By Malcolm Bundy, TTF Intern
What’s a better way to spend a Saturday then exploring nature in your own backyard? In late June, TTF staff, Streamkeepers, and volunteers joined with residents and leaders from our local and regional community to see the benefits of the Jenkintown Creek Restoration Project.
Susan Harris, Cerulean LLC, and Julie Slavet, TTF Executive Director, led the 4 mile tour throughout the Abington area at the end of June. We met at the Charles D. Conklin, Jr. pool to see this site before construction begins! This new site is very exciting — working with Cheltenham Township, we will construct a wetland, removing most of this Jenkintown Creek tributary from a concrete channel and managing the 42 acres of stormwater runoff that flow into this tiny creek.
Several locations with mostly completed projects were then visited to showcase the benefits of the Jenkintown Creek Restoration Project: Abington Friends School and Abington Monthly Meeting, Ethel Jordan Park, McKinley Elementary School, Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Manor College, and Alverthorpe Park. These projects are all part of our work as part of the Upstream Suburban Philadelphia Collaborative, funded through the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, created by the William Penn Foundation.
The purpose of this tour was to inform community members, volunteers, and stakeholders that pollution that negatively impacts our streams is being reduced through these initiatives. These projects work!
Each site visited was somewhat similar in terms of the tool used to protect the creek — lots of native trees and shrubs! However, the Ethel Jordan Park, Alverthorpe Park and Abington Friends School sites featured bioswales and rain gardens to act as natural filtration systems. The stream at each site was heavily vegetated with native plants and shrubs like dogwoods to help decrease stream bank erosion. Without these very important plants, the streambank would erode at a much faster pace, resulting in the increased sediment entering the creek.
The tour featured remarks by our expert partners; Temple and Villanova University graduate students explaining the valuable monitoring they have been implementing at a number of these sites. We ended the tour at Alverthorpe Park, and enjoyed conversation and updates over lunch under the trees.
Special thanks to our attendees, including Claire Billet of the William Penn Foundation, Janey Starwood of the Wyncote Audubon Society, Jenkintown and Cheltenham EAC members. We so appreciated that Pennsylvania Representative Steve McCarter and Cheltenham Commissioner Ann Rappaport joined us at the Conklin site. Abington Commissioners Drew Rothman and Mike Thompson, and Jenkintown Borough Councillor Alexandra Khalil also came along. The interest and support of these leaders means so much to us!
We were also very excited that Donna Long came on the tour! Donna is an environmental educator who lives in our watershed and writes a wonderful nature blog. Here’s a link to her post about the (maybe) vernal pool that’s part of our Jenkintown Creek restoration work at McKinley Elementary School.
Thanks to our hosts and partners!
If you want to learn more about the Jenkintown Creek Restoration Project, contact Ryan@ttfwatershed.org or 215-744-1853.