed Leader (Philadelphia): Doryán works with Robin on the Philadelphia watershed team to engage and educate residents about watershed and stormwater issues. A resident of Cheltenham, Doryan started with TTF as an outstanding hands-on volunteer. She is fluent in Spanish and has a Bachelors in Environmental Science from the University of Puerto Rico. She was a student collaborator on the San Juan Bay Estuary Project. Contact Doryán at 215.744.1853 or doryan@ttfwatershed.org


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