Aloha?? from Tacony Creek Park

Julie Slavet
Jul 11, 2013

While you were celebrating our nation’s independence by eating hot dogs during the July 4th weekend, TTF was working with students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo to improve our watershed. Many thanks to Jennie Dunham and the Institute for International Education for making the connection to this enthusiastic group of volunteers!

On Saturday, July 6, the heat from the hot summer sun made our volunteers very eager to put on waders and get in the creek. Volunteers filled many trash and recycling bags with litter– chip bags, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and even bike tires! They were shocked by how much litter was in and around the creek.

University of Hawaii of Hilo volunteer holds trash found in the park.

TTF’s mission is to improve the health and vitality of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek and its watershed, both in the creek and our neighborhoods. We host clean up events to get trash out of our creeks while educating our volunteers – and telling them to pass on the message – that storm drains lead to the creek.

Volunteers pose with collected trash and recyclables.

Sixty percent of Philadelphia’s storm sewers are combined, where both sanitary waste from buildings and the trash from the streets go into the same pipe. When too much water overwhelms those pipes, everything passes through an overflow and empties directly into the creeks. To find out how you can prevent trash and other pollutants from getting into the storm drains in the first place, please see our website.

At the end of the work day, we had the chance to chat with the visiting students, who said many nice things about Tacony Creek Park’s beauty, despite the litter. They taught us the saying all Hawaiian children learn growing up — “Malama Aina” — which means “to take care of the land.” We think that’s a great lesson for all of us!

To find out about future Tacony Creek Park programs, contact Alix Howard at

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