PASA Western Region Potluck

Mon., Dec. 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

The Poinsettia Story

Tues., Dec. 16, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Department of Making + Doing Gallery Exhibition

Thurs., Dec. 18, 5 to 7 p.m.

 

  




 

 

Entries in environment (45)

Monday
Nov172014

Hard-Working Mussels

A new effort brings the mysterious mussel
back to a Philadelphia waterway

The lack of mussels in the Tacony-Frankford Creek made the stream a desirable target for the reintroduction of the hardy Elliptio complanata species. | Photos by Brian Rademaekers

When you think of mussels in Philadelphia, your first thought might be of ordering moules-frites, Belgium’s signature dish, from Monk’s Café. Ecologist Danielle Kreeger and a team of volunteers is trying to add another association. They want you to think of the Tacony-Frankford Creek, whose swampy terminus is at the Delaware River in Northeast Philadelphia, where the once plentiful mussel is being reintroduced.

In late August, Kreeger and her helpers took coolers with 50 mussels, scrubbed clean and fitted with tiny radio transmitters, to the creek. Carefully selecting spots along the streambed where they’ll be able to weather storm surges, Kreeger, a scientist working for the nonprofit Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), and her team gently placed them in small clusters. A GPS location and basic water quality data were recorded at each new mussel bed. The mussels will be monitored periodically. If the mussels survive, Kreeger and others will measure shell growth to determine how healthy the new beds are.

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Sunday
Nov162014

Bug Net

An innovative project studies urban insect biodiversity

Isabelle Betancourt fished bugs out of Swann Fountain three times a week. | Photos by Jen Britton

"Most of the things I catch are drowning or dead,” says Isabelle Betancourt, curatorial assistant of Entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, as we stood next to Swann Fountain in Logan Circle, surrounded by some of Center City’s great landmarks: the Academy itself, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

Some may picture entomologists dressed like 19th century explorers, decked out in khaki with pith helmets and butterfly nets. Betancourt was dressed like a casual office worker—sweater and jeans—the day in early October that I accompanied her. As for her sampling equipment, Betancourt carried two collecting vials and “a fishnet that I borrowed from my fish at home.”

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Wednesday
Oct292014

Another Big Reason to Head to the Polls 

The continuation of the Office of Sustainability will be up to voters on Nov. 4 | Photos by Albert Lee

This Election Day, voters will decide whether Philadelphia's
Office of Sustainability Will Stay or Go

When Philadelphians head to the polls on Tuesday on Nov. 4, they'll likely have their minds made up about whether they're pulling the lever for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett or Democratic challenger Tom Wolf.

But to the right of the main attraction, there will also be a separate section, labeled "Questions." In the first box will be a proposed amendment to the city's charter, seeking to "establish and define the functions of the Office of Sustainability, headed by a Director of Sustainability."

Since its inception in 2008 at the start of the Michael Nutter administration, most Philadelphians probably thought the Office of Sustainability had become a permanent fixture in city government. But as the proposal suggests, that isn't necessarily the case. We interviewed the office's director, Katherine Gajewski, to find out what's at stake for her office in next week's election.

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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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Tuesday
Oct072014

Schuylkill Center to Host Green Town Meeting This Week

Fracking (and how to tax it) has been a major issue in the Pennsylvania governor's race between incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett and his challenger, Tom Wolf, but what about all the other environmental problems you care about: Clean water? Bicycling infrastructure? Alternative energy?

From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education is hosting a Green Town Hall Meeting with panelists including Michael Krancer, Governor Corbett’s first DEP chief, environmental attorney Robert Fox; the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Sarah Clark Stuart; and Jamie Gauthier, executive director of the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia.

“Understanding the relationship between the environment and politics is as important as understand the interactions of water, soil, and plant life," says Mike Weilbacher, executive director of the Schuylkill Center. "The Green Town Meeting fits into our work to encourage environmental stewardship."
  
And if the the fate of our Commonwealth's air, land, and water isn't enough to bring you out, there will be Yards beer too. 
Tickets are free, but please RSVP.