By Rut Hormann, TTF intern
As the summer draws to a close, we’re taking a quick look back at all the events and programs we shared with our neighbors across our watershed! Some of these were one-time events while others are regular ongoing activities — so if you want to participate, check our calendar for upcoming events!
Three June Block Parties in Juniata, Feltonville, and Olney kicked off our summer. Along with other community organizations, we chatted with approximately 500 neighbors about clean water, local wildlife, biking, green city spaces, and of course, Tacony Creek Park.
Although severe thunderstorms delayed the block parties by a week, the re-scheduled parties were fun and popular. We had a wonderful time connecting with adults and kids over free water ice and pretzels, and through guided bike tours and interactive models.
Around the same time we also celebrated some of the newest additions to the park – four bird murals along the trail underneath the Whitaker Bridge. While the murals add a dash of color to an otherwise unwelcoming bridge understory, they also highlight four common bird species in the area – Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Peregrine Falcon, and the White-breasted Nuthatch. Thank you to our partners V.U.R.T Creative for these masterpieces.
Want to see birds in real life? There’s a chance you may spot them (or already have) at Nature’s Hidden Surprises, a monthly walking nature tour led by environmental educators Judith Gratz every second Wednesday morning and Dallas Cederberg every third Saturday of the month. These (nearly year-round) family-friendly events provide a fun and guided atmosphere to explore the plants, animals, and ecosystems present in the park.
Monday and Saturday mornings saw groups of neighbors of all ages meeting to take a walk as part of We Walk PHL. Through this year-round program, walkers enjoy the delights of the trail while taking a healthy and relaxing stroll in good company. Those seeking a faster pace had the opportunity to join the Run with Me group on Tuesdays and Saturdays (continuing every Monday and one Saturday each month this fall).
We also took the time to show our work on the Jenkintown Creek Restoration Project. A Saturday afternoon in June saw community members, volunteers, and stakeholders visiting various upstream sites, discussing pollution, learning about the monitoring done by Temple and Villanova students, and inspected the natural filtration systems.. The tour began at the Charles D. Conklin, Jr. Pool in Cheltenham Township, which will soon see a transformation from a concrete channel to a beneficial wetland. In anticipation of these, we have also held several open houses to inform community members about what this will look like. You can read more about the tour here.
Restoration projects are important for our watershed health, but it’s also important that people know about and understand clean water challenges and opportunities. We were so happy for the opportunity to raise a little environmental awareness with guests via the Environmental Trivia Night at the Neshaminy Creek Brewing’s Jenkintown Borough Brewhouse! Sounds of Summer, which was made possible by a number of local partners, presented another opportunity to raise awareness in a relaxed setting, Jenkintown Town Square.
During these past warm months, we welcomed a variety of groups to Tacony Creek Park for activities. These included:
• Women In Natural Sciences (WIN), Academy of Natural Sciences
• Olney Recreation Center
• Laurethia Vaird Boys & Girls Club
• Norris Square Neighborhood Project
• Mid-Atlantic YouthALIVE! Regional Network Youth Summit
We also brought hands-on activities to organizations across our watershed including:
• Abington Friends School
• McKinley Elementary School Roots & Shoots Club
• Elkins Park Middle School Green Ambassadors
• Congregation Keneseth Israel Preschool.
We continued with regular cleanups of park spaces. At our Streamside Spruce Up in July, we partnered with friends and neighbors on maintenance at our stream buffer along Baeder Creek at Abington Junior High School. That month a group of Lasallian students also volunteers joined us for a Jenkintown Creek tour and clean up. Our final group was our annual visit by Arcadia students who joined us for their annual Day of Service in August, helping out with a clean-up at Abington Junior High School.
Our August cleanup in Philadelphia was in Juniata Park.
Together with community members we picked up litter and installed street art stickers to remind people about why they shouldn’t litter. This event was part of a larger place-making project for the neighborhood — Community Cans — which involves a rain garden, street bump-outs, and colorful decorated trash cans.
Read more about the cleanup and this exciting project in here!
We hosted a wonderful troop of interns, three Power Corps PHL fellows, plus an Alliance for Watershed Fellow (Our blogs introducing them are here, here, here, here, and here) this summer! They all did their part in completing projects, researching, prepping for events, moving materials, and bringing cheerful smiles and energy to the office and events. Our AWE fellow Nayeli Perez invested in our future educational effectiveness by completing a project upgrading our Creekmobile educational resources.
All in all we had an exciting and busy summer. As we move into fall and winter, we’ll continue to work on ways to improve our creeks and parks while involving you — our community members! See you soon, and don’t forget to enjoy our watershed in all of its fall glory!