Clean Currents and Partners Seek Mentees for Lots of Power

 This summer, wind power company Clean Currents, will kick off Lots of Power, an exciting new mentoring program to address one of Philadelphia's greatest problems, vacant lots. Working in partnership with Kensington Renewal, AIGA Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, the program will pair professional designers and architects with high school-age students to research and develop innovative solutions for specific vacant lots in Kensington. At the end of the mentoring process, 2-3 projects will be chosen for implementation. 
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Re-Shop Flower Shop gifts recyclable bouquets to local sustainability heroes

Local artist Kathryn Sclavi sets up the Re-Shop Flower Shop with students the McVeigh Recreation Center in Kensington. | Photo by Michael Reali Last Wednesday, local artist Kathryn Sclavi braved Philadelphia’s rush hour traffic and the January cold in her ZipCar to pick-up flowers in West Philly. But Sclavi wasn’t going to a florist or greenhouse. She pulled up to the local Planet Fitness and grabbed two giant trash bags stuffed with discarded water bottles. It turns out the bottles are ideal material for her sculptured bouquets of “flowers.”  

Sclavi will be giving away the bouquets this Saturday at her pop-up Re-Shop Flower Shop. The shop will be part of a community paint day being held by the Mural Arts Program at the Gallery at Market East. However, the bouquets aren't for free; they’re meant as gifts for community members who are doing something good for the planet.

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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.

Save the Mountains: Penn, Temple students meet with PNC over mountaintop removal

An example of mountaintop removal. Image via removal might not seem like an issue pertinent to Philly residents, but students at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania would disagree. Local banking favorite PNC is a major financier for companies engaged in the practice. And at Temple and Penn, the relationship with PNC is close. Both universities have exclusive contracts with the bank. Additionally, Penn receives financial contributions from the company and at Temple, J. William Mills III, regional president for PNC, sits on the board. 

This fall, with support from the Earth Quaker Action Team, who started their own campaign against PNC, Penn and Temple engaged their communities in discussion and activism on the issue. Their work appeared to culminate this past Monday, when the Penn Community Against Mountaintop Removal and their counterpart at Temple individually met with PNC executives in hopes of convincing them to abandon their destructive investment. The meetings, although organized by their respective universities, did little to move the groups’ objectives forward. However, they were a go-ahead for taking their campaign to the next level.

“We intend to form a coalition with the 35 other alliance schools [who also have contracts with PNC],” said Danny Teich, a Temple student who spoke for his group at the press conference on Monday. “We currently have a statement of solidarity signed by six schools in the area and are currently organizing student life closure of PNC accounts on campus.” 

Look for more information about the campaign in an upcoming Grid issue. In meantime, find out more about the students’ work at and check out a video of Temple students being arrested this fall during a PNC sit-in.