Milestone Awards: TTF Watershed Educator & TTF Youth Champion

Julie Slavet
May 5, 2016

TTF Watershed Educator

Judith Gratz

An environmental educator with over 30 years of experience, Judith Gratz is the leader and creator of our Nature’s Hidden Surprises program in Tacony Creek Park. This series started with the idea that we wanted to engage learners of all ages in a monthly morning nature walk. Since September 2014, Judith has crafted fun, unique learning topics based on the season and time of year — from looking for animal tracks in the snow to water critters in the summer! Her warmth and passion for nature have built a solid group of NHS groupies! Be sure to join her on the second Wednesday of each month to discover the natural treasures in this urban watershed oasis.

Environmental Educator Judith Gratz holds up educational materials at a nature walk in Tacony Creek Park.

Sookyung Chang, Science Teacher/Director & Gloria Kenny, Science Department Chair, Saint Basil Academy

Soo Chang is passionate and committed to teaching as well as increasing the presence of women in science. She has taught chemistry to a 7-year-old and environmental science to a 50-plus student. Gloria Kenny possesses impressive academic training, teaching, and lab experience. She developed the Microbiology curriculum for Montgomery County Community College. Through connecting Horticulture, AP Environmental Science, AP Chemistry, and Biology courses to restoration and improvement efforts in their own backyard, Soo and Gloria have enthusiastically engaged their students in hands-on watershed improvement activities at Manor College, the Sisters of Saint Basil, and on their own campus at St. Basil Academy. Their students have worked alongside TTF and other partners to plant woodland trees, a creek buffer and a rain garden. Soo has grown the horticulture course from 1 to 8 students! Horticulture students were involved in the St. Basil kidsdesign and planning for the rain garden, as well as species selection; they also participated in a design lab to discuss the value of rain gardens and how to determine size and specifications. They have also improved and expanded their Environmental Garden, soliciting neighbors for native plants as an important educational opportunity to share their sustainability goals with the community.


TTF Youth Champion

STEM Challenge Club, Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School

This year, five 10th grade students at Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School entered Governor Wolf’s statewide STEM competition. The contest gives students the opportunity to use science and technology to solve problems in their communities. These students identified trash and littering as a problem near their school, just steps away from Frankford Creek. They researched the issue, visited Philadelphia Water Department’s laboratory to learn more about water quality, and decided to make a device that could help prevent litter from clogging sewer inlets and washing into Frankford Creek. They developed Sewer Inlet Monitor (SIM), which uses a distance sensor to detect when trash is present in the inlet and communicates the clog via a website or Twitter. The idea is to use social media and awareness to change littering behavior in the community and improve the creek. In February, the students presented their project and won the regional competition, allowing them to participate in the statewide competition! These students have continued to improve SIM. These young people demonstrate how technology and innovation can be used to improve their environment…the creek right down the street.

Mariana Bracetti STEM

Join us at our Annual Watershed Milestones Award Ceremony & Reception on May 25th, when we will honor these award winners! You can buy tickets here. Don’t miss this chance to celebrate the accomplishments of our partners and supporters in an evening of food, fun, and networking!

Our Partner Alliance!

Logos for our Partner Alliance members: Lindy Communities, ISS, AquaReale, UPenn, PECO, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, and Abington Friends School.

AKRF, Inc. — The RBA Group — Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership

Firestone & Company — Pennoni Associates

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