Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

Pssst: Tips for the 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest


Philly students: Do you care about protecting our drinking water and aquatic wildlife? Have artistic talent? Want to win prizes for yourself, your teachers and your school?

The 2017 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest is now underway, and the deadline for submissions has just been extended! We want you to send your best creative work showing what people can do to protect our rivers and creeks by Friday, March 17, 2017.

Three winning drawings are selected from each of the four grade groups: K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, and 9th-12th.

For the last eight years, we’ve been working with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) to organize this contest—open to all K-12 students that attend public, private, or home school in Philadelphia—and that’s given us a pretty good idea about what makes for a winning entry.

Here are a few tips to guide your creativity:

Student Artists: Do You Have the Vision to Make Philly Care About Clean Water?

Erika Shrayer of Baldi Middle School won 1st place for the 6th Grade age group last year. Credit: PWD/PDE
Erika Shrayer of Baldi Middle School won 1st place for the 6th Grade age group last year. Credit: PWD/PDE

When Philly kids understand what it takes to be a good watershed steward from an early age, it can lead to lifelong habits that help to keep trash and other pollution out of our stormwater system and waterways.

That’s one reason we hold our annual Green City, Clean Waters student art contest with Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

Another reason? Our local schools happen to be packed with creative minds, and these kids seem to be especially good at communicating the basics of good watershed stewardship with art that’s both direct and fun.

Year after year, we’re pleasantly surprised at the quality of the art that comes in, and last year we had over 1,300 submissions. The deadline for 2016 is Friday, February 26.

Coast Day: Free Boat Rides, LEGO Boats and New Storm Drain Mascots!

Kayakers enjoy a free trip on the Delaware during the 2014 Pa. Coast Day Celebration. Credit: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
Kayakers enjoy a free trip on the Delaware during the 2014 Pa. Coast Day Celebration. Credit: Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

It's once again time for Pennsylvania Coast Day, and that means over 550 people will enjoy a free boat ride on Sept. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Penn’s Landing.

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) will give away over 350 tickets for the RiverLink Ferry and 150 tickets for the Patriot during the event, which Philadelphia Water helps to sponsor. Both tours will be narrated, and guests can also enjoy free kayaking and pedal boating in Penn’s Landing Marina.

“Many people don’t realize the Delaware River is something they can experience and enjoy,” said Lisa Wool, program director at PDE. “This festival changes that by getting people on the water with their families, many for the first time.”

Philadelphia Water will also use Coast Day to roll out our new storm drain markers, which are now  customized to represent aquatic creatures from each of our city's seven watersheds. Here are two we made for storm drains that feed into the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers:
New storm drain markers for the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.We'll be spreading the word about the new markers and giving out kits community groups can use to mark drains in their neighborhoods. To learn more and order a marking kit for your area, visit this page

Other attractions include free face painting, free arts and crafts, free prizes, exhibits and more. A shuttle will also take you to our Fairmount Water Works museum site, where programs showcasing the city’s other coast, the tidal Schuylkill River, are always free.

Visitors can also venture inside the Independence Seaport Museum, where admission ranges from $10 to $15. This will get them up close with TEACH FLEET, the world’s largest collection of LEGO model ships. Its centerpiece is the new RV Hugh Sharp, modeled after a research vessel owned by the University of Delaware.
The Philadelphia Ship Model Society will also race motorized models in Penn’s Landing Marina. And the oil-spill boat DELBAY will be open for tours.

Other sponsors for Pennsylvania Coast Day include the Pennsylvania Coastal Resources Management Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Fairmount Water Works, and Independence Seaport Museum.
More information is available at DelawareEstuary.org/Coast-Day. and by calling (800) 445-4935, extension 112.

UPDATE: Almost 10K Pounds of Trash Removed; Can You Help Too?

A crew of volunteers celebrates after hauling an impressive load of trash from the Delaware River. Credit: Living Lands and Waters.
A crew of volunteers celebrates after hauling an impressive load of trash from the Delaware River. Credit: Living Lands and Waters.

Philadelphia Water is sponsoring a big clean up on the Delaware River with Living Lands and Waters and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, and we're still looking for some fresh volunteers out on the water. In the first few clean up days, members of the community who care about the health of the Delaware have already collected nearly 10,000 pounds of trash!

That's almost five tons of litter and other pollution that would otherwise be hurting wildlife habitats and damaging a major Philadelphia drinking water source.
So don't just imagine what we could accomplish with a few more volunteer crewsput an exclamation point on the end of your summer and join us!

Clean ups will be held this week and weekend, and continue through Tuesday, September 1. Designated work days will include two shifts, one from 9 a.m. to noon and one from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. In order to coordinate sites, all volunteers must RSVP by clicking here and filling out the form a the bottom of the page. Supplies and free food will be provided.

Cleaning crews will be based out of the following locations:

Penn’s Landing – 101 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19106 (Walnut East parking lot, closest to the Seaport Museum and Marina)

Ridley Park Marina- 401 S Swarthmore Ave Ridley Park, PA 19078

Delair Boat Ramp – 17 Derousse Avenue Pennsauken, NJ 08110

More details will be emailed to volunteers prior to event.

Living Lands & Waters is an Illinois-based environmental organization established by Chad Pregracke in 1998. Read more about the fascinating story behind Living Lands and Waters on their website. Questions? Contact Living Lands and Waters at 563.505.8321 or amber@livinglandsandwaters.org.

From the Living Lands and Waters Instagram account:

Almost 10,000lbs of trash removed from the #DelawareRiver in just three #rivercleanups! #Philadelphia

A photo posted by Living Lands & Waters (@livinglandsandwaters) on

Student Street Art Spreads Important Message

Juliette Kang, a 4th grader from Germantown Friends who took one of the top prizes, installs her art at Penn's Landing with family and friends.
Juliette Kang, a 4th grader from Germantown Friends who took one of the top awards, installs her art at Penn's Landing with family and friends. Credit: PDE.

Our Green City, Clean Waters 2015 Art Contest is a gift that keeps on giving.

Throughout August, we’ve been working with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary to turn hand-drawn art submitted by local students into street art that's being placed near stormdrains in select locations across the city.
These fun, eye-catching installations, which originated from 1,300 student submissions, help spread an important message: only rain should go down the drain.

It might seem obvious to many of us, but for a long time, people thought of stormdrains as just another place to get rid of trash and, worse, unwanted household chemicals like motor oil from at-home oil changes, old paint and cleaning fluids. Because these sewers empty directly into the rivers and streams that provide wildlife habitats and our drinking water, that kind of dumping can be very harmful.
With their art, these students are helping to turn the tide on that kind of behavior and reminding all of us to make sure our street inlets are treated like what they are—direct links between our neighborhoods and waterways—and not like Dumpsters.

You can already find student art near Penn's Landing (in the Walnut Street Plaza, near the parking lot); at our Saylor Grove wetland installation in Fairmount Park; at Gifford Park (by the main park entrance) in the Far Northeast; at Picariello Playground (inside the playground) in the Morrell Park neighborhood; and at Lanier Park at 30th Street and Tasker in South Philly.
Over the next week, the creative output of these students will be affixed to the streets, sidewalks or other hard surface near drains in the following places:

• Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center, Catharine Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway
• 30th Street Station, Market Street and 30th Street
• Ralph Brooks Park, Fernon Street and 20th Street
• McPherson Square, E Street and E. Indiana Avenue
• Philadelphia Protestant House, Tabor Avenue and Martins Mill Road
• Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, West Chelton Avenue and North 18th Street
• Max Myers Playground, Hellerman Street
• Lanier Park, Tasker and 30th Street
• Guerin Recreation Center, 16th and Jackson
• Moss Park, 5700 Torresdale Avenue
   

 If you see some, take a photo and share it on social media with the hashtags #PhillyWaterArt and #CleanWaterArt and help spread this important message! As we do the installations, we’ll take photos and share them, so be sure to follow along on Twitter at @PhillyH2O and @DelawareEstuary

End Summer with a Bang: Volunteers Still Needed on the Delaware!

Event flyer
Click on the image above for larger, shareable version of the event flyer.

Looking for a fun way to do some volunteer work before the summer ends?
Time is running out, but we have just the event for you. Philadelphia Water is joining the nonprofit Living Lands and Waters and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary in an upcoming Delaware River cleanup event, and we need your help!

Join us as we clean up the Delaware River through September 1. Cleanups will be held on designated work days from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. While the deadline for signups was August 14, we're still looking for volunteers on all days. Please join us and RSVP here!

All events will be based out of the following locations:

Penn’s Landing – 101 S Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19106 (Walnut East parking lot, closest to the Seaport Museum and Marina)
Ridley Park Marina- 401 S Swarthmore Ave Ridley Park, PA 19078
Delair Boat Ramp – 17 Derousse Avenue Pennsauken, NJ  08110

More details will be emailed to volunteers prior to event.
Supplies and free food will be provided, and large groups are encouraged to register now.

Living Lands & Waters is an Illinois-based environmental organization established by Chad Pregracke in 1998. Read more about the fascinating story behind Living Lands and Waters on their website. Questions? Contact Amber at 563.505.8321 or amber@livinglandsandwaters.org.

Wanted: A Few Good Spokesdogs for Healthy Water

Above: Last year’s Juniata Spokesdog, Gracie, after winning the crown. Credit: PDE and Philadelphia Water.
Above: Last year’s Juniata Spokesdog, Gracie, after winning the crown. Credit: PDE and Philadelphia Water.

It’s that time of year again, and two new neighborhoods are about to crown Philadelphia Water Spokesdogs.

For 2015, Fishtown and Washington Square West were selected as competing locales for the contest, which has been selecting a special pooch to spread the word about poo-lution since 2011. We’ll be accepting nominations for dogs from those neighborhoods through July 15. Guidelines and submission forms are available here. The Spokesdog program is held annually with the help of our friends at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

As always, the goal is to raise awareness about keeping dog waste out of our waterways by getting it off sidewalks, streets and grass right away with proper disposal techniques. We all know it’s pretty gross (and rude!) when pet owners don’t clean up after their furry friends, but many people don’t think about the health consequences, especially as they relate to water.

When pet waste is left on the sidewalks, streets or other surfaces, it gets washed into street-level sewer intakes by rain and ends up in our creeks and rivers completely untreated. That can lead to the presence of dangerous germs and excess nutrients that make water unsafe for recreation and more expensive to treat.

Here's what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say about the impact of waste left behind by careless pet owners:

Decaying pet waste consumes oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife.  Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth (eutrophication).  Cloudy and green, eutrophic water makes swimming and recreation unappealing or even unhealthy.

As you can see, the environmental and public health threat is serious, and that's why we need a top-notch doggie to help show others the importance of bagging waste and putting it in a proper receptacle.

Typically, 30-80 dogs register in each neighborhood every year, so the competition is no joke. Of those, about a dozen dogs get selected for the doggie pageant, and best in show (determined with online votes in August) becomes Spokesdog.
With the crown come some real responsibilities—and some cool goodies.

Winning spokesdogs and their caretakers will attend at least three community events in 2015, distributing information on living the eco-friendly dog life. Small bag dispensers that clip to leashes and educational tipcards will be provided to hand out at these events. The educational tipcard explains how dog waste left on the ground breaks down and washes into local stormdrains every time it rains.

So, how about those prizes?

The 1st Place Spokesdog—“Philly Water’s Best Friend”—gets the following:

• $200 prize from a local business

• Image used in promotional pieces

• Toy & cookie prize pack

For the Runner Up (picked in case the 1st Place Spokesdog is unable to fulfill their duties):

• $50 prize from a local business

• Toy & cookie prize pack

All finalists in attendance at the awards ceremony will also receive a toy and cookie prize.
If you know of a worthy pup from Washington Square West or Fishtown, send in your application now and vote for them to become Philly famous!

Philly Student Artists Awarded in Green City, Clean Waters Contest

Winners from the K-2nd grade category celebrate along the Schuylkill with judge Tiffany Ledesma. Photo: Brian Rademaekers
Winners from the K-2nd grade category celebrate along the Schuylkill with judge Tiffany Ledesma. Photo: Brian Rademaekers 

Dozens of budding artists from schools all over the city came out to the Fairmount Water Works to claim their prizes after taking top spots in our Green City, Clean Waters 2015 Art Contest, hosted by Philadelphia Water and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE).

Looking at the truly impressive quality of their work, it’s clear that Philadelphia Water is also a big winner this year. Thanks to the more than 1,300 students who took time to create posters and videos reflecting our “Only Rain Down the Storm Drain” theme, we now have tons of incredible art to help spread the word about protecting our watersheds.

“It was really tough for us to pick winners this year because there were just so many amazing submissions to pick from,”  Tiffany Ledesma, a judge for K-2nd grade entries and member of the Green City, Clean Waters public engagement team, told students and families at the April 28 ceremony.  

Winning students and their teachers from Germantown Friends School, Maritime Academy Charter School, C.C.A Baldi Middle School, St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls, Archbishop Ryan High School, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology (PCAT) at Foundations, Inc. and Aspira, Inc. of Pennsylvania took home gift cards, a variety of art supplies for their schools, framed certificates, and a contest calendar featuring their artwork.

In addition to the calendar, the winning artwork was used to create street art and SEPTA advertisements that will be seen around the city in the coming months and help spread the word about keeping litter and pollutants off of our streets and out of our waterways. Winning videos were posted to Philadelphia Water’s Vimeo page  and shared on social media sites for Green City, Clean Waters and PDE.

Stop by the Water Works center next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a free copy of the calendar and check out the videos on the sites above. 

Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to all the students who submitted work and helped get the Green City, Clean Waters message out! 

Click here to check out more photos from the awards ceremony.  

Put a Little Mussel Into It!


Westcott Phillip, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

If you’ve never been to the Wagner Free Institute of Science  at 1700 West Montgomery Avenue (not far from Temple University), then this coming Thursday, February 26, is a great chance to visit this “unusual natural science and history museum in its original Victorian setting.” At 6pm, Dr. Danielle Kreeger, Science Director for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), will give a talk on Aquatic Underdogs: How Freshwater Mussels Can Help Save our Great Waters

The mission of the PDE (which the Philadelphia Water Department works closely with!) is “to lead science-based and collaborative efforts to improve the tidal Delaware River and Bay, which spans Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.” Among these efforts is Dr. Kreeger’s work on the ecology and restoration of bivalve shellfish and coastal wetlands, as well as climate adaptation, living shorelines, and ecosystem services. 

And freshwater mussels are some amazing—if severely challenged—little bivalves in need of restoration. PDE has great info about freshwater mussels including how they, as filter feeders, “suck water in and trap solids such as dirt, algae and other pollutants then release the clean filtered water back into the environment.” 

Unfortunately, as the title of Dr. Kreeger’s lecture suggests, the freshwater mussels in this area have faced a steep decline, from over a dozen different species to just one now commonly found in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The freshwater mussel has been described as “the most imperiled of all organisms in North America.” Dr. Kreeger’s presentation “will describe the fascinating lifestyle and status of freshwater mussels and chronicle how local efforts to restore these animals will protect our waterways.”

The museum at the Wagner Free Institute of Science (often called a museum of a museum) will be open prior to the lecture, which begins at 6pm. There is no cost to attend but registration is required. Click here to register.


Freshwater Mussels from the Unionidae Collection at the Wagner Free Institute of Science

2015 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest seeking next great Philly Street Artist!

Street art by Faruq Adger
Storm drain art by Faruq Adger, 5th grade, Germantown Friends School. Photo by Shaun Bailey, courtesty of the Partnership of the Delaware Estuary.

Calling the next Banksy or Steve Powers, a.k.a. ESPO!

Philadelphia is a city filled with street art. In fact, Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program is the largest public art program in the country and their motto is “…art ignites change.” We agree and we’re looking for some aspiring young artists to create street art that will help us spread the word that pollution entering our storm drains can end up in our rivers.

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is now accepting entries on behalf of the Philadelphia Water Department for its Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest! The deadline for entries is February 28, 2015. A brochure with all of the contest rules and specs for the pictures and videos can be found by clicking on this link.

Students in grades K-12 can enter by creating a drawing and/or video showing others how to stop polluted water from entering local storm drains.

Last year’s first-place winner—Esme Fa Harrison from Germantown Friends School—was featured on WHYY’s Newsworks.org after her creation was turned into street art near a Germantown Avenue stormwater inlet. This year’s first-place winner will get to see their artwork digitally enhanced and enlarged to be placed in the streets of Philadelphia, reminding everyone that only rain should go in the storm drain.  Please encourage a student you know to enter for a shot at his or her own street art fame!

Other winning drawings will be made into advertisements used on SEPTA buses, featured in a free calendar in the spring, and posted along with winning videos on the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Philadelphia Water Department Office of Watersheds, and other sponsors’ websites. 

Winning individuals and teams will have a chance at gift cards of up to $100 in value, a variety of art supplies for their schools, framed certificates, and a contest calendar featuring their artwork. Teachers of winning students will each receive $50 gift cards. The first three schools or organizations to submit over 100 entries will receive $100 gift cards.

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