The Tree House at the Andorra Natural Area



The Tree House at the Andorra Natural Area
spring 2012
The mission of the Friends of the Wissahickon is to preserve
sthe natural beauty and wildness of the Wissahickon Valley
and stimulate public interest therein.
F RI EN DS o f t h e W I S S A H I C K ON
Abo ut th e Park
Ab ou t Us
Con servat ion & Resto rat io n
Volun teering
News & Even ts
Memb ersh ip & Su pp o rt
F req uent Q u estion s
Ne ws Item Aysg i R ea yed Ba ye g fa . >>
Ne ws Item Aysg i R ea yed Ba ye g fa . >>
Ne ws Item Aysg i R ea yed Ba ye g fa . >>
Vo l u nt e e r Bdgi shadh faiduyf aisud
fbaiusf aoudf bsb osdbfsao.
Do na t e No w Bdgi shadh faiduyf aisud
fbaiusf ao udbfosdbfsao.
Re po r t a p r o bl e m
l e a r n t h e is s u e s Consecte tuer adipisc ing elit , se d diam n onummy n ibh euis mod tinc idun t ut lao reet
dolo re magna aliquam era t vo lutp at. Ut wisi enim ad minim ve niam, qu is n ostrud
exerci t atio n he ndr erit in vulp utat e ve lit es c onse quat , ve l illum dolo ugia t nu lla.
Bdgi shadsud fbaiusf aoudf bsb
maos udbfosdbfsao.
Bdgi shadh faiduyf aisud
fbaiusfos udbfosdbfsao. The
Tree House
at the Andorra
Natural Area
sear ch
Fo l l o w U s o n
S h ar e Th i s
Conta ct Us
FOW Launches
New Website
Rec ei ve E- ne ws let te r
Sec ur e Log I n
Si tem ap
p. 3
Complete the
Park User Survey
p. 4
Town Meeting:
Creek in Crisis?
p. 7
H 54 L44
Current Forecast >
see page 8
photo by Nancy Ballard (1970-71) courtesy of Wissahickon Environmental Center
From the Director
by Maura McCarthy
ast year, the Wissahickon Environmental Center (WEC) at the
Andorra Natural Area celebrated its 30th anniversary. The Friends
of the Wissahickon has long partnered with and supported
the “Tree House “ and its staff in their efforts to offer accessible
environmental programming to Philadelphia school children and
families. And so it was fitting that before the year was out, we were
able to secure a $150,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources for capital improvements to the
Photo by Laurie Beck Peterson
Andorra Natural Area. This grant will enable FOW to make this area of
the Wissahickon a more suitable educational facility for visitors to the
WEC, with restored trails, a compost toilet, and improved signage. You can read more about this project,
the Tree House, and the Andorra Natural Area on page eight.
The whole of the Wissahickon is an environmental education opportunity and FOW has a long history
of engaging the public in the natural life of the park. We have offered a consistent stream of lectures and
other outreach activities for many years, but it is because of the enthusiasm and dedication of our Trail
Ambassadors that we have been able to expand our programming. In 2011 alone, Trail Ambassadors led
a total of 37 free hikes in the Wissahickon. In January,
talented Trail Ambassadors Bruce Wagner and Sarah West
began offering free lectures at The Cedars House
(see p. 12).
Expansion like this has been the norm at FOW over
the last few years, as we have grown into a strong and
capable organization. With growth, comes change. FOW
has recently added a staff member in the new position of
Project Manager and sadly said goodbye to two valuable
staff members. Kevin Groves, Volunteer Coordinator since
2007, single-handedly built our volunteer program into
the enterprising and effective program it is today. Heather
Davis-Jones, Development Assistant for five years, helped
shape FOW’s membership outreach focus. We will miss
them and everything they brought to their roles at FOW,
but wish them all the best in their new endeavors. It is a
testament to their talents that it will take three new staff
members to replace them: Sarah Marley, Dan Mercer, and
Henry Stroud.
Sarah Marley has served as an FOW Conservation
Intern for two years and is now working as our new
Outreach Coordinator, overseeing the Trail Ambassador
program, lecture series, membership events, and other
outreach efforts. Dan Mercer, a long-standing trail volunteer and
crew leader, has taken the position of Volunteer Coordinator and
will bring a wealth of Wissahickon knowledge to this role. Henry
Stroud is FOW’s new Project Manager (see p. 11) and he will be
supervising FOW projects throughout the Wissahickon.
The whole of the
Wissahickon is an
environmental education
opportunity and FOW has
a long history of engaging
the public in the natural life
of the park.
8708 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118-2717
Phone: (215) 247-0417 • E-mail: [email protected]
The mission of the Friends of the Wissahickon
is to preserve the natural beauty and wildness of the
Wissahickon Valley and stimulate
public interest therein.
John Rollins, President
Robert Vance, Vice President
Will Whetzel, Vice President
Eugene Caffrey, Treasurer
Richard Berman, Secretary
past PresidentS
Cindy Affleck
Robert A. Lukens
Edward C. Stainton
Charles Dilks
David Pope
Robert Vance
Board Members
Cindy Affleck
Chris Bentley
Richard Berman
Melen Boothby
Richard P. Brown, Jr.
Eugene Caffrey
Stephanie Craighead
David Dannenberg
Daphne Lynch Fifield
Sam Finney
Shirley Gracie
Heidi Grunwald
Jeff Harbison
Robert Harries
Cindy Heckscher
David Hilton
Bettina Hoerlin
Louise Johnston
Courtney Kapp
John Kelly
Charles Lee, Jr.
Jerome Maddox
John Meigs
Liz Pearson
David Pope
John Rollins
Robert Vance
Liz Werthan
Will Whetzel
Susie Wilmerding
Maura McCarthy, Executive Director
Ruffian Tittmann, Development Director
Audrey Simpson, Business Manager
Denise Larrabee, Editor/Publicist
Dan Mercer, Volunteer Coordinator
Henry Stroud, Project Manager
Zane Magnuson, Development Assistant
Sarah Marley, Outreach Coordinator
For the first time in our history, FOW will have a field team
dedicated to work in the park. This is an exciting opportunity
for the organization and one that deepens our commitment to
preserving the Wissahickon for future generations.
Denise Larrabee, Editor
Dena Sher, Associate Editor • Sarah West, Listings Editor
Moon Design, Layout
Published by INTERPRINT of Bristol, PA.
Printed on recycled paper.
United Way Donations
Be a Friend.
Join at
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
We appreciate Valley
Green Bank reinvesting in
our community and in the
Wissahickon Valley!
The Friends of the Wissahickon can receive
membership/donations through the United Way.
Our United Way number is 9882. If this is the most
convenient way for you to give, please do so. Visit our
website ( to learn about the benefits of
membership in the Friends of the Wissahickon.
FOW Met the Challenge!
The Friends of the Wissahickon Board of Directors and
staff are thrilled to announce that FOW has met the third
and final $50,000 challenge grant to raise funds for the
Sustainable Trails Initiative (STI). Since the launch of the
$10 million fundraising campaign for STI in May 2007,
FOW has received almost $3 million in commitments. This
challenge sought to build the capacity of FOW by increasing
the number of major donors while supporting FOW’s priority
project, the Sustainable Trails Initiative.
—Ruffian Tittmann, Development Director
FOW Volunteers Chuck Kirkland and Nick
Uniatowski work on a trail near Kitchen’s
Lane on National Trails Day in 2011.
Monastery Stables Offers New
Equestrian Programs
Hoof Prints at Monastery Stables is offering
several new equestrian programs. The Pony Power
Club is for horse-loving kids, ages 6 to 14. This
unique program offers children the full equestrian
experience with hands on learning, loads of
fun, and horseback riding. Students learn safety,
horsemanship, horse behavior and psychology,
horse health and nutrition, stable management,
and more. The club meets every Saturday from
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; call for registration. Hoof Prints
also offers horsemanship classes and riding lessons.
The horsemanship classes for adults are for the
person who always wanted to own a horse, ride a
horse, or just have the chance to be in its magical
presence. Students will learn skills that will enable
them to enter into a partnership with horses that
Misty Godfrey (standing) with Melissa
will make being around them an absolute joy.
Cresswell on Geronimo. Photo
courtesy of Monastery Stables
Riding lessons will allow participants to experience
the joy of riding while learning good riding and
horsemanship skills. Whether you are a beginner, recreational, or experienced rider who
wants to sharpen your skills, Monastery Stables will help you meet your goals and have a
memorable and fun riding experience. For more information call (267) 997-9220 or visit—Misty Godfrey, Monastery Stables
FOW Annual Members
Meeting Set for June 5
Friends of the Wissahickon
members are invited to gather to
review the past year and learn about
upcoming FOW projects on Tuesday,
June 5, 2012, from 6 to 8 pm at Valley
Green Inn. A special guest speaker will
be announced; visit FOW’s website for
updates. FOW members who attend
the Annual Meeting will receive a
photo by Kirsten McBride
printed copy of the Annual Report for 2011 in addition
to the digital version (PDF) that all members will receive
in May. RSVP online at or by calling 215-247-0417 ext. 109.
FOW Launches
New Website
he Friends of the Wissahickon has launched a new
website at their current URL of This
new website is easier to navigate, provides more
information about the Wissahickon, and allows visitors to
report problems in the park more easily and share pages
via social networks.
“The new website is a dynamic and useful addition to
FOW’s work,” says Executive Director Maura McCarthy.
“One of the features we are most excited about is the line
of communication it opens to the public to report park
problems and help us resolve them in partnership with
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in a faster more organized
The new website was made possible with grants
from the William Penn Foundation and the 25th Century
Foundation, and was designed using traffic information
from the old website as a guide. “We knew what the
public was looking for when they visited our website,”
says McCarthy. “The new website design helps deliver
that information more directly and will be an asset for our
membership, the public, and our volunteers.”
About the William Penn Foundation
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by
Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the
quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through
efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen
children’s futures, and deepen connections to nature and
community. In partnership with others, the Foundation
works to advance a vital, just, and caring community.
To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.
Special Features on FOW’s New Website
• An RSS feed (Rich Site Summary, a format for delivering
regularly changing web content) that will alert
someone when FOW posts news on the website
• An online form visitors can complete to report
problems in the park, with the option to upload
photos, such as felled trees and collapsed trails, and
enter GPS coordinates
• Current weather information on every page
• The ability to share pages via social networks
• Quick links to the most-visited pages on the website,
such as hiking and park maps
• More photos and a wider layout to accommodate new
computer monitors
• Improved navigation with bread crumbs
and sub-menus
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
Trail Ambassador Hikes
Volunteers and
Respondents Needed
for Park User Survey
reliminary results from the Friends of the Wissahickon
Park User Survey indicate that 43.2% believe unleashed
dogs are not a problem and only 27.9% report that litter
is a “moderate” to “severe” problem in the Wissahickon. Results
such as these are
different than what
Park users who complete the
FOW expected
based on anecdotal
survey in the park or online will
reports from the
be entered into a drawing in
public in recent
years. According to
mid-2012 for a free IPAD and
Executive Director
one of ten free year-long FOW
Maura McCarthy,
memberships (includes choice of
“FOW needs more
volunteers to conduct
t-shirt or hat). Visit
the survey and
to take the survey.
more park users to
complete it in order
to get an accurate
sense of the park-user experience in the Wissahickon.”
FOW is asking all park users to take a few minutes to
complete the survey when they encounter an FOW volunteer
posted at exit points in the Wissahickon. My Park Counts is
also available online at FOW’s website and takes 3-4 minutes to
work in pairs
and are needed
to perform
counts at
entrances to the
park to ensure
the accuracy of
Rhoda Byler of Mt. Airy completes the Park
the mechanical
User Survey with FOW Volunteer Sarah
counters also being
Allen at the bottom of the Hundred Steps in
used and collect
Wissahickon Valley Park.
basic demographic
information on park users who pass their observation point. FOW
volunteers also administer the short surveys to collect information
on park user experience at key exit points in the park. For more
information on the survey or to volunteer, contact Sarah
Marley, FOW Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected]
About the Survey
Developed and implemented in conjunction with Atlantic
Social Research Corporation (ASRC), this park user survey will
determine seasonal and annual park user counts, park-related
activities among different groups, and attitudes and perceptions
among local and non-local visitors to the park. The data collected
will help FOW and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation take more
effective action in designing capital investment, programming, and
outreach strategies, as well as minimizing user conflict.
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
Unless otherwise specified, Trail Ambassador Hikes use rocky, rugged trails that may be
wet and slippery. Please wear sturdy shoes or boots with socks. Long pants are recommended
for protection against occasional poison ivy and possible ticks. Bring water and a snack if
desired. Children over 7 are welcome if accompanied by a responsible adult. Walks are
cancelled in heavy rain or icy conditions. Registration is not required, but is recommended so
that you can be informed of weather or other emergency cancellations. Please send email to
Sarah Marley at [email protected]
Waters of the Wissahickon with Diane Garvey
Sunday, March 18
1- 3 pm
Meet at Northwest Equestrian Facility on Northwestern Ave. Difficulty: moderate. Length:
2+ miles. Walk downstream on the orange trail to Covered Bridge, back on Wissahickon
Drive. Waterproof shoes recommended. Will measure how much and how fast the water
flows and look at turbulent and laminar flow of creek. Test tube experiments will be conducted
to measure stream water quality. Learn about sources of pollution in the Wissahickon and its
prevention. Binoculars recommended for birding. Ideal for families and homeschoolers 6 years
& older accompanied by a responsible adult. More information: [email protected]
Geology Hike with Sarah West
Saturday, March 24 3- 4:45 pm
Meet at Valley Green Inn. Length: 1.5 miles along a rough, steep trail on the east side
of the creek upstream from Valley Green. Can be slippery or muddy in places. Will discuss
the likely formation of Wissahickon rocks as the result of plate tectonics and identify several
different types. Suitable for children over 10 accompanied by a responsible adult. Bring water
and sturdy footwear. More information: [email protected]
Lower Wissahickon with Scott Quitel
Saturday, April 7, 2012: 9 to 11:30 am
Meet at the RittenhouseTown parking lot. Mildly strenuous hike. Will explore interesting
sections of the less travelled lower Park, visit Lover’s Leap and Hermit’s Cave, take in breathtaking views and see ancient boulders and gnarly, old chestnut oaks. Will also traverse one of
the more secluded side trails in the Park. More information: [email protected]
Meanderings in the Wissahickon with Shelly Brick
Enjoy our park and share talk stories as we explore the Wissahickon trails. Pace will be set
by the group. Hikes last 1.5-2 hours. Children younger than 7 are welcome if they are hikers.
Bring water.
Saturday, March 17 at 2 pm. Meet at Kitchen’s Lane entrance parking lot
Sunday, April 8 at 2 pm. Meet at Chestnut Hill Ave. entrance to the park
Saturday, April 28, 1 pm. Meet at Livezey Lane, Allens Lane and Wayne Ave. intersection
Sunday, May 20, 2 pm. Meet at Rex Ave. entrance to the park.
Saturday, June 16, 1 pm. Meet at Kitchen’s Lane entrance parking area.
An Overview of the Wissahickon with Peter Lapham
Sunday, April 29 2 – 4 pm
Meet at the Warming Shed at Valley Green. Length: 4 miles. Learn about the natural and
man-made history of the Wissahickon while walking to Kitchen’s Lane Bridge on Forbidden
Drive and back along the east-bank, orange trail over the Fingerspan Bridge and through
Devil’s Pool to Valley Green. Pace is casual, but there is some climbing over low rocks on the
return trail.
Lower Forbidden Drive with Sarah West
Saturday, May 19
3 - 4:45 pm
Meet at the small parking lot where Forbidden Drive meets Lincoln Drive, a short distance
downstream from RittenhouseTown. This hike is about one mile along lower Forbidden Drive
on level ground as far as the Walnut Lane Bridge. Will look at two historical sites connected to
the Revolutionary War era including the Henry Rittenhouse Mill foundation. See the Blue Stone
Bridge, the foundation of the Lotus Inn, and discuss the history of the Wissahickon Turnpike,
Forbidden Drive, and the Walnut Lane Bridge. Children with a responsible adult are welcome.
More information: [email protected]
Wildflower Walk with Don Simon
Saturday, April 28 10 am – noon
Meet at Valley Green Inn. Difficulty: easy to moderate, depending on where the
wildflowers are located. Will identify spring wildflowers which should be in bloom in the
Wissahickon, such as trout lilies, may apple, spring beauty, and Solomon’s seal. Bring a
wildflower field guide if you have one.
Take Back the Wissahickon
FOW seeks
information on
photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Historical Society
Ask a Trail Ambassador
What is
ou’re hiking along the Orange Trail. You pass Livezey Dam.
You trek for a while near creek level. Soon you come to a
steep flight of stone steps. You ascend. While climbing, you
may be aware that
the acme of this
by Scott Quitel, FOW Trail Ambassador
trail segment is
marked by a gap
in the earthen
portion of the pathway. As you near the gap, you are comforted
by the sight of an enclosed structure, shaped curiously in the
form of a slightly bent index finger, pointing the way and guiding
you safely over the precipitous chasm.
You enter the
structure. It’s secure as
it can be. Yet, you can
see right through it—in
any direction. Gazing
outward, you take in the
majestic Wissahickon,
framed by the opposing
cliffs of its ancient gorge.
Looking down, you see
sheer verticality, directly beneath your own feet. You are presently
within the Fingerspan.
A Masterpiece of
Functional Art
The Fingerspan is a highly functional piece of art. Comprised of
perforated, weathered steel, cloaked protectively by a thin layer of
iron oxide (rust), the structure appears timeless. Yet it was installed
just 25 years ago, assembled in prefabricated sections, initially held
aloft by helicopter. It extends 59 feet and weighs nine tons. The
creator of this masterpiece is Jody Pinto. Her artistic goal is to link
the human body with nature. Each time a walker passes through
her work, the link is established. According to Pinto, the hiker’s
experience is an act of “passing through the finger so that the public
becomes the muscle or the bone marrow.”
You exit the structure—back on terra firma; another link
established. You’ve just walked through one of Philadelphia’s finest
pieces of sculpture. You continue your journey downslope, toward
some eventual destination. But you now own a lasting connection
with one of the hidden gems of Fairmount Park.
n the fall of 2011, the Friends of the Wissahickon assumed control
of the Take Back the Wissahickon Fund, created by the Martin
family as a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and
prosecution of the attacker in the April 2011 attempted rape in
Wissahickon Valley Park.
FOW is managing the fund at the request of the Martin family. If it
is not dispersed as a reward by the fall of 2012, the fund will revert to
FOW’s unrestricted accounts and the money will be used to enhance
safety in the park with improvements to such measures as way-finding,
enforcement, response access, lighting, and/or police presence.
To report information about the attacker, contact the Citizen’s Crime
Commission Tipline at 215-546-TIPS or 215-546-8477. To donate to
the Take Back the Wissahickon Fund, visit or make a check
out to the Friends of the Wissahickon with “Take Back the Wissahickon”
written in the memo line. Send to: Friends of the Wissahickon, 8708
Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118.
Park Safety Guidelines
• Park users should exercise with a partner whenever possible;
if exercising alone, try to avoid using the park during offpeak times.
• Be alert! Go headphone free! It’s not only unsafe from the
perspective of crime prevention, but you won’t hear bicyclists
behind you or other potential problems.
• Vary your routine. If you always start your run at Valley
Green at 6 a.m., try going to Bell’s Mill Road or Kitchen’s
Lane once or twice a week.
• Trust your instincts. There’s a sense of isolation from the city
in the park that has a lot of appeal. If you sense trouble in a
person or a place, leave.
• When you park your car, lock your doors, carry your keys
with you, and do not leave wallets, cell phones, or other
valuables in plain sight in your car. The major area of crime
in the Wissahickon is in the parking lots.
• Please report suspicious activity by calling 911.
• Visit frequently. FOW posts crime alerts as
Important Numbers to Know
• If your car is broken into, call 911. Report the location of
your car (the number of the parking lot will help). Stay until
the police arrive.
• The Fairmount Park Rangers can be reached at 215-6852172.
• FOW Trail Ambassadors are often in the park. Their primary
role is to provide information to park visitors about the
Wissahickon and report any problems they see to Fairmount
Park Rangers. If you are unable to call 911 or the Rangers
yourself, a Trail Ambassador can help.
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
Park Project Updates
Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW)
Philadelphia Water Department (PWD)
The main construction phase of the Wissahickon Stormwater Mitigation
and Sediment Reduction Project is complete. This includes Gully Restoration
at Bluebell Meadow Pavilion, Historic RittenhouseTown, Kitchen’s Lane White
Trail, and Kitchen’s Lane Gully. Supplemental construction and work on
nearby trails continues.
Wise’s Mill and Bell’s Mill Stream Restorations - construction almost
complete on both projects, with final plantings and touch-up work to be
completed by the end of March. PWD also has a contractor on site repairing
the section of retaining wall which collapsed along the trail parallel with Park
Line Drive on the Mount Airy side of the Walnut Lane Bridge. The contractor
is currently building up the existing path so that they can get their equipment
to the site of the collapse without damaging the sewer beneath. Once they
can reach the site safely, they will excavate the old material and rebuild the
wall, which will serve to both protect our sewer and restore the walking/riding
path. Until this work is complete, this section of trail will be closed, and PWD
requests that park users avoid the area, as it is an active construction site and
very unstable.—Robert Praga, Philadelphia Water Dept.
Work on the Andorra Natural Area Restoration will begin in the spring
and continue for approximately two years. Part of Stage 4 of the Sustainable
Trails Initiative, this project will include the rehabilitation of 3.3 miles of trail,
an update of way-finding and educational signage, installation of a composting
toilet, restoration of stormwater gullies, and capital improvements to the
Wissahickon Environmental Center (see p. 8). —Henry Stroud, Project Manager
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR)
• Houston Meadow Reclamation—wildflower drill-seeding
to be done in May 2012
“This is a heartfelt thank you for building the beautiful trail
that runs from Westview St. to the Kitchen’s Lane parking lot.
• Andorra Meadow Expansion—warm-season grass drill
seeding to be done in May 2012
My husband, Rick, and our dog Lulu thank you so much.”
• Gully Restoration—District 4 - planting completed;
containment barriers to be installed around maintenance
yard in February 2012
Theresa Landell
• Gully Restoration—Saul High School – planting completed
• Gully Restoration—Mt. Airy Ave. - planting completed
• Gully Restoration—Walnut Lane Golf Course (north) - planting
• Gully Restoration—Walnut Lane Golf Course (south) - all grading and
planting completed; cart path to be reconfigured at project site in spring
• Gully Restoration—St. Martin’s Lane and Huron Streets - construction
completed; planting to be done in fall 2012
• Roxborough Reservoir—planting to be completed along Eva St. in fall
• Gully Restoration—N. Mt. Pleasant Ave. and Mt. Pleasant Place construction to be completed in February, planting in fall 2012
—Tom Witmer, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Friends of the Wissahickon
Spring Lecture Series
Valley Green Inn
6 to 8 pm
Wednesday, April 25
Andrew M. Loza
Executive Director for the
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
The Importance of Open Space
in an Urban Environment
Tuesday, May 15
Katherine Gajewski
Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
Greenworks and Sustainability in Philadelphia
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
Philadelphia Department of Streets (PDS)
The park trail between Pabst Lane Bridge and Forbidden Drive was
closed to pedestrians and bicyclists on February 7 due to emergency repair
work being conducted by the Streets Department on a retaining wall
supporting Lincoln Drive between W. Rittenhouse Street and Forbidden
Drive. According to Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson, the work, begun
February 7, is expected to last approximately two months. The work includes
the rehabilitation and stabilization of approximately 500 feet of the existing
stone masonry wall along southbound Lincoln Drive between the roadway
and Monoshone Creek below the Pabst Lane Bridge. Last year’s record rainfall
has caused the wall to be undermined by erosion and has led to significant
new damage to the mortar joints. During construction, the parking area
along southbound Lincoln Drive will also be closed. Traffic detours are not
anticipated. The Streets Department thanks the citizens in advance for their
patience and cooperation during this project
.—Keisha McCarty-Skelton, June Cantor, Dept. of Streets
The Chestnut Hill Office
is proud to support the Friends of the Wissahickon
Justin M. Baxter
Baiyina Brown
Ingrid Brown
Carolyn Cotton
Bibby Crane
Janet W. Cribbins
Suzanne Danella
Dolores Dougherty
Lisa Edmonds
Thomas Emlen
Ellen L.Goodwin
Kat Grant
Cherry Harrison
Louise R. Johnston
Janet Lippincott
Chestnut Hill Office
14 West Evergreen Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Lori Lorenz
Mark Malfara
Mary McNamara
Susie O’Neil
Bill Shelton
Michael Sivel
Daniel Smith
Dorothy Storm
Pam Rosser Thistle
Danielle Tucciarone
Judith von Scheven
Rosalie Warren
N. Dudley Warwick
Patricia S. Webster
Loretta C. Witt
Mills, Villages &
Homesteads of
the 18th & 19th
with Sarah West
FOW Trail Ambassador
Sunday, April 1
2 pm
Cathedral Hall at Cathedral Village
600 East Cathedral Rd.
(rescheduled from January 29)
Water Quality of the Wissahickon
Wissahickon Creek
Clean Up
April 28 • 9 am to Noon
he Friends of the Wissahickon and the Wissahickon Valley
Watershed Association (WVWA) are teaming up to clean the
Wissahickon Creek from top to bottom on Saturday, April
28, from 9 a.m. to noon.
This spring marks the 42nd anniversary of the Wissahickon
Valley Watershed Association’s annual Creek Clean Up, and the
third year that FOW has partnered with WVWA to clean all
21 miles of the Wissahickon Creek, the trails, and many of its
tributaries! Armed with bags, volunteers will be assigned to sections
of the creek to collect anything from plastic bags and swing sets, to
mattresses and tires.
Following the clean up, all volunteers are invited to WVWA’s
Talkin’ Trash picnic in its new location at the Militia Hill Pavilion in
Fort Washington State Park, which can be accessed by Militia Hill
Road or Joshua Road.
WVWA Clean Up
To help out in Montgomery County, all volunteers must be preassigned a section of the Wissahickon Creek or a tributary to clean;
sites range from Lansdale to Flourtown. Please contact Bob Adams,
WVWA Director of Stewardship, at 215-646-8866 ext. 14 or [email protected] Please indicate the name, size and age range of your
group and tell us if you plan to stay for the picnic.
Dennis Pennington of
the Wissahickon Watershed
Association (WVWA)
presented Trends in Water
Quality of the Wissahickon
Creek on December
13 at Valley Green Inn.
Pennington has more than
38 years of experience
in hazardous waste and
ground water investigations
and remediation. His presentation addressed the WVWA water
quality monitoring program. WVWA has 11 sampling stations along
the Wissahickon Creek and Sandy Run, the largest tributary to the
Wissahickon Creek. He also discussed major trends of the potential
pollutants as well as how WVWA intends to use the data to plan
restoration and identify areas of environmental concern.
A Creek in Crisis?
Town Meeting on the Health of the
Wissahickon Creek on March 29
he Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) and the
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH Academy), with support
from the Friends of the Wissahickon and Chestnut Hill College, are
sponsoring a Town Meeting on Thursday, March 29, 2012, to inform the
community about significant environmental challenges to the Wissahickon
Creek. A Creek in Crisis? A Town Meeting on the Health of the
Wissahickon Creek will examine the numerous threats to the Wissahickon,
including diminishing water quantity, stormwater runoff, impaired water
quality, and flooding that severely impact the health of the Wissahickon Creek
and its tributaries.
FOW Clean Up
To work with the Friends of the Wissahickon in Philadelphia,
meet at the pavilion on Forbidden Drive, a short distance south
of the intersection of Forbidden Drive and Northwestern Avenue.
Volunteers will help clean up along the creek, and nearby
areas of the park and neighborhood. Parking is available
along Northwestern Ave. and other nearby streets, but
limited. Volunteers are encouraged to bike or carpool to
the event. Other meeting spots may be selected; visit www.
Thursday, March 29 for updates and to register, indicating if you plan
to attend the picnic. Contact Dan Mercer with questions at
7 pm (doors open at 6:30)
(215) 247-0417 ext. 107 or [email protected]
Cherokee Campus
A Creek
in Crisis?
FOW and WVWA share the common mission
of protecting the health, beauty, and wildness of the
Wissahickon Creek and are committed to making this
beautiful, natural area available to the public. Both groups
actively work to protect the land that surrounds the
creek by eliminating invasive plants and replanting native
species, controlling storm water runoff, and creating
and maintaining trails. For more information about the
Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association please visit For more information about the Friends of
the Wissahickon, visit
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
Springside Chestnut Hill
8000 Cherokee Street,
Philadelphia 19118
Light refreshments will be
To register or for more
information visit www. or
The impact of the Wissahickon Creek on the lives of
those living in the Wissahickon Watershed is absolute.
Though the Wissahickon Creek has a humble beginning in
the parking lot at Montgomery Mall, it continues through
nine municipalities to the confluence of the Schuylkill
River in Philadelphia. It is a significant waterway providing
approximately 10% of the drinking water to Philadelphians
as well as habitat for local wildlife and recreation and natural
beauty for area residents.
Moderated by Patrick Starr, Vice President of
the Pennsylvania Environmental Council Southeast
Regional Office, the Town Meeting will feature a panel of
environmental experts who will examine the numerous
threats to the Wissahickon. Panelists will be: Carol R. Collier,
Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission;
John K. Jackson, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at the
Stroud Water Research Center; and Chris Crockett, Deputy
Commissioner at the Philadelphia Water Department.
Tree House
There are three
education centers
in Philadelphia’s
Fairmount Park,
but only one
Tree House.
By Denise Larrabee, Editor
The Wissahickon Environmental Center (WEC)
celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. Three decades
serving adults and children of all ages who visit the
park. While the WEC is 30 years old, the building itself,
according to Environmental Education Program Specialist
Patricia Fries, is over 100 and the trails around the building
are even older.
Nestled in the Andorra Natural Area of Wissahickon Valley
Park, the house was the home of Adolph Steinle, propagator of
the Andorra Nurseries, and his family. Steinle built its enclosed
porch around the trunk of a large sycamore tree that grew right
through a hole in the roof, and his family named their home
the Tree House. In 1981, the sycamore had to be cut down,
but a slice of the huge trunk remains inside for visitors to see.
The trails throughout the area were designed to conduct the
business of a farm and then a nursery. In the 1970s, 100 acres
were donated to Fairmount Park by the Houston family as a
natural area. (see excerpt)
Who Visits
the Tree House?
85% of visitors are from
4,282 are children
480 are adults
94 Philadelphia schools
16 schools outside
Today, the building’s exterior is in great need of repair and the trails
surrounding it are severely degraded. In addition, the habitat is marred by
invasive plants and educational way-finding signage is dilapidated. Fries, who
has managed the environmental education program at the Tree House for nine
years, has noticed a marked increase in stormwater runoff and erosion since
the storms of 2004. “Water is running where it has never run before,” she says.
“There are many springs on this property, and they have all come up and are
constantly running down the trails, making them unusable.”
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
Friends of the Wissahickon Steps Up
For years, FOW Board Member Richard Berman
of FOW ‘s Structures Crew has been working
alongside Groundskeeper Steve O’Kula to help
maintain the Tree House and the Andorra Natural
Area, along with volunteers, including Dave Kaiser
and Roy Patton. Last year they built bird boxes and
installed a split rail fence along Northwestern Ave. and
the upper parking lot, among other projects. President
Emeritus Ed Stainton, long-standing leader of FOW’s
Structures Crew, has also devoted years of service to
the WEC and been particularly concerned about the
condition of the building.
The Friends began searching in earnest a year
funds to make the needed improvements not
*2010 figures
only to the building, but to the surrounding area. In
December 2011, FOW received two grants. REI gave
the Friends $10,000 for trail work in the Andorra
Natural Area as part of the Sustainable Trails Initiative.
The Community Conservation Partnerships Program
administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural
Resources (DCNR) awarded FOW a grant of $150,000 for capital improvements
to the Andorra Natural Area.
With these funds, the Friends will rehabilitate and redesign 18,000
linear feet of trail to benefit the natural environment and user experience,
install signage, and a public, ADA accessible composting toilet. This project is
considered Stage 4 of FOW’s Sustainable Trails Initiative, a project to restore 50
miles of natural surface trails in Wissahickon Valley Park.
The need for these improvements is great. School groups and park
visitors need trails that are passable, well signed, and less confusing.
“With this grant we can highlight the best features of this area, creating
what we need for educational purposes, both for school children and
the weekend hiker,” says Fries. In fact, she is looking forward to the
educational possibilities of all the proposed improvements. “We plan
to use all the improvements for environmental education, such as
stormwater management and composting.”
More Funds Needed
More funds will be needed to make other necessary improvements
to the area, such as repainting, replacing and/or restoring all the
windows, and rebuilding the porch from which the Tree House got
its name, something Ed Stainton has been championing for years.
The complete work carries an estimated price tag of $600,000. FOW
Executive Director Maura McCarthy believes it is worth it.
Who Works at the Tree House?
Patricia Fries
Environmental Education Program Specialist
Chelsea Heck
Watershed Educator
Kim Soles
Administrative Assistant and “Nature Inspirer”
Steve O’Kula
“The Wissahickon Environmental Center connects with a truly
unique trail resource, adjacent to a really remarkable section of the
park with a beautiful, recently restored meadow,” she says. It is
also positioned at the intersection of Philadelphia and Montgomery
County, making it a part of Philadelphia that is frequently visited by
residents of the suburbs. “The Andorra Natural Area is a bridging zone
of the park,” says McCarthy.
FOW is currently raising funds for the improvements
to the Tree House and surrounding trails.
Gifts from individuals, foundations,
and corporations are being accepted.
Donations, questions,
or opportunities should be directed to
Ruffian Tittmann, Development Director, at
[email protected] or 215-247-0417 ext 102.
Once there, visitors can enjoy innovative and informational
environmental education programs for children and adults that
include night hikes, fishing expeditions, wildlife lessons, creek
explorations, apple pressing, maple sugaring, a summer camp, and
much more. The environmental center also works in partnership
with the Philadelphia Water Department to provide education about
Philadelphia watersheds and stormwater management. (For upcoming
WEC programs, see pp. 15 & 16)
“FOW encourages the community to look at this project as
an opportunity to invest in the future of environmental education
in Philadelphia,” says McCarthy. “There are few resources for
environmental education in the city, so programs at the Tree House are
extremely valuable.”
The Andorra Natural Area
An Excerpt from Metropolitan Paradise: The Struggle for Nature in the City.
Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley, 1620-2020 by David Contosta and Carol Franklin (St.
Joseph’s University Press, 2010) p. 497.
The remaining Houston property in Upper Roxborough, including the site of the
old Andorra Nurseries, was inherited by the children of Sam Houston. Operation of
the nurseries continued until 1961. When the business dissolved, a majority of the
1,400 acres located outside the city in Montgomery County was sold for housing
developments. The property inside the city reverted to the Houston Estate.
In 1977, Eleanor Houston Smith, one of Sam’s daughters, and her children (Lewis,
Sam, Meredith, Sallie, Mary Minor, and Eleanor) sold the 100 acres of the original
nursery tract to Fairmount Park for approximately $375,000. This addition, bounded by
Bell’s Mill Road, Forbidden Drive, and Northwestern Avenue, extended the park to the
city’s edge on the Roxborough side. The Smiths, with an imaginative strategy of purchase
and donation, then returned the purchase price to the park commission as a perpetual
endowment for the Andorra Natural Area. In 1981, the park commission bought
adjacent land to make a total of 210 acres added to the park.
The gift of the old Andorra Nurseries tract was the last major donation of land
to Wissahickon Park in the 20th century. It continued a remarkable tradition, from a
remarkable family. The acquisition of the old Andorra Nurseries tract filled out the last
portion of the Wissahickon Valley within the city and a critical portion of Wissahickon
Park. Private development of this piece of land would have obliterated the entrance to
the gorge from Montgomery County and seriously compromised the park experience.
The Andorra Natural Area also preserved Andorra Run where it joins the
Wissahickon Creek at Harper’s Meadow. This tributary originates in the adjacent
Springfield Township panhandle, on a large, private tract, which has tantalizingly held out
the potential of extending parkland into Springfield Township.
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
More Rare Birds Calling Houston Meadow Home
Birds Observed at
Houston Meadow—
Summer 2011
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
(first reported there during summer 2009)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Willow Flycatcher **
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird **
Tree Swallow
(first reported there during
summer 2009 when nest boxes
were erected)
Northern Rough-winged
Barn Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Tree Swallow
(first reported there during summer 2009 when nest boxes
were erected)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
White-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-breasted Chat * (3 individuals)
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak **
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole (first reported there during summer 2010.
Increased in numbers in 2011)
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
* have not been seen there in summer for about 20 years.
**not known to have occurred there during the summer
prior to 2011. This list does not include birds that occupy
the forest bordering the meadow.
Houston Meadow Reclamation Project is
on track to achieve its goals.
issahickon Valley Park is home
to an impressive array of animal
species, including the park’s most
diverse populations of breeding birds, such
as the Ovenbird or Field Sparrow. In order to
help retain some of these uncommon breeders,
many of which are declining in the
park, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
and Audubon Pennsylvania initiated
the Houston Meadow Reclamation Project
to expand and enhance remnant patches of
this grassland and shrubland
By Keith Russell, Ornithologist and Outreach
Coordinator for Audubon PA
The summer of 2011 also saw the variety of
bird species using remnant patches of grass and
shrubs in the meadow increase. Among the four
new species observed were three Yellow-breasted
Chats, a species that had not been observed there
for over 20 years, and a Blue Grosbeak, a species
never observed there before and now believed to
breed nowhere else in Philadelphia. The sudden
Houston Meadow is the only location where
During the 1970s,
Houston Meadow
encompassed about 60
Black-billed Cuckoo and Blue Grosbeak
acres and attracted a large
percentage of Fairmount
Park’s uncommon
have been observed in Philadelphia during
breeding birds and
butterflies. By 2008,
the summer over the last decade.
however, trees had
invaded the area and
reduced the meadow to
15 acres. Many of the
area’s breeding birds disappeared
appearance of these and other new species is an
in response to this loss of meadow habitat.
encouraging sign that the project is on track to
achieve its goals. Although tree removal might be
Last winter, as part of the Reclamation
viewed as an environmentally unfriendly act by
Project, trees were removed from most of the area
some, if woodlands were not occasionally replaced
and in the summer of 2011, the park began to
by grasslands and shrublands (Mother Nature
reestablish the native grass (little bluestem) that
accomplishes this through fire, floods, disease,
once dominated the area. Over the next two years,
and drought), the diversity of habitats needed to
additional species of native wildflowers, shrubs,
support many of the world’s animal and plant
and trees will be planted along the margins of the
species would cease to exist.
expanded grassland. Similar work is also being
done in the Andorra section of the Wissahickon.
(For an update on these projects, see p. 6)
Metropolitan Paradise: The Struggle for Nature in the City.
Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley, 1620-2020
by David Contosta and Carol Franklin
Published by St. Joseph’s University Press
Available at FOW
8708 Germantown Avenue
Four paperback volumes packed into a beautiful
hardcover case, Metropolitan Paradise is the definitive
book on the relationship between natural and urban
environments. The lessons of the Wissahickon Valley’s
history, present treatment and future possibilities, are both
universal and unique.
Available at FOW’s office or contact [email protected]
or 215-843-0752. Cost: $85 plus $15 shipping.
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
Meet the District 4 Team
edication is when you go out and
by Denise Larrabee, Editor
do a difficult and demanding job
and then turn around and do it again a week later. That’s what the
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation District 4 staff did following Hurricane
Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last summer.
“I was really proud of them and the way they performed,” says Gerald
White, Park District Supervisor. “They got Forbidden Drive open and passable
so fast, that I think some people never saw all the damage.”
The speed with which the District 4 staff
repaired Forbidden Drive is all the more
impressive when you realize they are a team
of only 14, and they are responsible not only
for Wissahickon Valley Park, but all the parks
and recreation centers in most of northwest
Philadelphia: Roxborough, Manayunk,
Germantown, East and West Oak Lane, and
According to White, their responsibilities
include trash and litter removal, restroom
maintenance, stormwater drainage, and
Miguel Lugo and Dan Kronmiller
road repair throughout the district. In the
repairing a guard rail along
Wissahickon, you will often see this hardForbidden Drive.
working team along Forbidden Drive repairing
potholes, regrading the road, removing felled trees, rebuilding fences and
guardrails, and maintaining the conduits running underneath the road to the
“The staff of District 4 provides critical daily maintenance of the
Wissahickon Valley and essential recovery care that is desperately needed after
every major rainstorm, flood and snowstorm,” says FOW Executive Director
Maura McCarthy.
The Men and Women
of District 4
Crawford Clark
Park District Manager
Gerald White
Park District Supervisor
Supporting Staff
Lucious Anderson
Raymond A. Bevenour
Joseph J. Bryan
Martin R. Graner I
Dave Kaiser
Gregory V. Kemp
Norman Kronmiller
Miguel A. Lugo
Shannon McClennan
Donna J. Mora
Damon A. Oliver
Samuel D. Williams
George A. Wright
John J. Yannatell
Immediately after the summer storms
last year, the District 4 team redistributed
1,200 tons of rock, silt, and debris in parking
lots and along Forbidden Drive, restoring
the foundations of the lots and the Drive.
Following that, they spread 900 tons of
gravel in the lots and along Forbidden
Drive. Recently, they restored the picnic
area and trail head at Bell’s Mill Road, a
popular entry point for park users, removing
debris, distributing fill, and regrading with
the goals of preparing it for plantings and
reestablishing the trail, a part of FOW’s
Sustainable Trails Initiative (STI). In all, they
have worked 1,323 hours repairing flood
The Friends of the Wissahickon relies
on the members of District 4 for help and
support on a variety of projects, whether it is
transporting large boulders for STI, removing
trees that have fallen across trails, drilling
holes for fences, or delivering heavy materials
to work sites. “If the Structures Crew cannot
move it, dig it, carry it, place it, no matter what it is, we know that District 4
has the machinery and experts to do it for us quickly, happily and correctly,”
says Ed Stainton, long-time Crew leader and FOW President Emeritus.”
District 4 and FOW have a strong working relationship that goes back
many years. Says McCarthy: “They have always been so generous with
their time in partnering with FOW’s staff and volunteer crew leaders, and
that support has allowed us to build our volunteer and project resources
with confidence, knowing that District 4 is there to provide guidance and
operational support.”
Henry Stroud
FOW Project Manager
In December, the Friends hired Henry
Stroud in the new position of Project Manager.
Henry is from Sebastopol, California, and grew
up on an old apple farm where he developed
a strong connection with the natural world. He
has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the
University of California at Santa Cruz and a
Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the
University of Minnesota. He brings a wide range
of experience to FOW, having worked with the
Minnesota Conservation Corps, Marin County
Open Space District, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, Minnesota Land
Trust, Friends of the Mississippi River, and CycloPath. I talked with Henry in his
office at FOW. —Denise Larrabee, Editor
What were you doing before moving to Philadelphia?
My undergrad program was very broad and inter-disciplinary and gave
me a wide overview of environmental processes—what’s happening in the
environmental movement. My research in grad school focused mostly on GIS
[Geographic Information System] applications for long-range environmental
planning—how communities can use mapping and technology to create longrange environmental plans.
What work experience will you bring to your new position?
When I worked for the Minnesota Conservation Corps, I did a lot of timber
stand improvement—going out to tracks of forest and removing invasive trees
and improving the health of the forest eco-system. I became fascinated with the
natural resource management world and really enjoyed working outdoors and
working with my hands. . . . At Marin Open Space District, I did similar work,
but with more focus on the mapping of invasive plant species and a higher level
of responsibility. . . . I volunteered with the Minnesota Land Trust and monitored
conservation easements. . . . I took panoramic photos for the Friends of the
Mississippi of the view sheds of the river and created a Google map where you
could click on all these different points and have a full 3-D panorama.
Why Friends of the Wissahickon?
To find a land management agency that understood sustainability at a level
far beyond other places—that was really exciting for me. . . . I’m interested in
urban planning and park management, and I feel the Wissahickon is the perfect
size for me. It gives me this chance to form a relationship with a piece of land.
Working at Marin, we were looking at 50 to 60,000 acres. I might only go to a
project location once or twice.
What will you be doing at FOW?
Scheduling contractors, looking at budgets, making sure the projects are
coming in under budget, that we are getting work done in a timely manner, and
looking at FOW projects through the lens of STI [Sustainable Trails Initiative]
and making sure all our work fulfills those goals. If it is an FOW project,
ultimately I’m responsible for the organizing, planning, and the outcome.
How will you use GIS at FOW?
One of the things that I’ve been looking at is where the existing trails are
going and trying to figure out—and part of this was done with the STI plan—how
we can avoid some of the more sensitive habitat areas when we’re doing new
trail networks. I will also be using GIS to give people an idea of where we are
working and what kind of work we’re doing. So instead of just having a list,
I can actually show them a physical location, which could be used on FOW’s
What has impressed you most about the Wissahickon?
Since I’ve been here I’ve been blown away by how beautiful it is. I’ve hiked
most of the Wissahickon. One of my tasks as a new employee is to spend a fair
amount of time in the park. It was really interesting coming in the winter. I got a
good sense of the lay of the land. I’m excited to see how the park will change in
the summer.
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
8,609 Hours in 2011! • Thanks to All our Volunteers
Meet the Volunteer of the Year
Congratulations to Joe Kopetsky, Trail
Ambassador Technology Manager. “Joe has
worked tirelessly to create the Trail Ambassador
blog and manage the scheduling of Trail
Ambassadors in the park,” said former FOW
Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Groves (right), as
he presented him with a copy of Metropolitan
Paradise at FOW’s Volunteer Night in December.
“His efforts have been essential to run the
Structures Crew
FOW’s Structures Crew worked a total
of 1,909 hours last year, and they are already
clocking in considerable hours in 2012. Not hard
to do when you consider all they accomplish:
improving the Wissahickon Environmental
Center; constructing signs throughout Fairmount
Park; and building bird boxes, bleachers, bridge
railings, bulletin boards, and the Warming Shed
at Valley Green. The structure burned down in
October of 2010 due to an electrical fire during
a rain storm. Over the winter, the crew has
been cutting and installing the rafters. They are
currently in the process of selecting a roofer to
install a standing-seam metal roof on the back
slope. The front roof will be made of cedar,
installed by the Structures Crew. According to
crew leader Mike Souders, the final completion
date is estimated to be June 1.
2011 Volunteers
by the Numbers
Trail Ambassador Hikes: 37
Trail Ambassador Docents: 48
Total Volunteers: 626
Miles of Restored Trail: 5
Woody Trees and Shrubs Planted: 350
TA Class
Trail Ambassadors
Edward Barnard
Shelly Brick
Chuck Broadbent
Carmella Clark
Jack Coleman
Diane Dichter
Rose Fisher
Valerie Flitter
Diane Garvey
Dickie Lynn Gronseth
Doris Grubin
Mary Hathaway
Monika Hemmers
Lisa Kolker
Joe Kopetsky
Peter Lapham
Lorraine Linder
Janet Lippincott
Phyllis Magaziner
Edie Mannion
Lynn Mather
Michele McElderry
Patty McMenamin
Andrew Nave
Beth Ounsworth
Jane Piecuch
Kimberly Quinn
Scott Quitel
Merritt Rhoad
Fred Rosso
Phillip Rush
Jeff Schaefer
Cathy Schweiger
Gerry Schweiger
Peg Shaw
Elizabeth Shaw-Fink
Donald Simon
Susan Simon
Najwa Smith
Stephanie Stein
Frank Tuplin
Cynthia Turecki
John Vencius
Bruce Wagner
Ben Wall
Sarah West
Donna Wilhelm
Martin Yee
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
The newest class of FOW Trail Ambassadors
are currently in training. Seated: Jane Watkins
and Brian Hackford. Standing: Stephen Kurens,
John Duffin, Marvin Schwartz, Maria Stelacio,
Daniel Brown, Kim Purtle. Not pictured: Sanna
Randall and Wendy Willard.
Structures Crew
Rich Berman
Mark Blaustein
David Cerman
Dave Dannenberg
Eric Ervin
Mike Frumer
Bob Harries
Jeff Hayes
Ron Kanter
James Keiffer
Dave Kaiser
Brian Murphy
Dan Mercer
George Sibley
Tim Smigelski
Mike Souders
Ed Stainton
Merritt Rhoad
Mike Stofiel
Bill Thompson
Chris Ward
Buzz Wemple
Historical Geology of the
Wissahickon Gorge
with Sarah West
FOW Trail Ambassador
Sunday, March 25 • 2 pm
The Cedars House
Forbidden Drive near Northwestern Ave.
After this 45 minute lecture, Sarah West will lead
a short, easy geology walk along Forbidden Drive
between Northwestern Ave. and Bell’s Mill Rd. if
weather permits. FREE to the public. Registration
is strongly encouraged as space is limited. Register
with FOW Outreach Coordinator Sarah Marley at
[email protected] or 215-247-0417 ext. 109.
This program is suitable for children ten and over
accompanied by a responsible adult. Cancelled in the
event of hazardous transportation conditions due to
snow or ice.
Visit for updated information.
Field Report
by Dan Mercer, Volunteer Coordinator
On December 3, volunteers built a short section of trail to link the southeast part of Blue Bell
Meadow with the recently built trail that runs from the meadow to RittenhouseTown. They also
removed invasive vines that were smothering the trees and shrubs at the entrance to the newly
constructed trail section.
The Demo 1 trail got some much needed maintenance on December 10. Many of the grade
reversals on this trail were not working properly and as a result the trail was often muddy. The grade
reversal were repaired and the trail now sheds water much better.
On December 17, volunteers raked leaves off the Kitchen’s Lane Trail to ensure that water drains
properly off it during rain storms. They also worked on the upper switchback to repair some damage to
the trail tread. An additional 100 feet of trail was built near the entrance at Westview Street. Thanks to
Dmitri Zorine for helping to lead the crew.
S pecial thanks to . . .
Kenn Rymdenko for getting coffee & lunch
Dmitri Zorine for running the SK-500
Drew Miller for leading the vine-removal crew
PWD for dropping off some soil and providing rock
for the retaining wall
Dave Bower of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation for
taking the trash to the dump
Conservation Volunteers
(30 most active participants)
Volunteers removed bamboo and
grape vines on January 7. Three volunteers
cleaned the creek bank between Bell’s
Mill Road and Germantown Ave. Thanks
to Susannah Beckett from Wissahickon
Restoration Volunteers for leading the
bamboo removal group and David Bower
for leading the vine clearing group and
disposing of the collected trash.
On January 14, volunteers removed
grape vines at the Andorra Nature Center.
Two volunteers cleaned the creek between
Bell’s Mill Road and the Covered Bridge.
Again, thanks to David Bower for
disposing of the collected trash.
At the request of the Philadelphia
Noelle Becker of Lafayette Hill and
Water Department (PWD), on January 28
Ann Breen of Wyndmoor.
volunteers repaired several retaining walls installed on both sides of the
tributary near Hartwell Lane that feeds Wissahickon Creek. The walls were installed to support the
access road and protect the sewer interceptor line. Parts of the wall had been undercut during the severe
storms last year and stones were placed in these sections to support the wall. This section of stream
has a series of stepped pools and volunteers also removed some of the rocks that were carried from
upstream in order to restore proper flow of water. Thanks to FOW Outreach Coordinator Sarah Marley
for bringing lunch.
At the request of PWD about 50 feet
of trail was rerouted at Cresheim Creek
to assist with their attempts to control
storm water in the area. The volunteers
constructed 60 feet of new trail, built a
12 foot retaining wall to protect a tree
adjacent to the new trail, collected several
bags of trash, and cut English ivy from
nearby trees.
(Front to back) FOW Trail Ambassador Gerry
Schweiger, Jen Adams, and FOW Board Member
Heidi Grunwald.
Austin Adler
Dan Mercer
Marc Adler
Drew Miller
Ann Breen
Ryan Mitchell
John Cassidy
Alexander Okamoto
Carmella Clark
Jennifer Overberg
Jacalyn Clawson
Kenn Rymdeko
David Dannenberg
Evan Sachs
Brian Desrochers
Anna Shipp
Diane Garvey
Catherine Sulimay
Heidi Grunwald
Cynthia Turecki
Paul Harris
Charles Uniatowski
Diana Hulboy
Nick Uniatowski
Chuck Kirkland
Wendy Willard
Kenneth Kopple
Borey Yem
Kevin Kramer
Dmitri Zorine
You make the world
a more beautiful place.
NBCUniversal is a proud sponsor
of Friends of the Wissahickon.
Bravo, Chiller, CLOO, CNBC, CNBC World, Comcast Sports Group, E!,
ExerciseTV, G4, Golf Channel, msnbc, mun2, Olympics, Oxygen, Sprout,
Style, Syfy, Telemundo, Universal HD, USA, VERSUS
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
FOW is pleased to welcome the following new members, who joined the Friends of the Wissahickon from
May through October 2011.
Ruth Abrahams
James Alcock
Mark Bachus
Magdalena Bakowitz
Alice Ballard
Harry Bambrick
Richard Bartholomew
Lorraine Basara
Robert Bast
Kelly Batstone
Chris Beetel
Tish Berchtold-Klus
Margaret Berkey
Esther Berkow
Sidney Beshunsky
Soma Bockelman
Patricia Bonacci
Bradley Bridge
Barbara Britt
Jeffrey Brosof
Loretta Brown
Harriet Brumberg
Richard Cantor
Paul Carpenter
Jeff Carpenter
Diane Carroll
Maureen Cattie
Susan Checkman
Carmella Clark
Alison Cohen
James Comerford
Kathryn Connor
Kerstin Cook
Monica Cooley
Robin Croog
James Cunningham
Thomas Degnan
Candice DeLeo
George Deming
Patricia Devlin
Sandra Dickson
Nicole DiGiulio
Elizabeth Dooley
Richard Drueding
John Duffin
Eliot Duhan
Joyce Edwards
Kathlyn Egan
Andrew Erlichman
Timothy Esposito
Elizabeth Farley
Karen Feisullin
Elizabeth Field
Rose Fisher
Susan Fitzpatrick
Maureen Flanagan
Valerie Flitter
Carol Forman
Carol Franklin
Lorraine Gerlich
Andrew Gerson
Geoffrey Ginsberg
Gerard Givnish
Brian Gold
Richard Goldman
Mark Goodman
Joseph Graboyes
Ari Greis
Doris Grubin
Tamera Guenther
Christine Haines
Roger Harmon
Elfie Harris
Peggy Harris
Susan Hart
Carol Hart
Martin Heckler
Carla Heiken
Jay Heller
Harry Hellerman
Paul Hensley
Steven Herman
Charles Hoffman
Robert Holmes
Daniel Horan
Stuart Hosansky
Ryan Howe
Kimberly Hugo
Karen Hunter
Claudia Huot
Brianne Jackson
Eugene Jacobs
Lucius Jenkins
Anne Jenkins
Brett John
Rodney Johnson
Steven Johnson
Carolyn Johnson
Landon Jones
Virginia Kauffman
Ryan Kelty
Martha Kemper
Chuck Kirkland
Alan Kirsch
Debra Klebanoff
Kenneth Kleckner
Phyllis Kosherick
Gayle Koster
Andrew Kraetzer
Kevin Kramer
Jessica Krow
John Kulak
Eileen Lambert
Christopher Lane
Earl Laney
Christopher Larcade
Duane Large
Albert Lattanzio
Doris Laubenstein
Andrew Layne
Judith Lee
Heather Levi
Laura Levitt
Chris Linn
Dieter Littles
Corbett Lohse
David Lorenzi
Dorothy Luther
Evelyn Major-Eskin
John Maley
Ellen Marcus
Carl Marcus
Laura Margolies
Brian Mast
Marian McAllister
Richard McCourt
Donna McDonnell
James McElhiney
Susan McGill
Charles McNabb
Swati Mercer
Frank Messina
Zella Michael
Ruth Miller
Matthew Monk
Philip Moyer
Kathleen Mullin
Henry Nace
Andrew Nave
Charles Ochs
Patricia O’Hara
Patricia Ohlemiller
Gertrude O’Leary
Joan O’Reilly
Bonnie Ostrofsky
Reynaldo Palacio
Suzanne Pearson
Robert Pelszynski
Thomas Phiambolis
Janet Phillips
Grace Pien
Joanne Plummer
Joel Posener
Anne Puhl
Bill Quinn
Linda Quiring
Patricia Remeis
Marilynn Rendine
Kathleen Renshaw
Bonnie Rivkin
Audrey Robinson
Denise Rosato
Dan Rose
David Rosenthal
Robert Rosenwein
Gail Ross
Alfred Rotelle
Jim Rowley
Michele Rubenstein
Helen Rubin
Frederick Rude
Amy Russell
Holley Sanford
Jason Santini
Dale Scannell
Joseph Scaven
David Scheid
Susan Schein
Elizabeth Schmitt
Michelle Segre
Paul Shane
Robert Sharpe
Daniel Shechtman
Francis Sheridan
Linda Silverman
John Singer
Robert Sitrin
Victor Skloff
Sarah Smith
Amy Soeffing
Linda Solomon
William Sonis
Sarah Spath
Dean Springman
Stephanie Stein
David Stewart
Matt Stiegler
Jean Marie Straff
Charles Strickler
Carol Stuart-Buttle
Teresa Sullivan
Monica Sullivan
Mark Sutton
Cherron Thomas
Raymond Thomas
Peggy Thomson
Dawn Tomlinson
Natalie Tyler
Thomas Vernon
Ann Wallace
Mark Walter
Peter Waxler
David Webster
Stephen Weinstein
Reggie Williams
Camilla Williams
Bettye Williams
Gingi Wingard
Richard Winslow
James Winsor
Lori Wizdo
Nancy Wood
Arthur Woody
Shelly Yanoff
Borey Yem
Fran Young
Jason Zuzga
Passport to the Wissahickon provides important
information on landmarks, wildlife, trails, plants,
history, geology, safety, rules and regulations, and
emergency contacts, and contains a pocket to
hold FOW’s popular trail map. FREE to FOW
members and anyone who purchases a Map of the
Wissahickon Valley. This new membership benefit
also provides recognition for FOW’s Business
Sponsors and will be published annually with
updated information. Businesses interested in
being featured in the Passport to the Wissahickon
should contact Ruffian Tittmann, Development
Director, at 215-247-0417 or [email protected]
Friends of the Wissahickon • Spring 2012
photo by William Hengst
April 29 is
Wissahickon Day
he 2012 annual Wissahickon Day Parade
(WDP) will be held on Sunday, April 29, in
Wissahickon Valley Park. The parade is the
oldest annual equine parade in the U.S. and is
sponsored by the Wissahickon Valley Riding and
Driving Association (WVRDA).
WDP has a rich
by Jo Catanzaro
history; tradition
dictates that only
riders and drivers participate, so no one walks.
This tradition relates to the purpose of the original
1921 parade, which was to protest the proposal
to allow automobiles on Forbidden Drive. A “Save
the Wissahickon” campaign rallied hundreds of
equestrians and thousands of spectators. Forbidden
Drive got its name from the proposal’s defeat, hence
cars are “forbidden.”
The Parade will start at 12 pm, departing from
Harper’s Meadow. Line-up will start with carriages in
front of Northwestern Equestrian Facility (NWEF)
at approximately 11:45 a.m. Riders will fall in line
behind the carriages starting at Harper’s Meadow.
The Parade will travel to Forbidden Drive and
continue along the Drive to the judging area at
Valley Green Inn.
A Horse Show will precede the parade, with
classes held in the outdoor arena of NWEF. The Horse
Show will start at 10 a.m. Classes include English,
Western, Costume, Stable Group, and Carriages.
Registration for both the Show and the Parade starts
at 9 am.
Spectators can watch the Horse Show from the
bleachers in front of the ring in Harper’s Meadow, and
Parade viewing is available anywhere along Forbidden
Drive. The judging area in front of Valley Green Inn is
the most popular parade viewing site. Picnic areas are
available throughout the park. Lunch is available at
Valley Green Inn. (reservations recommended)
Northwestern Avenue will be closed to traffic and
parking to accommodate horse trailers and carriages.
Parking will be available in the upper lots at Valley
Parade planning continues. For more information
or for registration, contact Jo Catanzaro at [email protected]
Environmental Summer Camps
in the Wissahickon Watershed
Briar Bush Nature Center
Briar Bush provides the opportunity
to experience the wonders of nature
through games, hikes, crafts, live animal
encounters, and free play time. Older
campers venture to local natural areas
and places of interest to increase their
knowledge and comfort level in the
Summer Camp 2012. Half-day camps
for ages 2-7 and Full-day camps for ages
8-18. Open registration begins Monday,
February 27. Parent Information
Session on May 17 at 5:30 pm.
Kids welcome; snacks provided.
Location: 1212 Edge Hill Road, Abington, PA 19001
More Information: 215-887-6603 or [email protected] or
Pennypack Environmental Center
Located in 1600-acre Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia, the center overlooks
Pennypack Creek and features an outdoor amphitheater, wildlife exhibits, 300-gallon native
fish aquarium, bird blind and picnic area.
Summer Adventure Camp (June 25-June29) Ages 8-12. Includes bird watching, fishing,
hiking, and more and allows children to discover nature’s wonders in a safe, educational, and
social environment. 9 am-3 pm. $150.00/camper.
Teen Adventures (June 19-June 21) Teens age 13 and up can join us for excursions. Prices
vary each day.
Location: 8600A Verree Road at Pennypack Creek, Philadelphia, PA 19115
More information: 215-685-0470
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
SCEE offers two environmentally-based summer camp programs run by experienced
environmental educators and offer children and teens opportunities to explore the natural
world and their connection to it.
Nature Ramblers Summer Camp. Ages 4 to 9. Takes place on 340 acres of diverse
habitat and provides intimate and ongoing access to forests, fields, streams, ponds, and an
organic farm garden. Campers explore the natural world through hands-on discoveries, hiking
excursions, art, play, field trips and more.
Summer Adventure Treks. Challenges pre-teens and teens to improve their outdoor
knowledge and skills in a comfortable and supportive setting. Participants learn more about
themselves, strengthen self-confidence, and gain teamwork skills while exploring the outdoors
in unique and fun ways under the guidance of experienced instructors and outdoor guides.
Location: 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128
More information: 215-482-7300 or [email protected] or
Trail Ambassador Hikes
Unless otherwise specified Trail Ambassador
hikes use rocky, rugged trails that may
be wet and slippery. Please wear sturdy
shoes or boots with socks. Long pants are
recommended for protection against occasional
poison ivy and possible ticks. Bring water
and a snack if desired. Children over 7 are
welcome if accompanied by a responsible
adult. Walks are cancelled in heavy rain or icy
conditions. Registration is not required, but is
recommended so that you can be informed
of weather or other emergency cancellations.
Please send email to Sarah Marley at [email protected] For more info. see p. X or visit www.
Waters of the Wissahickon
with Diane Garvey
Sunday, March 18
1- 3 pm
Meet at Northwest Equestrian Facility on
Northwestern Ave. Difficulty: moderate. Length:
2+ miles. Will walk downstream on the orange
trail to the covered bridge, back on Forbidden
Drive. Waterproof shoes recommended.
Binoculars recommended. Ideal for families and
homeschoolers 6 years & older accompanied
by a responsible adult. For more info. contact
[email protected]
Geology Hike with Sarah West
Saturday, March 24 3:00- 4:45 pm
Meet at Valley Green Inn. Length: 1.5 miles
along a rough, steep trail on the east side of
the creek upstream from Valley Green. It can
be slippery or muddy in places. This hike is
suitable for children over 10 accompanied
by a responsible adult. Please bring water
and sturdy footwear. For more info. contact
[email protected]
Lower Wissahickon with Scott Quitel
Saturday, April 7 9 - 11:30 am
Meet at the RittenhouseTown parking lot. In this
mildly strenuous hike, we’ll explore interesting
sections of the less travelled lower Park. For
more info. contact [email protected]
Meanderings in the Wissahickon with
Shelly Brick.
Enjoy our park and share talk stories as we
explore the Wissahickon trails. Pace will be set
by the group. Hikes last 1.5-2 hours.
Children younger than 7 are welcome if they are
hikers. Bring water.
Saturday, March 17 at 2 pm. Meet at
Kitchens Lane entrance parking lot
Sunday, April 8 at 2 pm. Meet at Chestnut
Hill Ave. entrance to the park
Wissahickon Environmental Center
Saturday, April 28, 1 pm. Meet at Livezey
Lane, Allens Lane and Wayne Ave intersection
WEC presents affordable summer camps for children ages 6-14 that offer exploration, games,
crafts, and outdoor play allowing children to discover a world beyond their backyard
Sunday, May 20, 2 pm. Meet at Rex Ave.
entrance to the park.
Tree House Summer Camp (June 18-22 or June 25–June 29) Ages 6-10. 9 am to 3 pm.
Cost: $185 for one week (family discounts available).
Saturday, June 16, 1 pm. Meet at Kitchens
Lane entrance parking area.
Out- n-About Camp (August 13-17) Ages 11-14. An adventurous camp for the older
campers discovering the less traveled places of the Wissahickon Valley and Fairmount Park.
Time and cost TBD.
Location: 300 Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118
More information: 215-685-9285 or [email protected]
Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association
Summer Nature Camp at the Temple University Ambler Campus on Meetinghouse
Road with field trips in the Wissahickon Watershed. Monday- Friday, July 9- 13 from 9 am - 4
pm for campers ages 8 to 12. Cost is $249.00 per camper and there is a 10% discount for
registrations before April 30, 2012.
An Overview of the Wissahickon
with Peter Lapham
Sunday, April 29 2 – 4 pm
Meet at the Warming Shed at Valley Green.
Length: 4 miles. Walk to Kitchens Lane Bridge
on Forbidden Drive and back along the eastbank, orange trail over the Fingerspan Bridge
and through Devil’s Pool to Valley Green. Pace
is casual, but there is some climbing over low
rocks on the return trail.
Lower Forbidden Drive
with Sarah West
Saturday, May 19
3 - 4:45 pm
Meet at the small parking lot where Forbidden
Drive meets Lincoln Drive, a short distance
downstream from RittenhouseTown. This hike is
about one mile along lower Forbidden Drive on
level ground as far as the Walnut Lane Bridge.
Children with a responsible adult are welcome.
For more info. contact [email protected]
Wildflower Walk with Don Simon
Saturday, April 28 10 am – noon
Meet at Valley Green Inn. Difficulty: easy to
moderate, depending on where the wildflowers
are located. Will identify spring wildflowers.
Bring a wildflower field guide if you have
Appalachian Mountain Club
Delaware Valley Chapter
Wissahickon Gorge Wandering.
Brisk-paced hike; distance is dependent on the
conditions and speed of the group. Meet by
Valley Green Inn at 6:30 pm. Bring water and a
flashlight or a head lamp. Bad weather cancels.
Leaders: Christina Lawless (215-530-3883)
or [email protected]; Michael Lawless
(215-836-2275); David Stein (215-508-5915)
or [email protected] Thru April 30.
Tuesday Nights in the Wissahickon.
Casual social hike through hills of Wissahickon
Gorge. Bring water and a flashlight or
headlamp. Always an option for dinner following
the hike. Meet at Bruno’s, at the corner of
Germantown and Northwestern Avenues, at
6:30pm. Nasty weather will cancel the hike.
Leaders: David Stein (215-508-5915 before 9
pm) or [email protected]; Pat Naismith
(610-639-3670 before 9 pm or [email protected] Thru April 24.
Friday, March 23
Wissahickon Friday Nite Hike. Meet
6 pm at the intersections of Germantown and
Northwestern Aves. for a four mile, moderate
paced hike, along Wissahickon Creek in the
NW section of Philadelphia. Optional dinner
after hike. Rain or snow at hike time cancels.
Leader: Cliff Hence (215-247-3559 before 10
pm or [email protected]).
Friday, April 13
Wissahickon Friday Nite Hike. Meet
6 pm at the intersections of Germantown and
Northwestern Aves. for a four mile, moderate
paced hike, along Wissahickon Creek in the
NW section of Philadelphia. Optional dinner
after hike. Rain or snow at hike time cancels.
Leader: Cliff Hence (215-247-3559 before 10
pm or [email protected]).
Gay/Lesbian/TG Wissahickon Walk.
Departs outside former Borders on Germantown
Ave. in Chestnut Hill at 2 pm every Sunday.
Return: approx. 5 pm. Walk at a focused pace,
some ups and downs, over uneven paths. Exit
at midway break, if desired. A fun, talkative
group of gay/lesbian/TG people who like fresh
air and occasional exercise. Contact: Bert G.;
[email protected] or 215-271-8822.
Check our website for updates
Location: 580 Meetinghouse Road, Ambler, PA 19002
More information: 267-468-8500 or
Spring 2012 • Friends of the Wissahickon
Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers
(WRV) will lead a service project from 10 am to
Wissahickon Wanderers Trail Run. 4-5
Located on Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park.
For more information:
Shawmont Running Club. Starts at the
Last Tuesday of the Month. Benefits Philadelphia Animal
Welfare Society (PAWS). 5-8 pm. 20% of Inn sales for
the evening will be donated to PAWS.
noon as part of their on-going reforestation activities.
Details and directions to the worksite posted on the WRV
website ( at
least one week prior to the event. For information and to
RSVP, contact WRV at 215-951-0330 x201 or [email protected] Day of event, call Ron at 215-483-4348.
Friends of the Wissahickon volunteers repair
and build structures in the Wissahickon from 9 am to 1
pm. If you are handy with tools and like to build, call Ed
Stainton at 215-247-2763.
Wissahickon Service Projects (September
through May) 1 pm to 3 pm. Join Crefeld School, Friends
of the Wissahickon, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
Something new every week. Call David Bower at 215685-0120 for information.
Friends of the Wissahickon volunteers do
repairs within the Wissahickon from 9 am to 1 pm. If you
would like to help, call Ed Stainton at 215-247-2763.
Friends of the Wissahickon leads a service
project at various locations in the Park from 10 am to
2 pm. Projects include trail maintenance, invasive weed
removal, planting and clean-ups. April through October
volunteer days are typically held 3 to 4 Saturdays per
month. November thru March volunteer days are typically
held 1-2 Saturdays per month. For information, check
the volunteer calendar at or
contact Dan Mercer at 215-247-0417 ext. 107 or
[email protected]
Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers
(WRV) will lead a service project from 10 am to noon
as part of their on-going reforestation activities. Project
details and directions to the worksite will be posted at at least one
week prior to the event. For information and to RSVP,
contact WRV at 215-951-0330 x201 or [email protected]
org. Day of event, call Rich at 267-784-4421.
miles. Starts 6:30 pm. at Valley Green Inn. For details call
215-849-9080 or visit
end of Forbidden Drive/Northwestern Ave. From the
2nd Saturday in May through the 2nd Saturday in
October we start at 7:30AM. From the 3rd Saturday
in October through the 1st Saturday in May we
start at 8:00AM. Distances are at the discretion of
runners. All levels welcome. Emphasis is on fun! www.
Friends of the Wissahickon
Historical Geology of the Wissahickon
with Sarah West more info. p. 12
Sunday, March 25
2 pm
Creek in Crisis? Town meeting on the health of
the Wissahickon Creek more info. p. 7
Thursday, March 29
7 pm
Mills, Villages & Homesteads of the 18th &
19th Centuries with Sarah West more info. p. 6
Sunday, April 1
2 pm
The Importance of Open Space in an Urban
Environment with Andrew M. Loza
more info. p. 6
Wednesday, April 25
6 pm
Yappy Hour
Fishing In Philly
Thursday April 5 Preserve Walk at Briar Hill
Greener Bubbles
Saturday April 14
10 – 11:30am
LOVE is in the air!
Saturday May 12th
10am – 4pm
WVWA offers many public programs as part of
its mission to protect the quality and beauty of
the Wissahickon Creek and to enhance life in the
Wissahickon Watershed. Located at 12 Morris Road,
Ambler, Pennsylvania. For information on their programs,
Saturday, March 17, 1 pm
Celebrate Mother’s Day with a Native Tree
Honor a mother, wife or friend, make a memorial
donation, or purchase a native tree/s to be planted at
Willow Lake Farm on Serve the Preserve Day, March 31.
You can plant the tree or let WVWA volunteers plant it for
you. Purchase online before March 31. Mail a check or
call WVWA with your credit card. $30 donation per tree.
Spring Serve the Preserve Day
Saturday, March 31, 9 am
Evans-Mumbower Mill Open House
Sunday, April 15, 1 – 4 pm
Sustainable Gardening & Working with Native
Plants Lecture
more info. p. 6
Tuesday, May 15
WVWA Native Plant Sale
6 pm
Tuesday, June 5
6 pm
Historic RittenhouseTown offers classes, workshops,
and events for individuals and families to learn about
the craft of hand papermaking and other aspects
of Colonial life at the original Rittenhouse Family
Homestead. RittenhouseTown is located on Lincoln Drive
at Rittenhouse Street. For information on their programs
call 215-438-5711, e-mail [email protected]
org, or visit
Future calendar listings for the newsletter may be placed by contacting the Friends of the Wissahickon at 215-247-0417 or [email protected]
The Calendar of Events in the Wissahickon may also be viewed on FOW’s website,
which contains updates on our events, including cancellations.
An evening walk at Roxborough Reservoir, where toads
go to breed every spring. Listen for the toads’ calls and
learn about the reservoir’s history. Adults Only (16
and over) Reservoir is located right off of Ridge
Avenue on Port Royal Avenue. Parking is located at
the ball field on Port Royal Avenue.
Greenworks and Sustainability in
Philadelphia with Katherine Gajewski
Annual Meeting more info. p. 3
Evening Walk at Roxborough Reservoir
Tuesday March 27 6:30-7:30pm
Friday, April 20, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Friday, April 20, 2 – 5 pm - WVWA Members Only
Saturday, April 21, 9am – noon - Open to the public
Wissahickon Warbler Walk
Learn how to make simple natural cleaning products that
keep harmful chemicals out of our water supply. Mix up
concoctions to bring home. Ages 6 and Up. $5 per
family Registration Required by April 10.
Join us for the first day of PPR’s Love Your Park Week.
Make a paper quilt square that shows how you love your
park at WEC’s monthly open house. The paper quilt will
be on display in the Tree House starting Monday May
Meteorite Myths
Monday May 14th (Cloud date May 15th
Presented by Len Jensen, President of Delaware Valley
Amateur Astronomer. This indoor/outdoor program will
begin with an introduction to meteorites and comets and
an up-close look at a meteorite. Next viewable meteor
shower is not until July/August, but we will visit the
meadow and observe the late spring sky. Ages 12 and
Up. Registration is required by Friday May 11.
Friday June 1st
Sunday, April 29, 8 am
Pre-registration is required for ALL programs. Space is
limited, so register early! For information and registration,
call 215-685-9285 or email [email protected] Your
registration must be confirmed by our staff. Unless
otherwise noted, programs are FREE, begin at the Tree
House, and last 90 minutes.
Check our website for updates
Visit Wissahickon Creek to learn about life under
water and how you can help keep Philadelphia’s
streams clean. Get a fishing lesson with rod and
reel fishing poles (catch & release). Meet at Tree House.
Children ages 6-15. Registration required by
March 29.
Join us as we dispel some of the myths about bats.
Learn about the benefits of Pennsylvania’s bat species
and the cause of their alarming drop in numbers, then
take a hike to the creek to see brown bats in action All
ages. Registration Required
National Great Outdoors Day
Saturday June 9 Celebrate National Great Outdoors Day by exploring the
Wissahickon! Stop at the WEC and pick up a scavenger
hunt that will guide you through the valley.
— Friends of the Wissahickon Membership Form —
 YES, I/We want to help preserve and protect the Wissahickon.
Membership Level
 $20 Limited Income/Students
 $100 Contributing*
 Society of Generous Friends*  $1000
 $45 Basic
 $250 Sponsor*
 $2500
*Choice of:
 Hat
 Please keep the premium and
use the entire membership fee for the Park.
 $5000
 $75 Family
 $500 Patron*
 $10,000 or above
 T-Shirt (circle size)
Children: S M L
Red Bird: Women S M • Adult L XL
Warbler & Map: Adult M L XL XXL
All new members receive a map of the Wissahickon Valley. Limited Income/
Student members receive invitations to all events and our quarterly
newsletter. Basic members receive invitations to all events; our quarterly
newsletter, and membership card with discounts for meals at Valley Green Inn
(in the park) and FOW merchandise. Family members receive all benefits of
Basic membership plus choice of two kids tees (S [6-8], M [10-12], L [14-16]).
Contributing members and above ($100 or more) receive all benefits of Basic
membership plus choice of hat or T-shirt (M, L, XL).
Method of Payment
 Check Enclosed
(payable to the Friends of the Wissahickon)
City____________________________________________ State___________________Zip Code_____________________
 Charge my
 VISA  Mastercard
Phone (Home) ____________________ (Work) _______________________ E-mail______________________________
Card Number__________________________
I also want to help the Friends of the Wissahickon with:
 Membership
 Community Outreach  Trail Repair
 Fundraising
 Reforestation
 Structures Repair
Expiration Date________________________
 Clean-Up
 Education
 Wildlife
 Vine Removal
Please return to: 8708 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118 • tel 215-247-0417 • [email protected] •
Contributions to the Friends are tax deductible as permitted by current laws.
The official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll free, within Pennsylvania (800) 732-0999.

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