We are so honored to share these words with you to celebrate the recognition of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership’s Executive Director with the John Dornan Conservation Award by the Wyncote Audubon Society on December 5.
These comments were shared by Robin Irizarry, Board of Directors, Wyncote Audubon Society and Alliance for Watershed Education Fellowship Coordinator, Audubon Mid-Atlantic.
The John Dornan Conservation Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a major contribution to conservation in our region.
Now, I may be biased, but of all the watersheds in our region I’d say that none has seen more increased visibility and been more deserving of conservation investment in the last decade than the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford watershed. Despite its challenges, this watershed and community have found a champion to aid in its protection in the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF).
TTF Watershed Partnership believes that healthy watersheds support healthy communities. And across the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed they implement programs that educate neighbors and stakeholders about clean water issues and how we can all make a difference in our own backyards, parks, and communities.
From rain gardens and riparian buffers along the Jenkintown Creek and other headwaters of the Tookany, to the stellar, community building programming happening in Tacony Creek Park, from sharing stories and lessons learned from the buried Wingohocking Creek down to increasing visibility of the Frankford Creek where it meets the Delaware River, you’ve very likely become familiar with the work of TTF team in some capacity in these past years.
TTF has been a particularly exceptional partner to Wyncote Audubon, working together to serve our shared watershed community, protecting our creeks and the bird-saving habitat they require along the way. Through efforts like the development of the Bird Guide to the TTF watershed, hosting bilingual birdwalks, co-leading Audubon Adventure programs in schools in Olney, rallying volunteers to plant hundreds of trees and the installation of backyard habitats and buffers in Montgomery County, many folks are connecting with their creeks and local bird habitat thanks to TTF.
The attention, care, stewardship, programming and funding this humble watershed has seen in recent years is thanks in no small part to the dedication and hard work of this small, but amazing team at the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and their fearless leader Julie Slavet.
Julie has served as the Executive Director of TTF since 2011. Her background in the political campaign world and passion for the environment has enabled her and her team to make a great difference in the communities they serve. Julie sees opportunities where others see only challenges, a skill that is very much needed when championing this watershed. She excels in the kind of grass-root campaigning needed for effective watershed work. I’ve had the pleasure of co-leading many walks, programs (and environmental education tricycle rides) with Julie along the TTF, all of which managed to lead to conversations about combined stormwater outfalls, sewage and how to be a better environmental steward. She never hesitates to greet someone new, welcome them to the trail or park and will not let them get away without learning something about the creek.
She challenges and inspires her team to develop creative new ways of engaging with communities that break the mold and set new standards for watershed education, meeting people in the neighborhoods, rallying them to their local waterways and green spaces across the street. She has a great heart for this watershed and community and it is reflected in the success of this amazing team that consistently punches above their weight.
It is my pleasure to present to Julie Slavet this John Dornan Conservation award today.