Educational Workshops with TTF
Our workshops provide an overview of water issues and how to improve the health of our waterways. Watershed Heroes provides information on watershed problems and solutions, including what we can all do!
Hands-on Projects with TTF
The goal of our restoration projects is to restore the health of our streams by controlling runoff across our watershed. Our stream protection and restoration projects include buffers, which are areas of land next to streams planted with native trees, shrubs, and grasses. Buffers filter and slow runoff, provide wildlife habitat, and cool the stream. We also install Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), which uses plants and soil so that rain soaks into the ground and is cleaned where it falls. We have planted four rain gardens, which are shallow gardens that store runoff from parking lots and roofs.
Our projects involve healthy outdoor activities for everyone! Even though we’re always planning new projects for the fall and spring planting seasons, we provide indoor and outdoor activities all year long. Our projects are worthwhile community service opportunities.
Stream & Park Cleanups: We welcome your students to join us to prevent litter from going into our storm drains and creeks by working with us to organize or participate in a cleanup at your school, in a local park, or in your neighborhood.
Plantings: We plant a lot of buffers and rain gardens — and your students can help! Creekside buffers and rain gardens filter stormwater before it gets to our creeks, improving water quality while providing habitat for wildlife.
Storm Drain Marking: It isn’t just litter that washes into the creek. Everything on the street — from animal waste to motor oil — enters storm drains. Your students will learn first-hand about the street to creek connection by canvassing and attaching storm drain markers that warn: “Yo! No Dumping! Drains to River.”
Mussel Surveying: A fun, educational way for students to get into our creeks. Freshwater mussels help clean our waterways. Students will work with us to collect data needed by to scientists to help mussels make a comeback!
Student Streamkeepers: TTF monitors the Tookany Creek watershed in Montgomery County with help from trained citizens. TTF students can get involved too! Check out our Streamkeeper page and contact us at or 215.744.1853 to learn more about opportunities for students.
Resources for Schools
Teachers often ask us for curriculum, activities, and resources for watershed education. In Philadelphia, there are a number of exceptional local resources. Below is a list of the some of the best resources and programs both at the local and national level.
Briar Bush Nature Center — Schoolyard Water Walk: A Briar Bush educator will walk your students outside their school to examine where water goes when it rains. We’ll discuss what kinds of terrain absorbs water, what kind does not, and what can be done to help improve storm water management. Contact Ehren Gross, Environmental Educator at or 215.887.6603.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Watershed Education — Circuit Trails: Using urban trails to access teachable locations for watershed lessons in the Greater Philadelphia area. Contact Tom McKeon, Environmental Educator/TTF Streamkeeper at .
The Nature Conservancy — Nature Works Everywhere: Nature Works Everywhere is an online resource designed to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us — and how we can keep it running strong. Nature Works Everywhere gives teachers, students and families all the resources they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe, including interactive games and lesson plans that align to standards and can be customized for each classroom. Contact Lauren Bradford, Outreach Program Manager .
Wyncote Audubon Society — Audubon Adventures: Audubon Adventures introduces young people, their families, and their teachers to the fundamental principles by which the natural world functions. The lessons that Audubon Adventures teaches offer an exciting, science-based exploration of those principles at work, anchored in nonfiction reading and outdoor and classroom activities that help kids to care for the planet by helping birds and other wildlife. Contact Leigh Altadonna at .
National Wildlife Federation — Eco-Schools USA: NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program is a student-driven, comprehensive framework which provides resources and curriculum to support ten “Pathways to Sustainability”, including Energy, Climate Change, Transportation, Healthy Schools, Healthy Living, Sustainable Food, Consumption and Waste, Water, Schoolyard Habitats, and Biodiversity. Students investigate environmental issues, conduct school-wide audits, propose action plans, connect to the curriculum, and engage the community in problem-solving and committing to positive environmental actions. Contact Kim Martinez, Senior Education Manager .
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The Water section of United States Environmental Protection Agency website provides information about the Clean Water Act, the role of water in our daily lives, and links to other resources. At Water: Education and Training you can find information on Conference & Workshops, Educator Resources, Kids, and Training Programs. Includes advanced topics.
US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS): The Let’s Go Outside section of the US Fish & Wildlife Service website provides information for Kids, Families, Youth Group Leaders, and Educators. Check out the Creating Schoolyard Habitats section which includes information on creating schoolyard habitat and outdoor classroom projects using hands-on, curriculum based learning plus a step-by-step Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide.
The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA): An easy to use, nation-wide stream monitoring program for teachers and students. Their library is the best place for classroom guides and worksheets for water monitoring, macroinvertebrates and riparian zone ecology lesson plans.
Project WET: The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators, and communities across the world with water education. Considered the national leader in water education for teachers, their Water Education Portal provides tested educational activities for K-12 based on education standards, and objectives and materials are laid out in their Curriculum and Activity Guide.
Fairmount Water Works (FWW) — Understanding the Urban Watershed: FWW’s Understanding the Urban Watershed explores myriad ways that educators can teach students about the unique challenges of managing and using water in an urban environment. The lessons use watershed education as an integrated context for learning. Contact Rachel Odoroff, Program Leader for William Penn Teacher Fellowship Program at FWW and Urban Environmental Educator .
EcoExpress: A project of Green Treks, EcoExpress is a STEM-focused learning center that shows how issues such as global warming, air pollution, poor water quality, waste disposal, and local food intersect with our everyday lives. The core of EcoExpress lies in real world stories about everyday people who are taking on environmental challenges by getting involved.
Envirothon: Envirothon is a fun, academic event sponsored by the National Conservation Foundation that challenges high school students to think critically about the natural world and their roles in it. Envirothon is America’s largest high school environmental education competition and combines in-class curriculum and outdoor training, helping students to learn more about Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soil & Land Use, Wildlife, and Current Environmental Issues. Find out more about the Pennsylvania Envirothon here.
Green Infrastructure Stormwater (GIS): This 5 module training series was developed through an Urban Waters grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. TTF, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and GreenTreks teamed up to provide hands-on Green Infrastructure maintenance training to schools and community residents throughout Philadelphia. The first module, Introduction to Watersheds, was developed for students, with activities to build understanding of the water cycle, watersheds, soils, and plants.