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.
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.
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
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.
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.