TTF Brings Creekside Buffers to Cheltenham Backyards

Julie Slavet
Nov 11, 2014

Five Cheltenham homeowners have something new and exciting growing in their backyards: creekside buffers! These lucky residents were selected to be part of our new pilot residential buffer project.

Backyards with Benefits Planting

Creekside buffers protect Tookany Creek from runoff. Runoff carries chemicals, trash and other materials over land and into storm drains and creeks, harming waterways, plants and wildlife. Buffers absorb and filter runoff and provide wildlife habitat. Cheltenham Township has adopted numerous watershed and creek plans that establish creek protection as a goal.

BYwBeneLawn_VISTAThese plantings have two goals: to improve water quality and to inform and inspire other homeowners to make a difference on their own properties. Leading up to the planting, participating homeowners displayed lawn signs in front of their homes that explained what would be happening on the property and the benefits of creekside buffers, and reminded passersby to stay tuned for our spring buffer tour.

Our Community Watershed Specialist, Alex Cooper, worked with designer NAM Planning & Design LLC to place nearly 200 trees and shrubs plus 500 other plants and grasses for volunteers to plant on Sunday, November 2nd. Thank you to American Native Nursery and North Creek Nurseries for your generous plant donations! And thank you to Friends of High School Park for providing us with a perfect delivery and sorting location.

Backyards with Benefits Planting

On planting day, we unloaded our tools from the truck that Bryner Chevrolet lent to us and set out to plant some buffers! Arcadia and Temple University students, TTF staff and Cheltenham EAC (and TTF Board Member) Barb Duffy, put on gardening gloves, grabbed shovels and started digging. One of the homeowners even joined us to help plant her backyard buffer!

Backyards with Benefits Plantings
One of the homeowners came out to help plant her backyard buffer!

With shovels and gloves packed up and the plants in the ground, homeowners came out to look out at their new and improved backyards. You could tell by their excited reactions that they were happy with their decision to take part in this important environmental protection and education project.

We can’t wait for spring, when the native plants in the buffers are in full bloom, the perfect time to join us for a buffer tour showcasing our work. At the tour, you will also be able to learn more about Clean Water Action and the Audubon Society, our project partners. We’re excited to announce that the tour will begin at the Creekside Coop!

If you can’t wait until Spring to learn more about the benefits of buffers and how you can improve your watershed, watch your email: we’ll be presenting a Watershed Heroes/Creekside Buffer workshop at Creekside Coop next month!

Stay tuned for tour updates and contact us if you are interested in learning more about what you can do in your own backyard. Contact Alex Cooper at

Funded by:
  • This planting has been partially funded by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund through a Section 319 federal Clean Water Act grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • TreeVitalize: a partnership to restore tree cover in Pa. communities

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