What’s in a Name?

Story and Photos by Bradley MauleWilliam Allen wielded a lot of influence in colonial Pennsylvania—he was a merchant who built upon his father’s fortune, he helped finance the construction of Independence Hall, and he was a one-term Philadelphia mayor and a longtime chief justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. Mount Airy, his nine-acre estate, gave the neighborhood its name and is fronted on Germantown Avenue where the Lutheran Theological Seminary now stands. Despite Allen's prominence, his legacy isn't honored uniformly. 
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Friends of the Wissahickon Seeks Trail Ambassador Applicants

Trail ambassador Diane Garvey leads a hike in the WissahickonThe Friends of the Wissahickon is currently seeking applicants for their Trail Ambassadors program. Trail Ambassadors are park volunteers who assist and educate people in the park with anything from directions to safety needs to park history, flora, and fauna. Ambassadors perform their service in the park and participate in ongoing education. They become experts in the Wissahickon and have the opportunity to delve deeply into their particular topics of interest while providing a valuable public service. "Trail Ambassadors is an excellent program in the Wissahickon that helps park visitors in a variety of ways,” says Joan Blaustein, Director of  Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management for Philadelphia’s Department of  Parks and Recreation. “The volunteers provide a great public service to the community in Northwest Philadelphia."

Trail Ambassadors share their knowledge by interacting with and providing assistance to park users while walking the trails. staffing information tables at FOW volunteer days and events, leading walks in the Wissahickon Valley and conducting surveys of park users and wildlife. FOW is offering a fall training session for this popular volunteer program. The application deadline is Friday, August 16, 2013.

"It is really nice to be part of the stewardship of the Wissahickon,” says Trail Ambassadors Education Manager Sarah West. “It lets me put my values into practice, not just talk, but actually do something. "

Training will be held on Wednesday evenings, 6 to 8 p.m., at The Cedars House from August 28 to October 9. There will also be one Saturday morning First Aid training session on Saturday, October 12, at FOW's office. Applicants accepted into the program are required to pay a $100 registration fee, sign a one-time volunteer release form, and obtain their criminal background check and child-abuse clearance.

Ambassadors must be FOW members or willing to join the organization. The number of open positions is limited. For more information, program requirements, and an application form visit www.fow.org/volunteering/trail-ambassadors. Contact FOW Outreach Manager Sarah Marley with questions at marley@fow.org or 215-247-0417 x109.

Hunting Park to set example for fixing food scarcity problems

Mayor Nutter at the Hunting Park community garden dedication. The garden is also part of the revitalization project. | Photo via cityparksblog.comIn the past three decades, North Philadelphia’s Hunting Park – one of the oldest in the Fairmount Park system – has become a better hub for crime than community activity. But since late 2008, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Hunting Park community have been working together to reverse this trend.
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Down by the Bank: Schuylkill Summer Spotlight

The Wissahickon Gorge of Wissahickon Creek Park is great for hiking, biking, and fishing. | Photo Credit: Friends of Wissahickon (http://www.fow.org/)Summer weather and extra daylight mean one thing: time to get outside. And what better place to do it than our own Schuylkill River! While perhaps best known for their bike and running paths, the Schuylkill River and 9,200 acres of Fairmount Park have so much more to offer.

Grab some popcorn and a movie.  The Schuylkill Banks Center is hosting “Movie Nights” every Thursday by the Walnut Street Bridge. The family-friendly films include flicks like “King Kong” (June 28), “Footloose” (July 12), and “Moneyball” (August 23). Arrive early and get free snacks or win a raffle item donated by Philadelphia Runner.

Take a Saturday Hike. Fairmount Park boasts more than 200 miles of picturesque walking trails. The park network includes places like Pennypack Creek Park and Wissahickon Valley Park, both well-known for their variety in trail lengths and difficulty, as well as their scenic waterside views. Grab your sneakers, some water and get lost for an afternoon!

Hit the water. The Schuylkill Banks Center is also offering kayak tours throughout the summer. A basic tour includes equipment rental, a half hour of instruction and a professionally guided tour of the river. For something extra special, try a moonlight tour that launches at 8 p.m.

Do something wild. Ever wonder what dragons and drums are doing on the river? Dragon Boat Racing is one of the fastest-growing water sports in the area, and even just watching is fun. Watch a race this summer, or try it out by joining a local club team.

Picnic in the Park. Whether you’re looking for a new lunchtime spot or an outdoor location for an afternoon party, Fairmount Park has plenty of options to offer—like Belmont Grove, a picnic area open to the public. Just be sure to get a permit if your party is more than 70 people.

For more information, upcoming events, permits and trails, visit the Schuylkill Banks and Fairmount Park websites.

Urban Naturalist: Honk if you like geese

My wife, Jen, adores Canada geese. She especially loves the fluffy goslings that graze alongside their parents throughout grassy Philadelphia, but she waves to the adults, too. Jen might be the only Philadelphian I’ve met who likes the geese, and, like anyone whose spouse holds a dangerously contrarian position, I am bound to publicly agree with her.
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News: Tree Trim

Fairmount Park cuts down trees to make way for meadow

by Cassie Cummins

Usually when you hear about someone cutting down trees, it’s a bad thing. Not in this case: Fairmount Park’s Houston Meadow Reclamation and Management Plan is using the systematic removal of trees to restore a valued ecosystem, and return breeding birds to a beloved section of the park.
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