Schuylkill Action Network

Schuylkill River Volunteers Haul Tons of Litter from Bartram’s Garden

A student from North Philly's Mastery Prep Middle School goes the extra mile to get some litter along the Schuylkill River shoreline. Credit: PWD
A student from North Philly's Mastery Prep Middle School goes the extra mile to get some litter along the Schuylkill River shoreline. Credit: PWD

Our first volunteer cleanup of 2017 with United By Blue had a great turnout—and even got an honorary "Best Field Trip Ever"  designation from one of the dozens of students who attended:

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:

Record-Setting ‘Sojourn’ Highlights the Schuylkill River’s Wild Beauty

Philadelphia Water's Paul Fugazzotto paddles to the finish of the 2016 Schuylkill Sojourn. A record 205 people joined the annual event this year. Photo credit: Brian Rademaekers
Philadelphia Water's Paul Fugazzotto paddles to the finish of the 2016 Schuylkill Sojourn. A record 205 people joined the annual event this year. Photo credit: Brian Rademaekers

If you happened to be in Philadelphia admiring the Schuylkill River’s picturesque beauty from afar last week, you might have been startled by what appeared to be an enormous flock of florescent birds, all of them rhythmically flapping their wings on the shimmering water:

Those “birds,” of course, were actually the 100-plus paddlers propelling the rainbow of brightly hued kayaks and canoes that made up the annual Schuylkill Sojourn. A seven day journey covering 112 miles of the Schuylkill River from its Schuylkill County headwaters all the way to Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row, the event has been held since 1998.

First Schuylkill Scrub of 2016 Cashes in on Collaboration

A volunteer from Parks and Recreation gathers trash from the banks of the Schuylkill River at Bartram's Garden.
A volunteer from Parks and Recreation gathers trash from the banks of the Schuylkill River at Bartram's Garden. 

Tires, TVs, lots and lots of plastic bottles and ... a check for $32,000?

You never know what you’ll find when picking up trash along Philly’s rivers.

Schuylkill Action Network Wants to Hear from You

Contestants in the 2015 Philly Fun Fishing Fest soak in the river at Schuylkill Banks. What do you want for the future of the Schuylkill River?
Contestants in the 2015 Philly Fun Fishing Fest soak in the river at Schuylkill Banks. What do you want for the future of the Schuylkill River? Tell SAN by clicking here. (Credit: Philadelphia Water)

The Schuylkill Action Network, one of our key partners in efforts improve the health of the Schuylkill River, wants to hear from the people who live near this incredible natural resource and depend on the waterway for drinking water.

SAN is collaborative network of over 100 organizations—including federal, state, and local government partners, schools and more—all working to protect and restore the Schuylkill River watershed. Right now, they’re developing a 5-year strategic plan to improve this amazing regional treasure.
And they want your input to make that plan the best that it can be.

SLA Beeber and greenSTEM Grab Award for Drinking Water Week

SLA Beeber students accept the Schuylkill Scholastic Drinking Water Award on May 4. Credit: Melissa Bittner, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
SLA Beeber students accept the Schuylkill Scholastic Drinking Water Award on May 4. Credit: Melissa Bittner, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

For most people, watering the garden is an inexact science at best. At worst, unnecessary watering is a double whammy of waste: throwing away good, clean water while increasing the risk of plant problems like mildew and root rot.


But what if you could pop onto your computer or phone and tap into a system that tells you just how much moisture is in your soil, how much sun and heat your plants are getting, and when watering is needed?


That’s exactly what the students at the Science Leadership Academy at Beeber (SLA Beeber) in the city’s Overbrook neighborhood can do when they want to know whether it’s time to turn on the hose at the campus rain garden, and it’s all thanks to a Philadelphia Water partnership called the greenSTEM (that’s short for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Network.


From the greenSTEM website:


The greenSTEM Network connects students to real-time information about their school gardens. Through a collaboration between developers, scientists, designers, and educators, we provide public access to information collected by a network of low-cost, DIY sensor kits spread throughout the city for educational purposes. Our mission is to promote Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program through STEM education and support the development of the Fairmount Water Works Understanding the Urban Watershed curriculum.

The greenSTEM program’s high-tech network of garden sensors is getting attention during National Drinking Water Week (May 3-9) after the Schuylkill Action Network (SAN) honored SLA Beeber’s students with their annual Schuylkill Scholastic Drinking Water Award during a May 4 presentation. SLA Beeber was one of three award winners in 2015. SAN also honored Reading Area Community College in Berks County and Blue Mountain Middle School in Schuylkill County for projects they completed on their campuses.


SLA Beeber students worked with Philadelphia Water to build and install the environmental sensors, called “root kits,” in the rain garden and can now monitor soil moisture and temperature through a webpage that features an interactive tree where the colors of leaves indicate whether a garden needs watering.  Individual branches on the tree represent garden sensors at SLA Beeber, Greenfield Elementary in Center City, George W. Nebinger School in Queen Village and Cook-Wissahickon Elementary in Roxborough. 

“Projects like this one are very important for keeping the Schuylkill Watershed clean,” Tom Davidock, senior coordinator of the SAN at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, wrote on the group’s website. “Schools provide that direct link to communities and can teach all of us simple things we can all do to keep our rivers and streams healthy. The students at the Science Leadership Academy at Beeber are involved in a small project that can have a big impact on the watershed.”


Congratulations to the students at SLA Beeber and all the people at Philadelphia Water who make the greenSTEM Network the incredible program that it is!


More About greenSTEM:
 The greenSTEM Network started as a collaboration between the Philadelphia Water and members of Code For Philly at the TechCamp hackathon in February 2013. This unique partnership between a city agency and civic hackers furthers the relationships between technology, education, and environmental stewardship. Grant funding for the greenSTEM Network is provided by NOAA’s Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. They have also received Seed Project funding from Drexel University’s ExCITe Center.

Schuylkill River Photo Contest


The Schuylkill Action Network is hosting its annual photo contest once again! Anyone can submit up to six high-quality photos to the competition via the Schuylkill Action Network’s facebook page. There are three categories- Wild & Scenic, Fun on the Schuylkill, and Tip Top Tap, however it is not necessary to identify which category the photos belong to. Photos will be judged by the Schuylkill Action Network and the public! The top three photos will receive prizes from Calumet Photographic, REI or Amazon.com. After the judges choose the top 10 photos, voting will be opened to the public to make the final decision.


To learn more about the contest, please visit this link.

The Schuylkill Action Network closes Beer Week & the Schuylkill Sojourn with a celebration of Stonefly IPA

This Friday, June 7th, the members of the Schuylkill Sojourn (who are paddling to Pottstown today) will arrive in Philadelphia at Boat House Row. The Schuylkill Sojourn is a weeklong kayaking and camping expedition along the Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill Action Network, a supporter of the Sojourn, has also teamed up with the Saucony Creek Brewing Company on a fun project to protect and highlight the Schuylkill River. Recognizing that good beer requires clean water, the brewery crafted its Stonefly IPA. Named for the Stonefly, an insect that thrives in clean water, the beer not only symbolizes watershed health, but a portion of the proceeds are also donated by the brewery to Schuylkill watershed protection efforts.

The founder and brewer at Saucony Creek Brewing Company will join the Schuylkill Sojourn kayakers on Friday to usher a ceremonial keg of Stonefly IPA down river to a short press conference on the deck of the Fairmount Water Works at 4:30 pm to toast our vital Schuylkill waters. 

Following the press conference on Friday, the keg will continue on along the river, this time by bike, to Grace Tavern for a Philly Beer Week Event featuring Stonefly IPA. All are welcome, so come on out and help us protect the Schuylkill River one beer at a time. 

Join the facebook event here!

Syndicate content