Frequently Asked Questions
What is a watershed?
A watershed is the area of land that drains to a particular body of water. The slope of the land determines which way water will flow according to gravity, so the shape of a watershed is determined by the ridges (high points) surrounding the stream valley (lowest points.) Philadelphia has seven major watersheds whose streams all flow to the Delaware River – the Delaware Direct, the Schuylkill River, the Darby-Cobbs Creek, the Wissahickon Creek, the Poquessing Creek, the Pennypack Creek and ours, the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek. Click here to find your watershed.
Where is the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford watershed?
Our watershed covers 30 square miles of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. The headwaters of the creek begin upstream in the Montgomery County communities of Abington and Cheltenham, and the watershed itself includes Jenkintown and parts of Rockledge and Springfield. From there, the watershed reaches south into the lower northeast and northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods of Mount Airy, Germantown, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Olney, Logan, Hunting Park, Lawncrest, Feltonville, Juniata Park, Frankford, Bridesburg and Port Richmond.
Why the long name?
It’s the creek so nice we named it thrice… sort of. Saying Tookany/Tacony-Frankford is a mouthful, so we usually just call our creek the TTF. The headwaters of the creek begin in Montgomery County, where the main stem is called the Tookany. When the creek passes into Philadelphia at Cheltenham Avenue the name changes to Tacony. These two names come from the native Lenape word tèkëne, meaning woods or wilderness. The Tacony Creek flows south towards the neighborhood of Juniata Park, where it historically merged with the Wingohocking Creek to form the Frankford Creek. Redirected from its original course in the early 1900s, Frankford Creek now meets the Delaware River just south of the Betsy Ross bridge.
What do you mean by “upstream” and “downstream”?
The Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek begins in eastern Montgomery County – its headwaters – or sources are in Cheltenham and Abington. We consider the watershed above the Philadelphia city line to be upstream. Downstream means our watershed neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
What do you do?
We do many things to make our creeks healthier! We plant native trees and shrubs along creeks to slow down and clean polluted runoff before it flows into the water. We host park and creek clean-up events. We teach how to mark storm drain inlets to remind people not to throw anything down the drain. We host nature, bird, and history walks and tours to connect people of all ages to their waterway down the street. We provide workshops for schools, teachers, community groups, businesses, and houses of worship about how to care for our precious resource, water!
Are you part of the Philadelphia Water Department?
No. We are a non-profit organization that works closely with – and is supported by – the Philadelphia Water Department. We often work alongside Philadelphia Water to inform people about the importance of clean water in our communities and how we can all make a difference to improve our creeks. We support Philadelphia Water’s Green City, Clean Waters 25-year plan to protect our watershed by managing stormwater with innovative green infrastructure. We implement and encourage these same strategies with partners in our upstream communities.
What’s so important about Tacony Creek Park?
Tacony Creek Park is the only publicly accessible stretch of our creek within the Philadelphia portion of our watershed. This 300 acre park, managed by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, is one of the city’s watershed parks. The woodlands and meadows that make up Tacony Creek Park provide year-round habitat for many species of birds and other wildlife. The 3.2 mile paved trail that runs along the creek, part of The Circuit regional trail network, provides access to the park and an opportunity for recreation, exercise and enjoying nature. With support from Philadelphia Water, TTF hosts environmental education programs in the park throughout the year. The goal of this community engagement is in line with our mission to protect the health and vitality of our creek by raising up park and clean-water stewards in our community.
How often do you host events?
We host events across our watershed year-round! Most events are free and open to the public. In Tacony Creek Park, events include our annual Healthy Trails 5k run, summer block parties, guided bird walks, nature walks and history tours, bike rides, clean-ups and more. In both Philadelphia and our upstream communities, we host storm drain marking and hands-on watershed education workshops on topics from rain barrels to native plants. Our busiest times for plantings and clean-ups are the fall and the spring. Looking to make a difference on a regular basis? Learn about our Streamkeeper program in our upstream communities.
The best way to keep track of upcoming programs is to sign up for our newsletter, visit Upcoming Events or call us. We hope you’ll join us in Tacony Creek Park or at a creekside planting soon!
Do you give away or sell rain barrels?
If you live in Philadelphia, you can get a rain barrel installed for free from Philadelphia Water’s Rain Check program. If you live in Montgomery County, you can buy a rain barrel from us or from the Abington Environmental Advisory Council. To buy a rain barrel click here.
Where are you located?
Our office is on the third floor of the Globe Dye Works in Philadelphia’s Frankford neighborhood at 4500 Worth Street.
How do I get to your office on SEPTA? If I drive, where can I park?
You can take the Market Frankford line to the Church Street Station, and walk down Church Street to our office. You can park in the Globe Dye Works parking lot at the corner of Worth and Kinsey Streets.
Are you hiring?
We have a small staff but are always interested in talking to motivated people interested in our work. We always post any open positions. We also keep resumes on file. The best way to be considered when a position opens is to volunteer or intern with us!
How can I become an intern or volunteer?
Visit our Intern page and contact us! We rely on interns for helping us with lots of tasks, from writing blogs and taking photos to greeting people at community events. Our interns have fun and make a real difference!
We couldn’t accomplish all of the great work we do across the watershed without the help of volunteers. From tree planting along the creek to storm drain marking in your own neighborhood, we have plenty of opportunities year-round to help out!