Exploring the West Coast: Water & Conservation
I kicked off my summer with a whirlwind roadtrip down the West Coast with my younger sister (who you may remember from this blog post) and our friend Dawn. It was a beautiful experience! Like true tourists, we were all snapping away photos the whole time. Today I’m highlighting some shots of water, water pollution, and conservation. If you want to learn more about protecting water, please visit our StormwaterPA project.
Sporting Life: All Eyes on Philly, When it Rains it Pours!
As leader of a non-profit with a major focus on water resource protection, I’ve got to admit, we kind of like when it rains. Believe me, I don’t love the fact that runoff wreaks havoc with our waterways, streets, and basements, but downpours do draw attention to the problems we human-folk have brought upon ourselves by altering the landscape. Once upon a time, nature did a great job of balancing the water cycle, but as we chopped, paved, and built our way into a life of impervious-ness, we generated a ton of stormwater runoff — which causes flooding, erosion, and pollutes our rivers and streams.
So, what’s the connection to sport? Last weekend, one of the nation’s biggest Bike races came to Philadelphia, and luckily for riders and the partygoing fans, the rains had left by race day. This week, the U.S. Open has come to our suburbs; attendees from far and wide have been pummeled by storms. And next weekend, the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon takes place. The latter event involves a swim in the Schuylkill River, a biking segment in Fairmount Park, and is capped with a run. If we get any major rains leading up to or on race day itself, chances are good that the swim will be canceled because of high water and potential contamination. Oh, the event will likely go on, but in a drastically different form. (I’ll be racing as usual, and since I’m a mediocre swimmer, I’d benefit if the swim gets canceled. But I’d also be disappointed because I signed up for the challenge of the three discipline event…)
The point is that storms bring runoff and runoff disrupts our lives in myriad ways. The learning moment is that WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. People all around us are trying to minimize the impacts by getting this stormwater under control. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the inspiring story of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program. Learn more by visiting StormwaterPA. And then Get into the Act by planting a tree, building a rain garden, installing a rain barrel, and sharing what you’ve just learned.
EcoExpress in the Philadelphia Science Festival
The Philadelphia Science Festival 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. GreenTreks Network’s environmental education program, EcoExpress.org, will be participating in three upcoming events as part of the Philadelphia Science Festival!
Science Carnival on the Parkway
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
at Logan’s Circle (on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 19th Street in Philadelphia, PA)
You’ve never experienced an outdoor carnival like this one! This carnival features more than 100 exhibitors offering non-stop, family-friendly experiments, interactive activities, games, and a packed line-up of live entertainment. Enjoy liquid nitrogen ice cream, make gak, meet live zoo animals, check out the inner-workings of robots, take a tour of a helicopter, extract DNA from a strawberry, test a “crime scene” for forensic evidence, and so much more!
Teacher Workshop: Connecting to our Everyday Environment with EcoExpress.org and the PA Horticultural Society
Monday, April 22, 2013, 4:00pm to 7:00pm
at the Department of Making and Doing (3711 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104)
Engage in a lively discussion with other educators on how to make cross-curricular connections to environmental science. Then, learn how to address ecological topics while using your student’s everyday environment and gain valuable classroom resources from EcoExpress and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Participating Pennsylvania-based teachers will receive three Act 48 credit hours. Register for free here.
Student Event: Neighborhood Science After School
Thursday, April 25, 2013, 3:30pm to 5:30pm
at the South Philadelphia Branch of the Free Library (1700 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145)
Turn your kitchen into a science lab! Discover how chemistry plays a role in some of your favorite foods. Then, learn how you can keep our drinking water safe and clean by protecting water at the source, and how to write and break secret codes! Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and Temple University will also be presenting! This event is FREE and open to students in K through 12!
In addition to attending these excellent events, don’t forget to enter EcoExpress’ contest to win a mini video camera!
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:
“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 >>
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!
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!