Students about to enter their first year at Jefferson University Medical School volunteered at Jefferson Square to remove overgrown plants, and in the process were introduced not only to their neighbors and fellow students, but also to the green spaces of Philadelphia.
A dozen or so students, organized through PHS’s Green Machine initiative, cleared the canvas in Jefferson Square by removing overgrown evergreens and thorny roses. They pulled out big weeds from soil, put down cardboard to cut off weeds’ access to nutrients and sun, and then added wood chips on top to prevent wind blown weeds from taking root.
“It’s always nice to see people meeting each other for the first time, knowing they’ll be together for the next number of years,” said Nic Esposito of PHS. Tentative at first, the volunteers were a well-oiled machine by the third or fourth garden bed. “It was clear they were medical students from their orderly, systematic approach to their work,” Nic said.
It happened to be “old timer’s day” at Jefferson Square, when people who once lived in the neighborhood visited with current residents for a picnic. It was a great opportunity for the students to meet the people who use the park, and for them to better understand what’s involved in its maintenance. Now that the canvas is set, the next step will be for PHS to present a drawn plan (with plant list) to the residents for approval.
“The students who volunteered in the park were a pleasure to be with,” said Mike Toklish, president of the Friends of Jefferson Square Park. “They were all interested in the park’s horticulture and its history. They did an outstanding job with our ‘sheet mulching’ project, and completed eight large flower beds. We hope to see them back in the park soon—but this time to enjoy it!”
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, located in East Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, recently received 12 trees as a gift from PHS and planted them as a way to manage erosion on a slope between two play areas (erosion caused by both runoff and little feet!).
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse opened its doors in 1899. The 24,000 square-foot Playhouse was designed as a play space for children by one of Philadelphia’s most prominent late 19th century architects, James H. Windrim. The Playground is situated on its original historic landscape–more than six acres of open fields, wooded terrain, and sloped hills–and is home to the century-old Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, a treasured play experience for generations of Philadelphia’s children, as well as other unique pieces of play equipment.
Smith’s mission is to provide children 10 and under from diverse backgrounds with free and accessible one-of-a-kind play experiences that meet their physical, behavioral, and developmental needs. We’re happy that these trees will provide a shady area for play and exploration.
From family yoga in the morning to Shakespeare during lunch and a rush hour serenade, one of Philadelphia’s newest parks has something for all ages. Sister Cities Park, located at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is maintained by the Center City District and features a children’s discovery garden, a boat pond with toy boat rentals, a visitor’s center, and a plaza with fountains set in a bluestone map of all ten of Philadelphia’s sister cities.
Also located in the park is the Milk & Honey Café, which offers many of Philadelphia’s own signature brands—from La Colombe coffee to Bassets ice cream, South Street Philly bagels and BT brownies. The Café is open everyday: Monday-Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm.
Some of the regularly scheduled, free activities in the park include: Nature in the Park (Tuesdays at 11 am), when staff from the Academy of Natural Sciences lead interactive discovery programs for ages 8 and younger; Fun, Fitness, and Friends (Wednesdays from 1 to 2:30 pm) for kids age 5 to 10 and their families to become physically active in a friendly environment; and Trees in the City (Fridays at 10 am), where kids 4 to 10 join staff from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s Tree Philly program to learn about trees through fun games and crafts.
Whether you need a break from the museums, a comfortable spot for an al fresco lunch, or a fun activity for the kids, Sister Cities Park is a welcome addition to Philadelphia’s recreational spaces. For more information about the park and its complete calendar of activities, click here.
The Community Greening Awards are a way for PHS to recognize all the greening efforts throughout the region that beautify communities, brighten lives, and help the environment!
Typical recipients of the award include individuals/groups who maintain main streets, public parks, traffic islands, train stations, churches, schoolyards, libraries, or businesses. But as green spaces come in all forms, the contest organizers are open to all possibilities! Municipalities that have led tree planting initiatives, combated storm-water runoff, or pursued other ecological projects may also apply.
In order to be considered, a site must be nominated. You can nominate your green space or one that you admire from afar by filling out the nomination form.
Once the nominations are compiled, judges will be sent to evaluate the sites in July and August. The judges look for plant variety, design, use of space, and horticultural practices. Sites that have been recognized in previous years may be evaluated for a maintenance award.
For more information on this program to uplift phenomenal gardening efforts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-988-8897. Also, check out last year’s winning sites!
Look for an explosion of color in two of Philadelphia’s most significant public spaces as “City in Bloom” kicks off May 9 with a spring planting event at the Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Square and JFK Plaza (Love Park).
With the help of volunteers from Grant Thornton, LLP and students from St. Francis Xavier School—under the supervision of staff from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR)—approximately 3,000 annuals and perennials will be planted at Logan Square in a trendy palette of orange and purple. Hot this year in both fashion and horticulture, the color orange will be spectacularly featured in large hanging spheres planted with lantana and coleus. The plantings at JFK Plaza—another 1,000 plants in total—will include vibrant petunias, Shasta daisies, fountain grass, and more.
The annual City in Bloom event emphasizes the cooperation between organizations, business, schools, and local government and the city’s support for urban greening programs. Each year, PHS and PPR, along with a group of enthusiastic volunteers, work together to prune, clean-up, and plant gorgeous new annuals and perennials at JFK Plaza and Logan Square. It is the hope that these ongoing efforts will encourage Philadelphia residents to think about how they can also improve treasured outdoor spaces in their own neighborhoods with garden and landscape design, and just a little elbow grease.
Get ready for Love Your Park Week, eight days dedicated to cleaning, greening, and celebrating Philadelphia parks from May 12 – 19, 2012.
Whether you’re interested in service projects, fun events, educational programs, family activities, or tours, there is something for everyone. And with 100-plus participating locations, you won’t have to travel too far either. Find out what fun is in store at your favorite park! And click here for volunteer opportunities.
Also, don’t miss out on the “Show Us Your Love” essay contest. The deadline is Thursday, May 10.
There are great prizes for runners up—but the grand prize is really special! A Yo Philly! Party in your favorite park with water-ice, soft pretzels, and a DJ spinning the sounds of Philadelphia. Wow!
So…how do you love your park?
LOVE Your Park Week is a collaborative initiative between the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.