Events

Mural, Pocket Park Being Celebrated Earth Day Weekend

Last summer, we joined artist Paul Santoleri and Roxborough and residents for a community painting event that laid the foundation for Watershed, the mural that now overlooks the neighborhood’s newest community green space–Roxborough Pocket Park.

Just in time for Earth Day weekend, Santoleri’s work is finished and will be celebrated with a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 21st. Starting at noon, the “Art Is Life” event also marks the official opening of the park and will feature food trucks, live music, and local artisans.

As sponsors of the mural, we will join Roxborough Development Corporation (RDC) in welcoming Watershed, which draws attention to the green transformation of the once-vacant asphalt lot at 6170 Ridge Ave.

Working alongside Mural Arts Philadelphia and RDC, we commissioned Santoleri–a Roxborough native–to create a piece of art that captured the essence of the new pocket park and the community’s relationship with water. The result was a vibrant blend of history and nature that invites the community and visitors to take a closer look.

Water elements, like the waves and ripples woven into each section of the mural, are reminders of how closely water connects all forms of life. The ball-like mass of water rolling downhill acknowledges Roxborough’s location at the top of a hill. As the divide between the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek, Roxborough feeds into two of Philadelphia’s seven watersheds.

Watershed is located within the Schuylkill watershed. On the opposite side of Ridge Avenue, most of the land drains into the Wissahickon Creek. In addition to Roxborough’s relationship with water, Santoleri pays tribute to the neighborhood’s connection to its past.

The mural includes historic folklore like the Cave of Kelpius, a local cave by the Wissahickon Creek that served as Johannes Kelpuis’ and his followers 1694 escape to wait for the end of the world. The red fox is a nod to those who claim Roxborough got its name from Kelpius’ writings describing the area as “where the fox burrows in the rocks.”

Watershed is also a complement to another exciting feature of the park – its green stormwater infrastructure.

The pocket park contains rain gardens and water-absorbing pavement that capture and filter polluted stormwater runoff before it enters our sewers and waterways. All of the species in the mural – from the red Bee Balm flowers to the red fox – are native to the Schuylkill and Wissahickon watersheds. The red salamander, which stands out thanks to a mosaic of tiles, is featured on PWD’s Wissahickon storm drain markers.

Storm drain markers are a fun reminder that every drain leads to a creek or a river. Philadelphia residents can participate in marking storm drains around their community by ordering a free wildlife marker kit for their specific watershed. You can monitor which drains need marking, check off the drains that you’ve marked, and report damaged or missing markers by using PWD’s storm drain marking app.

We hope to see you on Ridge Avenue! 

1,000 Greened Acres (So Far): It Took a City

1,000 (Green) Thank Yous from Mayor Kenney + PWD

While the Philadelphia Water Department designed the Green City, Clean Waters program, its scope has grown far beyond PWD since being approved by state and federal environmental agencies in 2011.

As we've seen over the last six years, to really transform Philadelphia's landscape on a scale that's big enough to have a real impact on our rivers, it takes more than just Water Department crews and contractors building rain gardens.

In fact, it takes a whole city working together, not to mention supportive partners on the state and federal level.

That’s why PWD, Mayor Kenney and our partners across City government put the spotlight on community groups, nonprofits, businesses, organizations and residents when we celebrated the 1,000th Greened Acre created under Green City, Clean Waters.

The diverse group of people and organizations at the City Hall 1,000 (Green) Thank Yous celebration was a real tribute to the dedicated coalition that’s working to protect Philadelphia’s water.

Much more than a number, the 1,000 Greened Acres you helped us build represent a true transformation of our urban landscape, one that’s having a positive impact on our waterways.

Today, green tools can keep nearly 28 million gallons of polluted runoff out of our rivers during just one inch of rain—an amount that can add up to a billion gallons of stormwater and sewer overflows not going into our waterways annually.

Without residents attending community meetings about projects or civic groups caring for local green tools through the Soak It Up adoption program, we would not be where we are today.

The same goes for businesses, large and small, using our grant programs to invest in green stormwater improvements on their properties…

…And for the schools across the city making rain gardens, permeable pavement and other green tools a central part of revitalizing schoolyards…

…And for the developers embracing the shared imperative of protecting our waterways by incorporating smart stormwater design into new projects

…And for our partners in departments throughout the City of Philadelphia, like Parks and Recreation and Streets, who work alongside us to bring landscaped green features to recreation centers, sidewalks, transit stations and more…

It would take up your whole day to actually list all 1,000 of the “thank yous” we owe, but you get the idea—it takes a whole city working together to achieve the big vision that is Green City, Clean Waters.

We still have nearly two decades to go before we reach our final goal—9,564 Greened Acres by 2036—and PWD looks forward to growing and strengthening the partnerships it will take to achieve rivers and creeks that are cleaner than they’ve been in generations.

Extra: How do Green Tools Work?

Join us at the Science Fest this Weekend and Celebrate 5 Years of Green City, Clean Waters!

 How Do You Play a Part in the Green City, Clean Waters Plan for the Future? Find Out at Science Fest!

Students filled out cards that let them tell their Green City, Clean Waters story on Earth Day. You can take part and tell your story at Science Fest! Credit: Philadelphia WaterStudents filled out cards that let them tell their Green City, Clean Waters story on Earth Day. You can take part and tell your story at Science Fest! Credit: Philadelphia Water

This Saturday, Philadelphia Water will be celebrating the fifth year of Philly’s revolutionary 25-year Green City, Clean Waters program at the Franklin Institute Science Carnival, part of this year’s Philadelphia Science Festival.

As it happens, the event will be at Penn’s Landing along the banks of the Delaware River, one of the waterways that will benefit the most as Green City, Clean Waters continues to grow over the next 20 years.

This Sunday, Run for Healthy Urban Streams


Click the image to sign up for the Healthy Trails 5K now!

 

Are you a runner/hiker who cares about the health of our urban parks and waterways?

Sign up now for the Healthy Trails 5K, a Philadelphia Water-sponsored event that’s helping to raise funds for the TTF Watershed Partnership, one of our key community partners.

Help Get a Buoy for Lake Erie!

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The Regional Science Consortium is in the running for a Grassroots Grant from the Boat U.S. Foundation and needs your vote to win the grant!

If selected, the Regional Science Consortium plans to use the grant money to support the Weather, Water and Wave Buoy System that will be deployed this May in the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie. This buoy will provide real-time data (every 20 minutes) on the lake conditions that everyone can access. The buoy system will be a tremendous benefit to the local community as well as to tourists.

Find more information on the water quality buoy.

Click here to vote for the buoy system in Pennsylvania at Lake Eire. You can vote once every day until March 28th.

Water Blues, Green Solutions Airing on WHYY

Tune into WHYY at 1:30pm this Sunday to catch the Water Blues, Green Solutions film by PennState! This film takes you through a journey across Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio, and the Bronx to explore what different cities and communities are doing to protect, restore, and preserve our rivers and sources of drinking water. Get an in depth look at how cities are utilizing a green infrastructure approach to tackle their water blues.

To find more information about the film, visit the Water Blues, Green Solutions webpage.

Registration for the 2014 Spokesdog Competition is Now Open!

The 2013 Spokesdog winner, Josie from Fitler Square

The Spokesdog Competition is back! This time, we’re looking for super-star dogs in Juniata and Lower Moyamensing neighborhoods to help educate pet owners and bark-buddies about the importance of picking up after their pets to keep our waterways clean.

The top dog will be asked to make an appearance at community events throughout the year and will be featured in promotional materials. The top three contenders will receive prize packages consisting of toys, treats and grooming.
Do you think your dog has Spokesdog potential? Enter your pooch into the Philly Water’s 2014 Spokesdog Competition.

Special Screening of GreenTrek’s Green City, Clean Waters Film

Whatever the weather may bring, GreenTreks will officially kick-off Spring on Thursday, March 20th with a special viewing of their 30 minute film, Green City, Clean Waters. PWD worked with GreenTreks to develop a movie that tells the story of our efforts to clean up waterways by transforming the cityscape. The movie explains the pollution challenges we face and the reasons for our green infrastructure solution. Following the screening, experts will share their experiences in getting students, local residents and businesses involved in improving our waterways and making Philly a healthier place.

The event is free, but to make sure you don’t miss out, reserve your seats!

Schuylkill Expedition for High School Students

Are you a high school student looking for exciting programs to be a part of this summer?

Schuylkill Acts and Impacts is a weeklong service-learning expedition that will be offered to high school students from communities within the Schuylkill River Watershed. From Saturday, June 7 to June 14, students will travel the 120-mile Schuylkill River from its headwaters in anthracite coal lands of Schuylkill County to its confluence with the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Participants will be guided downriver, where they will learn about issues impacting water quality.

The expedition includes:

  • Paddling stretches of the river with biologists to conduct water quality monitoring
  • Touring abandoned and active coal mines
  • Visiting farms to examine stream bank erosion
  • Exploring the streets of Philadelphia to learn more about their pioneering work in mitigating stormwater

This is an opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on!

To find more information about the Schuylkill Acts and Impacts Expedition and to apply click here.

Fishin' Around

Ever wonder what kinds of fish are fishin’ around in the Schuylkill River? Take a peek into the underwater world at the Fairmount Water Works’ lab to learn how fish can be biological indicators of the health of the river. Participants will discover that understanding the river’s ecosystem can help us provide safe and high quality tap water. After the lesson, participants can practice the traditional Japanese art form of Gyotaku (fish printing).

Science Saturday events will be held at the Fairmount Water Works every Saturday this March from 2pm-4pm every half hour.

To learn more about this Science Saturday and other exciting things going on at the Fairmount Water Works, read their latest newsletter.

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