PECO Green Roof Tour with PHS

Tues., Oct. 21, 5 to 6 p.m.

Food 101: A Panel Discussion

Wed., Oct. 22, 6 to 7 p.m.

Philly Parks Future Forum

Thurs., Oct. 23, 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

 

  






 

 

Wednesday
Oct222014

Bee Afraid

Philadelphia author educates and entertains with his latest eco-thriller, Deadout

Too often, the message of sustainability is delivered in a heavy-handed and humorless way. That’s why Jon McGoran’s delightful books with doomsday plots are so welcomed. Drift and Deadout, the first two books in a trilogy about the adventures of Doyle Carrick, a good-hearted but reckless detective, fall under the category of “eco-thriller.” At their core, the books offer the pure entertainment of a “good guys vs. bad guys” story, but McGoran manages to introduce ideas about food safety and sovereignty in a gentle way, and from the differing perspectives of fully-fleshed characters. In Deadout, released in August by Forge Books, the plot revolves around the disappearance of native honey bees, and a corporation with a genetically modified bee ready to come to the rescue. Grid caught up with our former editor in chief to discuss his latest work. 

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Tuesday
Oct212014

Plugged In

Mark McGee organizes electronics recycling events several times a year. | Photo by Megan Matuzak

Mark McGee, Kensington's undisputed electronics recycling champion 

The average American throws away approximately 62 pounds of electronics a year, says Kensington resident Mark McGee, citing a WHYY podcast on electronics waste. “I don’t think people realize there is a lot of toxic stuff out there when they throw a TV away,” McGee says.

McGee helps promote electronics recycling in Kensington, an area he's lived in for over 50 years, through his volunteer work with Sustainable 19125 & 19134. The resident-driven organization was created by the local Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) and the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) with the support of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) to promote sustainability, and aims to make the two zip codes the greenest in the city.

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Monday
Oct202014

Drinking It In

The marshy middle basin provides a hunting spot for herons and foxes. | Photos by Christian Hunold

The East Park Reservoir provides home for birds,
and in 2017, a nature center

The pied-billed grebe flying south along the Atlantic Flyway can see the water in the East Park Reservoir right away, but you, looking at the embankments from the ground, could be forgiven for thinking it was all just a forested hill in Fairmount Park. But then you might notice that the sides of the hill are straight lines, and that off of Reservoir Drive, a blue brick road cuts into the woods, blocked by a Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) gate.

Back when the East Park Reservoir was built in the late 1800s, its four basins held only water, and its embankments were covered in blue brick—sterile and uninviting to any but engineers. Over time, woods took over where they could. Philadelphia’s population shrank and stopped using three of the basins, which over 200 species of birds have been happy to take over. 

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Sunday
Oct192014

Bank On It

Photo by Raffi Berberian

Walkers, runners and cyclists can now add a new path to their outings: the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. The $18 million, 2,000 foot-long concrete structure runs parallel to the eastern shore of the river from Locust Street to the new stair tower at the South Street Bridge, and extends the Schuylkill River Trail.

As part of The Circuit—300 miles of multi-use network of trails throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania with 50 miles in progress and more planned—the Boardwalk provides more direct access to the Trail for residents in South and West Philadelphia. The Boardwalk sits about 50 feet from the shore and its 15-foot wide pathway has four widened overlooks to allow people to rest, fish and take in the Center City and University City views without blocking the main drag.

The entire path is supplemented with solar-powered overhead lights for evening runs and rides. The project was built by Crossing Construction, Weeks Marine Construction, Nucero Electric and All Seasons Landscaping. Boardwalk design and engineering was funded by the City of Philadelphia, and was completed by URS, Pennoni Associates and CH Planning. Ramp design was executed by Michael Baker Engineers. The Boardwalk is part of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation’s plan to connect the Trail on the Schuylkill Banks from the Water Works to Bartram’s Garden by 2016. 

Saturday
Oct182014

A Man for All Seasons

Illustration by Laura Weiszer

A cyclist's commitment to all-weather commuting

Last October I got serious about biking. I know it was October because that’s when I ordered a pair of waterproof pants from Amazon. I had already been biking mostly everywhere for just over half a decade, but I had made a conscious decision to only bike, regardless of the weather. So I already had slightly leaky rain boots and a rain jacket, and the only missing component to biking through a downpour was rain pants. Before buying those pants, it was far too easy for a rainy day to force me onto the trolley, but since then I really had no excuse but to bike to work.

My partner Nikki and I shared a car, using it maybe once a week, but when we moved to West Philadelphia, I wanted to prove to myself that I could eliminate even those occasional weekly trips. With the exception of occasional family visits to western Pennsylvania, I wanted to be car-free.

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