City Learning: New fellowship in Philly provides environmental research experience


Image via you a graduate or undergraduate student studying urban and environmental studies? Are you interested in topics like landscape architecture, engineering, conservation and urban natural resources? The new Sustainability Science Fellowship is an ideal opportunity to put those interests to practice right here in Philadelphia.

The fellowship, a new program of the U.S. Forest Service, City of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Horticultural society, will provide students with research experience aimed at promoting environmental literacy and increasing the number of young scientists within the field.

Projects proposed should foster collaboration, science delivery, and communication to help sustain the environmental well-being of Philadelphia’s urban areas. Students will be paired with Forest Service scientists who will serve as mentors and help oversee the completion of each project. For more information visit the Philadelphia Field Station website.

Applications are due to the Philadelphia Field Station by February 20.

CitiesAlive: Annual green roof and wall conference comes to Philadelphia

CitiesAlive, the only conference series in North America dedicated to green roof and wall industries, is in Philadelphia this week. This year’s four-day conference, “Restoring Urban Waters,” hosted by the industry association Green Roofs and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, will look at how green roofs and walls are part of Philadelphia’s plan to revitalize the city’s waters. The conference will feature education sessions, panel discussions, a trade show, demonstrations of the latest science and technologies, as well as tours of the city’s green roofs and walls.   

With so many innovative green projects and programs already underway, Philadelphia was an obvious choice for the 2011 conference. “Philadelphia is one of a few cities in the United States which has decided to rely upon urban greening as the fundamental, if not primary approach to addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act,” says Charlie Miller, founder of Roofscapes (now Roofmeadow), a Philadelphia-based green roof company.  

In addition to the small-scale greening initiatives, like farmer’s markets and composting services, our city features the tallest green building in America (Comcast Center) and Pennsylvania’s largest green roof on an existing building (45,000 square feet at PECO’s Center City headquarters). And then, there’s Green City, Clean Waters, the innovative multi-billion dollar, 25-year plan Philadelphia has adopted to restore water quality within the city.

Along with keynote speakers from Philadelphia’s water and environment sector, the conference will feature specific sessions on the city’s green transformation (December 1) and a case study of PECO’s green roof (December 2). Other highlights include tours of Philadelphia’s green spaces, technical sessions where industry experts will speak on policy, design, and research topics, and an all-day trade show. Green Roof Professional courses will be offered as well as the accreditation exam (separate registration is required). 

Anyone can register to attend the conference and there are several options, including two attendance packages and a student discount. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel (201 N. 17th St.). To register visit the conference website.

- Anna Louise Neiger

Urban Jungle, Concrete Farm

Philly represents at statewide urban farming conference 
by Phil Forsyth

On February 7, over 80 enthusiastic farmers and eaters packed a workshop called Small Space Community Food Production in State College. Lisa Mosca and Sharat Samashekara of Philly Green—a division of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society—energized the crowd about the possibilities of sustainable agriculture in an urban environment. In the crowd were some of the 120 folks, according to the official count, from Philly and the Southeastern Pennsylvania region that trekked to State College for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) Farming for the Future conference. They came from urban farms, farmer’s markets and blogs to learn, network and, of course, eat some great local food.
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