Greening at School: a Learning Tool for Students, Community

From US EPA Region 3 Press Office

(PHILADELPHIA – April 26, 2012) A $200,000 grant announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will help fund projects to make South Philadelphia’s George W. Nebinger School and surrounding streets greener and healthier.

EPA’s grant, with matching funding from the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) and the nonprofit Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), brings the total award to $400,000 that will go towards a host of green features at Nebinger School and the adjacent neighborhood. The projects are part of the city’s wide-ranging plan, Green City, Clean Waters, to control pollutant-laden stormwater that inundates the city’s sewer system and causes sewage overflows into area waterways. EPA and the City of Philadelphia signed a partnership agreement earlier this month to help ensure the success of the city’s plan. Continued below >>

For a look at what the Albert M. Greenfield in Center City has done as part of its Greening Greenfield Initiative, check out this video:

Green Schools: Albert Greenfield Elementary from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

“This grant will help the city realize the environmental, economic and community benefits of the Green City, Clean Waters plan,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “In controlling stormwater runoff, we’ll also be helping students appreciate ways of preventing pollution and creating cost-effective, high-performance green streets adjacent to the school.”

In addition to the benefits for Philadelphia, controlling stormwater runoff is critical for reducing pollution to the Delaware River and Bay – the focus of joint efforts by PDE, EPA, and PWD as part of the National Estuary Program. All three are now teaming up with the School District of Philadelphia to develop what is intended as a national and international model for stormwater management and educational programming at the Nebinger School. The school is located at 6th and Carpenter Street in South Philadelphia.

Efforts at the Nebinger School will focus on using green stormwater infrastructure as a classroom, field and laboratory tool, and demonstration opportunity for students and the community. The green tools that may be integrated into the design of the school yard include rain gardens, porous play surfaces and pavement, and stormwater planters. These features will help manage stormwater runoff from the school yard and select adjacent streets.

Several streets close to the Nebinger School have been chosen as potential Green Street projects based on critical connections they create between significant neighborhood amenities and businesses, such as the Weccacoe Playground and the business corridor on Passyunk Avenue between 6th and 10th streets, which is part of the Passyunk Business Improvement District. Green tools that may be integrated into these Green Streets include stormwater trees and tree trenches.

Officials said the project may provide an opportunity for Philadelphia students to collaborate with similar schools in the City of Rio de Janeiro, Philadelphia’s sister city in stormwater management. This collaboration is an extension of the Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JUIS), a partnership among the U.S. EPA, Brazil’s Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the City of Rio de Janeiro, and the City of Philadelphia, which was formed to advance sustainable cities.

For more information on the Green City, Clean Waters plan and the EPA-city partnership, visit PWD’s website >>

EcoExpress’ Science Cafe at the Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival, Saturday 4/21

EcoExpress’ Science Café for Teachers
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 at 3:30pm,
at Sister Cities Park (18th St and Race Street in Philadelphia, PA)

Philadelphia Science FestivalDuring the Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival on the Parkway, EcoExpress will be presenting a FREE Science Café designed specifically for local teachers!

Connect the Philadelphia Science Festival experience with the classroom while expanding your science and environmental resources by attending EcoExpress’ Science Café. You will receive information about free classroom resources and great tips from leading educational experts. You will also have the chance to share your own ideas, suggestions, and successes with other local educators during our breakout discussion session.

Our Educational Experts:

Anita Brook Dupree
Anita Brook Dupree is one of the nation’s leading experts in science education. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, and holds National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science. Anita was a middle school science teacher, and the science curriculum specialist for middle years for the School District of Philadelphia.

Chuck Lafferty
Chuck Lafferty is a first grade teacher at Longstreth Elementary School. Chuck oversees and coordinates the last active “Campus Park Project” in Philadelphia. His most recent project is the creation of the “Kindergarten Interpretive Pollinator Garden” at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.

Jane Kirkland
Jane Kirkland is the author of the award-winning Take a Walk® Books, a nature discovery series for kids 8 and up. Her awards include the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Education Award and two Teachers Choice Awards. She is a monthly guest on Philly’s Kids Corner radio program (WXPN) and has also appeared on Animal Planet TV, PBS, and NPR.

Meg Malloy
Meg Malloy is an environmental scientist for the Philadelphia Water Department at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center (FWWIC). Previously, she worked at Thomas Jefferson University and at the University of Pennsylvania in their biology departments. Meg received her BA in biology from Arcadia University and her Masters of Environmental Studies from University of Pennsylvania.

Find more details for the event and RSVP here!

The Philadelphia Science Festival is a is a ten-day, community-wide celebration of science that takes place annually in April, featuring lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of other informal science education experiences for Philadelphians of all ages. The Carnival event this Saturday, April 21st, on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia is the big kickoff! Here are some highlights from 2011:

GreenTreks documentary on Philly greening to air on WHYY Apr 26 & 29

If you’ve been following us for any period of time, you know we’re stoked to be a part of Philadelphia’s transformation from down on our luck wannabes to nation leading innovators — and yesterday’s landmark agreement between the City and US EPA reinforces the fact that there’s much more to come.

You also probably know we’ve been documenting the exciting efforts of the Philadelphia Water Department to change our cityscape into a vision of green. Besides the dozen short videos that can be found on our Green City, Clean Waters Vimeo channel, we’ve put together a 30 minute PBS special that encapsulates brings this game changing program to life.

We’re thrilled to announce it’ll be airing in a couple of weeks!

WHYY Airtimes

Download the flyer and pass it around.

Post it on your Facebook page, send it out on Twitter, Pin it, email it to friends.

And be sure to tune in and watch!