rain garden

We’re Wild About ‘Wonders of Water’: Come See PWD at the Flower Show!

Over here at the Philadelphia Water Department, there’s no shortage of people who proudly wear the “water geek” badge, and we’ve also got more than a few proponents of all things green and growing.

So, you can imagine our delight after learning that the theme of the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show would be Wonders of Water.

After all, PWD has been a wonder of the water world from the beginning: our Fairmount Water Works drinking water plant—surrounded by famous gardens with fountains and sculpture—drew curious visitors like Charles Dickens and Mark Twain from around the globe in the 1800s.

Now that the show’s final weekend is upon us, we can say that Wonders of Water has more than lived up to our nerdiest H2O dreams and grandest go-green expectations.

Whether it’s the lush rainforest spilling over with waterfalls or the far-out landscape of giant cacti showcasing flowers that thrive with almost no water at all, each exhibit is an exquisite exploration of the liquid that makes all plant life on Earth possible.

We got so excited for this year’s water theme, we even created an exhibit for visitors to explore—Home Green Home.

It’s a slice of a Philadelphia block transplanted to the Convention Center floor to showcase all the ways in which a local home interacts with water, from a bright flower-filled stormwater bumpout on the curb to the hidden pipes bringing drinking water to the tap and taking used water away.

'Home Green Home' at The Philadelphia Flower Show

There’s lots of signage to provide inside info and each point of interest in the display has a tip to help you protect water, so be sure to stop by and say hello if you’re coming—as long as supplies last, we’ll have Coreopsis seed packets to encourage natural stormwater gardens at home.

PWD will also have iPads where you can share your thoughts about drinking water quality.

The show runs through Sunday, March 11 and is at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch Streets. PWD’s Home Green Home is located just to the right of the PHS Shop beyond the Grand Exhibit.

If you come in through the Marriot gates above the Jefferson Station entrance at 11th and Market, look for a fun cut-out prop where you can pose as Water Woman, PWD’s trash and pollution fighting hydration superhero.

More Water-Geek Goodies
Of course, Home Green Home is not the only cool place to learn about local water issues at the Philadelphia Flower Show: look for more great stuff like Window on the Watershed, a big installation created through the William Penn Foundation’s Delaware River Watershed Initiative and the Alliance for Watershed Education.

At this exhibit, you’ll meet with members of local waterways groups like the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership and encounter “ecological lessons and stories of our own complex freshwater system—the Delaware River Watershed.”

There’s also Down the Drain, showcasing landscaping options—many of which you can get funding for through our Rain Check program—that you can use to manage stormwater and make your home more beautiful.

Be sure to check these out too:

The World’s Drinking Water by American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD)
This look at select countries that don’t have access to clean drinking water brings awareness to how precious clean drinking water is and how scarce access is for most people in the world. Countries are represented by intricate designs inspired by beautiful flowers.

Urbanization Meets Naturalization by Mercer County Community College Horticulture Program
In a world where our homes often encroach on nature, we need to find ways to make more sustainable choices. Whether we create more permeable surfaces, harvest and utilize rainwater, or make smarter plant choices, every action is a step towards building a more natural environment in an urban setting.

“…nary a drop to drink…” by U.S. EPA Region III
This exhibit has been designed to highlight the connection between watershed protection and our precious drinking water resources. In addition to instilling beauty, the conservation and enhancement of aquatic ecosystems in our own gardens promotes clean and healthy water, while serving as a sustainable landscaping practice.

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty səˌstānəˈbilədē by W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences
sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty səˌstānəˈbilədē depicts an urban residence with a landscape that is beautiful as well as sustainable. Features of this landscape include the use of rainwater collected in downspouts and rain barrels for plant irrigation and fountain sculptures. Solar panels are incorporated into a green roof gazebo and many novel planters are made from recycled materials. Diverse plants are displayed in the many micro-environments of this landscape from its rain gardens and hydroponic planters to its exposed roof surface.

Would You Drink the Water? by Williamson College of the Trades in partnership with Stroud Water Research Center
The seniors in Williamson College of the Trades Horticulture Program and the scientists at the Stroud Water Research Center hope you are inspired by this exhibit and learn the importance of small streams in the environment.

In this exhibit, we display some of the best management practices for improving water and habitat quality in small streams, which is where pollutants typically enter the waterway.

Forest buffers on streambanks keep pollutants from entering streams and provide leaves as food and shade to keep streams cool. The exhibit shows how riparian buffers play a critical role in improving water quality, providing aquatic and wildlife habitats for many species.

New Roxborough Mural Explores Local Watersheds, Lore and Mysterious History

Roxborough Paint Day  - 6/25/2017

 

The site of Roxborough’s Pocket Park project, nestled between two buildings along Ridge Avenue, now features the beginnings of a water- and history-themed mural—a bright new addition to a still-developing space that the community hopes will be a keystone attraction for residents and visitors.

Mural Arts worked with the Philadelphia Water Department and Roxborough Development Corp. (RDC) to commission Paul Santoleri, an internationally recognized artist and Roxborough native, to create the work.
Nearly 60 Roxborough neighbors and visitors, including U.S Congressman Dwight Evans, participated in a June 25 Roxborough Community Paint Day and worked side-by-side with Santoleri for a communal painting event that got the new work started.

Thursday: Point Breeze Residents to Build New Features for Lot Project

Following a successful June 10 community cleanup with Point Breeze neighbors that targeted a vacant lot at Point Breeze Avenue and Mifflin Street, we’re heading back to the space this Thursday for a special event with Philly’s Public Workshop:

Residents are invited to join this collaborative “community build” June 29 at 3 p.m. and construct decorative wooden benches and signs for the emerging neighborhood green space

Residents are invited to join this collaborative “community build” and construct decorative wooden benches and signs for the emerging neighborhood green space, which is set to become a rain garden through the Green City, Clean Waters program.

When complete, the plant-filled lot will protect Philadelphia’s rivers and creeks by soaking up stormwater and reducing sewer overflows. Read more about the project and cleanup effort here.

Over the last year, we have been working with Public Workshop, a community-building organization specializing in creative, hands-on events, to get Point Breeze residents excited about green projects planned for the neighborhood.

In addition to the cleanup activity, PWD and Public Workshop have worked with the nearby McDaniel Elementary School to get students thinking about how the Mifflin Street lot can benefit the neighborhood now and in the future as a green stormwater site.

This week’s building event will start at 3 p.m., and residents of all ages are invited to come pitch in.

Share the event on Facebook and invite your friends!

With help from Residents, Point Breeze Vacant Lot Is Becoming a River-Protecting Green Space

Point Breeze Cleanup & Block Party - June 2017

After two hot hours of picking up trash, weed-whacking, and sweeping at a vacant lot in Point Breeze, PowerCorps PHL’s Desmon Richardson, on hand with fellow crew members to bring some added muscle to the effort, suggested lining the small, triangular space with unused rocks from a pile sitting in the middle of the site.

Neighbors who’d been helping agreed: the natural-looking border was the perfect finishing touch for the renewed lot, concluding a sticky Saturday morning spent cleaning up the local eyesore.

Members of the Philadelphia Water Department’s Public Engagement team joined the local non-profit Diversified Community Services and area block captains on June 10 to clean the publicly-owned lot at Point Breeze Avenue and Mifflin Street—the future home of a rain garden that will soak up stormwater and bring regular maintenance to the site through Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program.

Similar efforts in other neighborhoods have led to dramatic improvements at formerly nuisance-plagued lots, something locals are hoping to repeat here.

Paint Day at Smith Playground: Learn About Green Improvements and Send Connor Barwin a Message

Connor Barwin joined partners in South Philadelphia to announce major improvements at the Smith Recreation Center, including Green City, Clean Waters investments that will protect local waterways. Credit: PWD
Connor Barwin joined partners in South Philadelphia to announce major improvements at the Smith Recreation Center, including Green City, Clean Waters investments that will protect local waterways. Credit: PWD

While Philly is mourning the news that Eagles defensive end and super citizen Connor Barwin is headed to another team, his Make the World Better Foundation has pledged to continue its good work and is moving forward on projects the fan-favorite helped to fund.

One of those projects is the renovation of West Passyunk’s Smith Playground, a total overhaul being led by the community, Parks and Recreation, the nonprofit Urban Roots, City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and SERVE Philadelphia.
Barwin helped raise $150,000 for the project and then matched that amount, just as he did when helping to fund improvements at the nearby Ralph Brooks Park in 2014.

Improvements at the 7.5-acre Smith Playground will include green upgrades that support the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Waters program and help to protect local waterways from stormwater pollution.
On top of getting new football and baseball fields, new green stormwater tools, and improvements for the rec center building and adjacent play spaces, this site will feature a Mural Arts installation by artists Kien Nguyen and Katie Yamasaki.

Philly's Latest Green Schoolyard Project Breaks Ground in Fishtown

On Tuesday, February 21, the Philadelphia Water Department joined a broad group of partners, including Fishtown residents, parents, teachers and students from the Adaire School community, City departments, the School District of Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land to break ground on Philadelphia’s latest green schoolyard project.

On hand were a number of public officials, including Mayor Jim Kenney, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite, Council President Darrell Clarke and Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis.

If that list of names and organizations seems long, that’s because it is: to make projects like this a success, it takes an entire community and support from both the City and nonprofit institutions.

Don’t Be a Member of the Lonely Yards Club: Start Planning a Rain Check Project This February

There is still plenty of winter left to sign up for Rain Check, says this ground hog!

For those Philly residents feeling the winter blues, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t exactly bring hope and relief when he popped out of his den on Ground Hog Day and decided we’re in for six more weeks of cold weather.

But, before you resign and decide to join ol’ Phil in another month-and-half of hibernation, let us offer you an optimistic antidote.

Rather than thinking of this Ground Hog Day forecast as a longer winter, think of it as more time to get started on that spring landscaping project you’ve been putting off!

In February alone, we have eight free Rain Check workshops scheduled in neighborhoods all over the city, providing you with lots of opportunities to start planning a discounted warm-weather upgrade for your home.

With Rain Check, you can sign up to get a free rain barrel installed this spring—and then spend the rest of winter coming up with a fun DIY design that will make it yours.

Cayuga Triangle Rain Garden Completes a Circle of Green in Juniata Park

Pastor David Scudder at right and, at left, members of the community with PWD, Councilwoman Sanchez and TTF Watershed Partnership. Credit: PWD
 Members of the community with PWD, Councilwoman Sanchez and TTF Watershed Partnership. Credit: PWD

When we build the green tools that make Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program work, our engineers and planners are thinking about how much stormwater we can manage with a given rain garden, tree trench, planter or other green infrastructure system. Protecting local waterways and dealing with water from storms that can create pollution is a big part of what we do at the Philadelphia Water Department.

But we also like to highlight the way these green investments can benefit a community—raising neighborhood pride, adding beauty to our streets, providing little pockets of nature—in addition to managing stormwater.

At a ribbon cutting held in November for a rain garden along Castor Avenue in Juniata Park, we heard a story that reminded us what a little extra green can mean for the people living nearby.

‘Tis the Season for Sustainability: Get a Jump on Discounted Home Greening Projects

The Philadelphia Water Department wants residents to know they can save money on outdoor landscaping and other green projects by signing up for the Rain Check program—and now's a great time to get started.

Signing up for the program in the winter is a smart way to beat the spring rush and avoid longer wait times for projects like rain barrels, rain gardens, downspout planters and more. All you have to do to get set up ahead of the busy season for discounted spring greening projects is attend one of our upcoming free workshops

Depending on temperatures, some projects can even be completed over winter.
Rain Check is a program that helps Philadelphia residents save money on landscaping projects that capture stormwater. The program is funded by PWD and managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia. See some examples of Rain Check projects here.

Participation in the program surges during the spring and summer when residents are focused on gardening and other outside work. To encourage off-season participation, Rain Check is offering two new incentives during winter workshops:

Enter a Monthly Raffle for an Artistic Rain Barrel
Each month between now and February, Rain Check will give a specially wrapped rain barrel to one randomly selected participant. All residents have to do is attend a Rain Check workshop. Winners can choose from three designs created by Philadelphia student artists and the Mural Arts Program.

Refer a Friend for Flower Show Tickets
Past Rain Check participants who get Philadelphia residents to come to a Rain Check workshop by February 20 will have a chance to win two free tickets to this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. Scheduled for March 11-19, this year’s show will highlight the rich horticultural offerings of Holland, and tickets at the door cost $35.

Those interested just have to spread the word about Rain Check and tell people to give their name when they register and attend a workshop. Check out the workshop schedule here and select a date and time that works for you.

Additional Rain Check workshops can also be scheduled at the request of community groups and other organizations by contacting Rosemary Howard at rhoward@pennhort.org or 215.988.8767.

How Rain Check Works
Rain Check is a Philadelphia Water Department program available to Philadelphia residents that helps people manage stormwater at home. Participants can get a free rain barrel and/or get a downspout planter, rain garden or permeable pavers installed at a reduced price.

Rain Check supports Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program, which is adding green features to neighborhoods across the City to keep excess stormwater out of sewers.

Since Rain Check started in 2012, nearly 3,500 residents have used the program to get a free rain barrel or discounted green project designed to manage stormwater runoff on their properties.

Participation from residents has led to hundreds of homes with features such as rain gardens, downspout planters filled with native plants, depaved yards, and driveways that can soak up rain thanks to permeable pavers. Because these projects help reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, PWD will contribute up to $2,000 toward improvements made through Rain Check.

Saving with Rain Check
Since the program’s start in June 2012, Rain Check participants have saved:

• $38,869 on depaving projects

• $171,832 on permeable pavers

• $88,438 on rain gardens

Over 3,000 residents have received free rain barrels and installation services, and more than 230 people used Rain Check to install garden planters connected to their downspouts at a cost of just $100.

Thinking About Going Green at Home with Rain Check? Here’s Why Now’s the Time

We’re going let you in on a little secret...

Fall and winter Rain Check workshops bring spring Rain Check projects!

While many think of spring and summer as the ideal time to do green improvements made easier through our Rain Check program—things like replacing a broken concrete pad with pretty permeable pavers or putting in a flower-filled downspout planter—there are some big advantages for those who sign up during the colder months.

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