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!

Kensington Green Street Unveiled

As noted in this post, City officials, community partners, and the Philadelphia Water Department celebrated the completion of the first in a series of stormwater-friendly GREEN STREETS last week. We were there to capture all the action and created a video snapshot featuring Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis, New Kensington CDC Director Sandy Salzman, and some local residents.

Check it out — and visit Soak it Up, Philly! for a complete schedule of upcoming events.

Kensington Green Street from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

Soak it Up, Philly!

Unless you’ve been pulling a Rip van Winkle lately, you’ve heard it before: As part of its long-term commitment to improving the health of the City’s waterways, the Philadelphia Water Department is focusing a great deal of attention on a “greening” approach.

What you may not realize is just how many PWD “green infrastructure” projects are popping up all over the city. Or how they are having a truly transformative effect on the ‘hoods where they’re being put into place.


The first of a series of public events unveiling some of the projects (see Soak it Up, Philly) was held March 1 in Fishtown where Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources and Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Mike DiBerardinis, New Kensington Community Development Corporation President Sandy Salzman, and other dignitaries were on hand to celebrate the completion of Philadelphia’s first stormwater-friendly GREEN STREET.

A green street restores some of our urban landscape’s natural function by capturing rain or snowmelt (stormwater runoff) and allowing it to soak into the soil instead of flowing directly into the City’s sewer system. This not only helps reduce pollution and prevents flooding, it brings a host of other benefits to a neighborhood, including beautification, cleaner air, and a renewed sense of community pride.

The Waterview Recreation Center in the East Falls neighborhood uses the same kind of stormwater tree trenches that were used in Fishtown. This video explains more about why rainwater runoff is a problem and how these “green tools” work:

Keeping Water On Site: Waterview Recreation Center from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

For everything you ever wanted to know about runoff and what’s being done about it, visit StormwaterPA.org.

For more videos about Philly’s exciting Green City, Clean Waters program, check out our Vimeo Channel.

And be sure to follow PWD’s Blog.

Philly Hosts another Green Conference: Cities Alive

Hot on the heels of the recent Low Impact Development Symposium at the Loews Hotel, Philly will host another flock of transformative thinkers the end of next month.

Cities Alive, the 9th annual Green Roof & Wall Conference, is coming to the City of Brotherly Love November 29-December 3, 2011.

This international event is co-hosted by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the City of Philadelphia Office of Sustainability, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Why here, you ask? Check out the video from our friends at PHS for a few of the answers. All in all, we’d say this is just one more indication that Philadelphia is at the leading edge of the sustainability curve.


For More information visit Cities Alive.

Active Philly: Multi-Sport Connects Fitness, Health, and Environment in our Urban Oasis

It’s that time of year again, when all hometown eyes are focused on the nation’s largest urban park system and the waterway that wends through the city: the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon takes place this weekend, so if you’re not racing, come out an watch.



This event has been called one of the nation’s best, and it’s near and dear to GreenTreks, not only because our Executive Director Barry Lewis has competed since the race’s inception, but because it highlights the key role a healthy environment plays in our lives.

Imagine if the Schuylkill River wasn’t surrounded by a system of parks to act as a buffer against runoff: there would be no way the swim-bike-run event could be held.*

*NOTE: In spite of the vast improvement in the Schuylkill’s water quality over the past decade, major storms flush significant amounts of pollutants and sediments into the river, so the swim portion is always dependent upon the weather in the days leading up to the race. For an up to date assessment of water quality, based on predictive models, check out phillyrivercast.org. At last check, at 11:30 am on Friday morning, the water quality was good and the water temperature was 79 degrees.

Imagine if we didn’t plan and care for greenspace by maintaining pathways through tree covered landscapes to provide shade and produce oxygen: how enjoyably could we ride and run amidst the paved in, built up city environment that heats like an oven at this time of year?

Imagine if we didn’t have a committed community of athletes, advocates, sponsors, city officials, and volunteers: the coordination, logistics, expense, and personnel requirements of hosting more than 4,00 athletes for a series of multi-sport events would never happen and could never result in such a rich experience for participants without every single person involved.

This year, we’re even more excited about the event, because race management is embarking upon a series of greening initiatives to reduce the event’s environmental footprint and give back to the community that makes the race possible. You can learn more about the initial phase of the race going green, which involves a partnership with Nathan Performance Gear and benefits the Fairmount Park Conservancy here >>

Actually, we’re over the moon about the 2011 race because Barry, who was selected as USA Triathlon’s 2010 Masters Duathlete of the Year, is once again competing as a member of Team PHLY–and they’re partnering with the Challenged Athletes Foundation to RACE FOR A REASON. If you think a triathlon is challenging, check out this video about CAF. Be prepared to be inspired.


Support CAF >>

Then get out and go after your dreams!