A Whirlwind of Activity at GreenTreks

This year has been a busy one, and we couldn’t be more pleased!

metta movement

First off, thanks to all of those who attended the party with a purpose we co-hosted last month with lululemon athletic Walnut Street. If you missed metta movement, check out our Instagram for some snapshots from the night.

EcoExpress

What a landmark year it has been for EcoExpress.org! We are working on a new video series that focuses on exciting (and surprising) careers with a STEM focus. The videos will be released early next year. We can’t wait to show you. Don’t forget, though – we’ve added a lot of videos over this past year. We’ve been focusing more on water and watersheds, as it is the environmental issue that connects to so many others.

Here are the video & lesson plan additions to EcoExpress.org in 2013:
Clean Water: A Long Journey from the Source to Our Tap
Porous Pavement
Streamside Forest Buffers
Bioretention Island
Keeping Water On Site: Waterview Recreation Center
Rain Barrels: Preventing Water Pollution Starts at Home
Rain Gardens: Saving Streams One Yard at a Time
Rain Barrels: Preventing Water Pollution Starts at Home
Gardening for a Healthier Bay
Mowing to Meadows
Green Schools: Albert Greenfield Elementary

In 2014, EcoExpress will be unveiling the new STEM careers videos, offering more teacher workshops, providing in-class support, and hosting the 4th annual Spring into Science Education. We are so excited about all of these great plans, but our efforts require more funding to make them a reality. At this critical time for schools, please help us continue to provide environmental educational services. Donate directly to EcoExpress.

Flowers

You’ve maybe even spotted Barry or myself (Meghan) giving a presentation about StormwaterPA. This year, we’ve furthered education about the impacts of polluted stormwater runoff in our local region. Here’s a snippet of what’s happened.

Clean Your Water is a new initiative of StormwaterPA.org. We are helping municipalities in watersheds across Pennsylvania educate about the value of caring for your local watershed. We curate multimedia resources that are relevant and important to diverse audiences. We provide key community groups with the knowledge to greatly benefit watershed health. So far, we’ve crafted websites for Cumberland County and the Wissahickon Watershed. Want to see your region represented? Let us know!

Rain Gardens: Saving Streams One Yard at a Time was a big hit this year. We also released a beautifully-made, animated film: Clean Water: A Long Journey from Source to Tap. Our newest film takes place in the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed. Watch as a park along Tacony Creek is transformed, to the benefit of the creek and to the joy of the community.

Help support education about the impacts of stormwater on our drinking water & communities! Donate directly to StormwaterPA.

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.

Green City, Clean Waters Promo from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

“Rain Gardens” Premiere at Spring into Science Education

It’s been out for a couple weeks now, but we are THRILLED with the response that our newest documentary has received! “Rain Gardens: Saving Streams One Yard at a Time” premiered two weeks ago at Spring into Science Education, which was co-hosted by EcoExpress and the Philadelphia Math + Science Coalition. Since then, we’ve received such wonderful, positive feedback!

Our EcoExpress program is running a contest related to the Rain Gardens documentary. Learn more here about how you could win a mini video camera to capture your own stories that change the world!

Our StormwaterPA program also features the documentary, with great stormwater management resources!

Below are some photos from the 3rd Annual Spring into Science Education Expo! We had such an amazing time. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! One of EcoExpress’ biggest fans, Adjoa, sent us some of these photos. Thanks, Adjoa! See more photos on the EcoExpress Facebook Page.





Highlights from EcoExpress and Stormwater blogs

As part of our mission, GreenTreks Network provides two main programs to provide people with multimedia resources to take action towards a more sustainable lifestyle. StormwaterPA provides video case studies and multimedia resources for the benefit of homeowners, municipalities, developers, landscapers, and clean water advocates. EcoExpress makes available GreenTreks’ extensive catalog of environmental documentaries for use by educators and students. Each of EcoExpress’ videos are correlated to state academic standards and feature related lesson plan materials.

The unifying aspect of both EcoExpress and StormwaterPA is that both initiatives provide engaging content focused on our local environment. Here are some recent highlights from both programs’ blogs.

EcoExpress.org

Leaf Litter and Its Role in Storm Water Management
By Anita Brook Dupree
“High winds and stormy weather seem like a terrible thing to most of us, but these winds help shed leaves from deciduous trees. These leaves have to be shed. This is a story about the good things that all those leaves do for the environment (especially in wooded areas, forests, parks and even your backyard).”
Read Full Blog on EcoExpress.org’s Main Page.

No Child Left Indoors: Writing for the Common Core
By Anita Brook Dupree
“The Common Core ELA standards require the fostering of three writing capacities: writing to explain, writing to persuade and writing to convey real or imagined experience. A simple walk around the schoolyard can be the experience needed to get your students’ writing jump started.”
Read Full Blog.

 

StormwaterPA.org

Report Back from the Schuylkill Action Network Annual Meeting
By Meghan Filoromo
The Schuylkill Action Network Annual Meeting on 11/16 was quite inspiring! SAN consists of over 300 members who are working together to promote and protect the Schuylkill River! See some of my notes, and find out how you can get involved.
Read Full Blog.

What Happens to Superfund Sites after a Superstorm?
By Meghan Filoromo
“This morning when I was about to head out the door, I caught an interesting (and alarming) story on Morning Edition on NPR.

What happens to Superfund sites after a Superstorm? A few weeks after Hurricane Sandy, many are worried about the toxic chemicals from nearby Superfund sites.”
Read Full Blog.

The Street Art of Stormwater Stencils
By Meghan Filoromo
“Far too frequently, people use storm drains as mini illegal dumping grounds. Stormwater drain marking projects are an amazing (and beautiful!) way to draw attention to these oft-neglected parts of the developed landscape.”
Read Full Blog.

Learning New Things Related to Sustainable Living

GreenTreks Network has been lucky to have volunteer David Hecht on board since June 2012. Dave is working with GreenTreks Network as part of the GlaxoSmithKline Pulse Volunteer Program. Today, Dave is guest-blogging to share some of his recent experiences being in Philadelphia.

PECO Green Roof by Dave Hecht

Over the years I have heard about the increase interest in the green infrastructure. We saw stories on television related to the greening of the Seattle and Portland, Oregon, areas. I am fortunate to volunteer through the GlaxoSmithKline Pulse program at GreenTreks Network Inc. They help tell stories that change the world. I have lived in Philadelphia over the last 3 months and have learned that this city is moving towards being a better sustainable city. Some private organizations have also been driven to this environmental goal. Over the last three weeks I have had a great opportunity to see two unique locations in the Philadelphia area. The first is at the Morris Arboretum and the second is the PECO office building in Center City Philadelphia. Both of the organizations have decided to work on having LEED-certified buildings.

Morris Arboretum Green Roof by Dave Hecht

The Morris Arboretum [featured in our Porous Pavement video] has a building that is Platinum-rated LEED Certified. Some of their buildings that impressed me were the green roofed storage/garage facilities. The two roofs grow different flora on them. The type flora grown is related to the depth of the soil. One roof is 2500 sq. ft with 4 inches of soil while the other is 3750 sq. ft with 8 inches of soil. Sedum is a typical growth since it is drought and temperature resistant.

A comparator roof is found on the 8th floor of the PECO building. This roof is much larger than the Morris roofs. It is 45,000 sq. ft of surface space with 4 inches thick with soil. It also has sedum and other flora growing on it.

The primary idea with having a roof with natural plant growth is stormwater management. The water that normally gets on roofs goes down the storm drain into our water supplies. Often there is waste or slit going in to the system along with the rain water. We know that we need to decrease the amount of runoff to help the waterways of our country.

PECO Green Roof by Dave Hecht

With the videos that GreenTreks produces we help show stories like these to give others a positive educational experience.

For the PECO Green Roof fact sheet, click here. It’s fascinating stuff!
To learn more about green infrastructure and stormwater management, visit StormwaterPA.org.