By TTF interns Dana Kluchinski and Nathan Sienkiewicz
Each month, our team of committed citizen scientists — or Streamkeepers — gather valuable data throughout our watershed. These Streamkeepers are the eyes and ears of the creek, venturing out to take photos and fill out information forms. With 21 miles of streams in the upstream part of our watershed, this monitoring would be impossible without their commitment. Our diverse team of Streamkeepers care about the creek! We appreciate their contributions.
This citizen science effort is funded through the William Penn Foundation‘s Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI). The goal of the DRWI is to protect and restore the Delaware River Basin’s water quality and overall ecological health. Participating organizations are implementing stream restoration and green infrastructure projects as well as informing municipal stormwater permits and public investments, using data gathered through aligned, science based efforts. The Academy of Natural Sciences and Stroud Water Research Center are leading the watershed analysis work, and guiding us as we train and mobilize these citizen scientists.
Meet our Streamkeepers:
Kurt Ahrens is a professor at Arcadia University with a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology. Kurt involves his students in stream keeping. Dr. Ahrens is the Chairman of the Environmental Advisory Council in Cheltenham Township. He keeps an eye on the Tookany Creek as it flows through the Arcadia campus, along with Science Professor Tobias Landberg and English Professor Chad Crisp.
Dottie Baumgarten is a teacher and owner of Sustainable Choices, LLC, a business that provides environmental education and consultation in such areas as vegetable gardening, rain gardens, and assisting businesses to adopt Clean Water Practices. She is also a Sustainable Science teacher from The Montessori School and has been a teacher for several years. Dottie has organized a whole crew of volunteers to monitor Grove Park in Glenside.
Judith E. Bishop is a former TTF Board member. She’a also a member of the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust (PERT), our DRWI. Judy has long-term knowledge of both watersheds, and is on the team monitoring at Grove Park in Glenside.
Roberta Brunner is active in the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters Water Resources Education Network, and a long-time member of environmental clubs. Roberta monitors at Abington Friends School.
Gina Delmont Craigo manages special events for the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) and was the former park director at Friends of High School Park. Gina monitors the creek on the main stem of the Tookany where it meets the Jenkintown Creek
Soo Chang is the science director at Saint Basil Academy, and incorporates streamkeeping into environmental projects for her Advanced Placement students. Soo will soon be able to introduce her students to stream restoration and monitoring, as the Jenkintown Creek projects at the Sisters of Saint Basil and Manor College start to take shape across the street
Mary Felley is the program coordinator for the adult chamber players program at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. She has worked for the GreenSpace Alliance, the Countryside Conservancy, and Ecosystems Ltd (Hong Kong’s largest ecological consulting firm).
Kathy Hodgkiss is a former employee with the US Environmental Protection Agency and is a Friend of Grove Park. She is the Streamkeeper for the Glenside Elementary School site.
Christine Hunter has been an Upper School Biology and Chemistry teacher at Abington Friends School for six years. She studied molecular biology while completing her PhD at Princeton, and has been an active participant in our riparian buffer plantings and teacher workshops. Christine monitors the Jenkintown Creek behind Einstein Medical Center.
Robin Irizarry is TTF’s Philadelphia Watershed coordinator. Robin is also a craftsman and owner of Fiddlehead Toys – a business which makes handcrafted toys out of salvaged materials.
Maria Kiernan is an Abington Friends School parent who volunteers regularly with TTF. She is a health policy consultant by day, TTF all-star by night, evening and weekends. Maria performs observational monitoring on the Jenkintown Creek at Ethel Jordan Park, collecting data on stream conductivity and discharge.
John McCall and Jenkintown students monitor the Tookany Creek at Ralph Morgan Park, adjacent to the Jenkintown Train Station. John also volunteers on the Jenkintown Environmental Advisory Council. He is an environmental engineer, and founder and principal at Land Repurpose, a Brownfield real estate services firm. He is also a consultant at WCD Group, an environmental and construction risk management firm.
Tom McKeon works for Rails to Trails as a watershed educator. He comes to Philly after working for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on Water Standards. Tom helps us with habitat assessments and analysis of data.
Jon Musselman is TTF’s Upstream Municipal Watershed Planner. Jon is the Streamkeeper for Mill Run. He has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University and loves to kayak!
John and Glynis Raisch are Wyncote residents who volunteer as Streamkeepers and coach community baseball and soccer teams. Going “creeking” is one of five-year-old Johnny Raisch’s favorite activities. Johnny helps look for algae in Rock Creek at the Curtis Arboretum.
Karen Serfass is the Development and Communications Director for the Briar Bush Nature Center. Karen monitors the Tookany Creek at High School Park. Karen will be adding Phosphorus to her chemistry tests to help learn more about the presence of nutrients in the main stem of the Tookany.
Jennifer Sherwood volunteers as chair of the Abington Township Environmental Advisory Council. She volunteers with Abington School District student environmental clubs, community gardens, Briar Bush Nature Center and Wyncote Audubon Society. She is Vice President and co-owner of Land Mobile Systems, providing radio communications systems. She monitors West Baeder Creek in the TTF and Harper’s Run in the Pennypack Creek watershed.