LandHealth’s Philadelphia Watershed Steward (PWS) program and Urban Promise from Camden’s RiverGuides ran a program exchange. Students visited each other’s locations and shared what they had learned.
PWS, a program for high school students LHI runs with support from PWD and FPC, in which students learn about Philadelphia’s urban environment and then share that knowledge with the community. Urban Promise is a private school in Camden that has a program where students build canoes and then use them to lead tours on the Cooper River. As both make their homes in watersheds that drain into the Delaware, the team-up was a natural one, and made possible through PWD connecting these great programs.
On a rainy day last June, the RiverGuides made the trek across the Delaware and out to Cobbs Creek on the western edge of Philadelphia. There the Stewards took them on a tour of Philadelphia’s stormwater infrastructure. They saw where Naylor’s run has been buried since 1895, where a wetland had been constructed to handle the resulting floods almost one hundred years later, where storm drains empty into the Cobbs Creek, and where we have new green stormwater infrastructure. Green tools such as rain gardens now being installed along Cobbs Creek Parkway help reduce stormwater runoff and now help protect the health of the creek
Later, in August, the Camden RiverGuides returned the favor and took us on a tour of the Cooper River. They took us from the dam creating a large lake downstream past a sunken ice cream parlor, around the back of the Campbell’s plant whose tomato soup discharge used to turn the river red, and out into the Delaware near Petty’s Island, past a graveyard of decaying ships.
These tours gave students from both groups a chance to get a larger view of thier watershed, and to meet other young people helping protect it now and into the future. We look forward to more program exchanges like this as PWS moves into it’s 2020 season!