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Entries in environment (35)


Class Action


Haddington Woods is the first place students of a free land management class will test what they've learned. | Photo by Jen BrittonFree land management course teaches citizens
to take care of their forests

Twenty-five Philadelphians gathered this past June to learn how to manage their forest. But many of those who met at the Haverford Avenue branch of the Free Library in West Philadelphia had no technical background in restoration, ecology or anything else you’d expect for land managers.

The “Short Course in Land Management,” taught by David Hewitt, research coordinator for the Wagner Free Institute, was a “highly distilled version of an ecology course I teach to city planners at Penn,” Hewitt says. The free, six-week course is part of an innovative experiment to engage local residents in managing the city’s forests, meadows and waterways, and is open to anyone. The laboratory is Haddington Woods.

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Morris Park preservation allows animal prints to be seen once again 

The first snow of winter sits heavy and wet as photographer Christian Hunold and I explore Morris Park by the rich light of dawn. The snow clings to every branch and twig, surrounding us in a tunnel of glowing white as we walk the path along the west branch of Indian Creek.

Overbrook’s Morris Park follows the two branches of the creek from City Avenue to Haverford Avenue, just upstream of their confluence with Cobbs Creek. In other seasons, I’ve caught toads in the underbrush and followed the trails to the top of one of the quarries, which today looks like a rocky cliff cut down into the hillside. Together with the ruined remains of old mills, it all hints at the land’s industrial past.

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Nest, Eagles, Nest: Bald eagles make a comeback in Pennsylvania

As I write this, the philadelphia eagles could actually win the NFC East, which makes every Sunday an emotional hazard. For my emotional self-defense, I hedge with other, more reliable activities—like picking up a pair of binoculars and checking out some real Philadelphia eagles. The eagles that have actual wings and talons start building or rehabbing their nests in December in order to have them ready for eggs in January. On land, everything might be cold and dormant, but if the water isn't frozen, bald eagles can fish. That’s enough to keep them—as well as gulls, cormorants and other waterfowl—active and visible in Northeast Philadelphia, at the mouth of Pennypack Creek, also known as Pennypack on the Delaware.

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Historic Pier 53 transformed into public park

ZONE A: Upper Riparian/Upland: above daily tidal inundation, flooded by larger storms. Habitat for migratory and resident songbirds and raptors, small reptiles, small mammals and invertebrates. ZONE B: Lower Riparian: occasional tidal inundation and flooded by smaller storms. Habitat for migratory and resident songbirds and raptors, small reptiles, small mammals and invertebrates. ZONE C: Intertidal: Inundated by daily tidal cycle. Habitat for fish; reptiles; mollusks (mussels, clams) and other aquatic invertebrates; migratory waterfowl and wading birds.At the end of October, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) broke ground on the next phase of Washington Avenue Green, the waterfront park at the former Pier 53. The park enhancements will combine public green space with river views and access, as well as educational opportunities, ecological improvements and public art acknowledging the pier’s history.

From 1873 to 1915, Pier 53 was the city’s main immigration station, a history that will be acknowledged by the “Land Buoy,” a beacon and spiral staircase designed by local artist Jody Pinto.

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Environmental advocate makes sure that nobody crosses the Delaware

Photo courtesy of Delaware Riverkeeper NetworkMaya van Rossum has been passionate about the environment since she grew up playing in and around Ithan Creek in Villanova. But it wasn’t until she was studying law in college and asked a professor if there was any career path that could combine her two passions—law and the environment—that she first heard the term “environmental law.”

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