Raw Vegetarian Food with Atiya Olater

Tues., June 30, 6 to 8 p.m. 

Nightscape: A Light & Sound Experience

Wed., July 1, 9 p.m. 

Venice Island Live: Outdoors

Thurs., July 2, 6-10 p.m. 





Entries in environment (62)


The Wedding Issue: Sourcing your wedding’s flower power locally

The Love 'N Fresh flower farm in RoxboroughWhile you’re laying down roots of your own, it doesn’t get more local or sustainable than a backdrop of flowering trees, shrubs or plants that still have roots in the ground. Consider picking an outdoor location for your wedding—like a park or arboretum—and a time of year where you’ll need little to supplement the native foliage and blooms. 

Couples planning to use botanical bouquets and table arrangements can choose to source flowers locally and even organically. When you get your wedding flowers from local farms, you’re reducing environmental impact and helping the local economy to bloom. In places like Philadelphia where vacant land is a problem, there is a growing movement to use that space for flower production, as the owners of hyper-local Jig-Bee and Chicory have done. 

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Torch Bearers 

Sara Allan introduces SPARC to 30 students and professionals participating in the first working group session at the City CoHo Philly Nexus space 

SPARC network ignites a passion for sustainability on regional campuses

by Brittany Thomas

Launching a student environmental group while in college is impressive, but 22-year-old University of Pennsylvania Environmental Studies senior Sara Allan’s SPARC project has caught fire far beyond the ivied walls of her campus.

In addition to her own university, Drexel, Temple and Villanova students are now all part of the year-old Sustainable Philadelphia Alliance of Regional Campuses (SPARC).  The organization was formed with the help of a small group of peers and an advisory board, and it will soon become an independent nonprofit, led by students and guided by a board of professional sustainability leaders.

When it was established in January 2014, SPARC’s primary goal was to connect representatives from the regional universities so that they could compare notes on how to become most effective on their own campuses. The vision quickly expanded, and the group’s activities are poised to help Philadelphia’s sustainable economy by connecting students to local businesses while they’re still in school, and creating a pipeline of educated employees who want to stay in Philadelphia and drive its economy after they’ve graduated.

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Preserving the Peace

Photo by Stephen Dyer | Community activist Tommy Joshua leads a group of progressive activists looking to make radical change in Philly neighborhoodsby Danielle Wayda

Community activist and educator Tommy Joshua is standing his ground. As the executive director of North Philly Peace Park, an urban garden and education space in the Sharswood neighborhood, Joshua leads a group of passionate and progressive activists who want to see radical change come to Philly neighborhoods that need it most—through food and community. The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) had a different vision for the land where North Philly Peace Park is situated, and planned to build a mixed-income housing project there. Joshua’s tenacity might mean that the community’s needs for housing, fresh food and education are all addressed.

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A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings

Can recycled art at the Philadelphia Zoo help protect habitat and change habits?

by Heather Shayne BlakesleeNine-foot-tall recycled-cardboard gorilla sculpture created by Canadian artist Laurence Vallieres for the Philadelphia Zoo’s Second Nature: Junk Rethunk exhibit.

The newest animals at the Philadelphia Zoo aren’t in cages, although some of them—including a life-sized alligator sculpted from bubblegum—will remain safely behind glass. Second Nature: Junk Rethunk, an exhibit of whimsical sculptures made from recycled and salvaged materials, features the work of a dozen artists and artist collaboratives from around the world. Among the menagerie is a 900-pound gorilla made from recycled car steel, delicate miniature mechanical birds forged from used machine parts and cast-off electronics, and a majestic silver rhinoceros crafted from old serving ware and dinner plates, created by Philadelphia’s own Leo Sewell. 

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Let it Grow

Awbury Arboretum’s unlikely stewards let nature—and discovery—run wild

Awbury staff from left to right: Denis Lucey, Karen Flick, Heather Zimmerman and Chris van de Velde.Philadelphians are familiar with the sounds of city life: the laughter of kids walking home from school, bus engines and car horns on the busy streets, music flowing from rowhome windows. Amid the bustle in Germantown, a forest is quietly growing. The people entrusted with the 55-acre refuge at Awbury Arboretum believe that it’s a place to escape the hardscape, wonder at nature’s resilience and power, and maybe to fall in love.

Between a trickling creek bed on the grounds of Awbury Arboretum in Northwest Philadelphia and the abrasive honking of East Washington Lane, Denis Lucey is out on one of his many walks.

He stops to point out a mutated form of a snow drop flower and invites me to have a gnaw on a native spice bush. “It’s got an interesting flavor,” he encourages. “If you’ve ever been operated on, the orange dye they spray you with before they put the bandages on is a glue that originally comes from this plant.”

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