Category Archives: Watershed

Water, Water Everywhere, Providing Drops to Drink

SC-thumbHow can schools access resources as you improve your environmentally sustainable practices? Our overarching goal, of course, is to take care of the earth so that the earth can take care of us. The earth provides air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and space to live for each of us, but we are all aware that these resources are being severely challenged. We need to address these challenges in multiple ways.

When you are learning and teaching about water issues, consider Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) resources for education and for stormwater (rainwater) management project support. Our collective dependence on water is a watershed-wide issue, crossing city and even state boundaries and requiring a regional approach as we experience current needs, solve problems, and plan for the future.

To understand and teach about water, first, understand where you are in your watershed. The Philadelphia Water Department has an interactive map that places you within the watersheds of Philadelphia. Most of us are in the Delaware River Watershed because our local rivers are tributaries to the Delaware River.

Second, understand where your drinking water comes from, where your sewage is treated, and where the stormwater on your school property travels as it makes its way to the local river. The Philadelphia Water Department educational programs for teachers and for children provide opportunities throughout the year. There are field trips to Fairmount Water Works or water treatment plants, teacher workshops or stormwater best management tours, and online resources, including an urban watershed curriculum. Their website is a hub for PWD educational opportunities.

Third, increase management of your own stormwater. By doing so, you can recharge ground water, reduce flooding in the watershed, beautify your school campus and improve the local natural environment. The Green City Clean Waters Program in Philadelphia is a plan for managing the stormwater in Philadelphia. This model can be replicated throughout the region, and the tools and green infrastructures highlighted on this website can inform your conversation with professionals as you take charge of the water resource raining down on your school property.

Philadelphia Water Department can be a resource for your school via its website, the educational programs, and a network of partnerships as we all protect the water upon which we depend.  The Green Schools Program is particularly helpful.

A few of the many other leaders addressing water issues include:

  • The Franklin Institute manages the Philadelphia Climate & Urban Systems Partnership (Philly CUSP); a community of local stakeholders who share a passion for engaging residents in climate change issues, and interact frequently to learn how to do so better.  For more information, email
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University reaches the public through The Center for Environmental Policy, using evening Town Square programs and Urban Sustainability Forums.
  • The Overbrook Environmental Education Center successfully turned a brownfield into a showcase of best management practices for stormwater, and is a hub of sustainable environmental and technological education and activity.
  • See more links to area resources on the Teacher Resources page of this website.

TTF Watershed Milestones Award

SC-thumbTookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc (TTF) is charged with protecting and improving the quality of the water in our TTF watershed. The Second Annual Watershed Milestones Award Ceremony, held at  Philadelphia Water Department’s Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center  honored people, organizations, public agencies, and companies whose work improves the health of the TTF.

I’m thrilled to receive the Tookany-Tacony/Frankford (TTF) Watershed Association’s Watershed Educators Award for 2013. It is an honor to be working along with all of the others who are making a difference as we work to improve the health of our watershed.

Julie Slavet, Alix Howard, Dottie Baumgarten, State Representative Steve McCarter, PWD Commissioner Howard M. Neukrug
Julie Slavet, Alix Howard, Dottie Baumgarten, State Representative Steve McCarter, Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Howard M. Neukrug

The honorees  include Denise Eiler, Watershed Educator from the Baldi School; Abington School District, Roots to Re-Entry (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society), and Abington Township Environmental Advisory Council as Friends of the TTF Watershed; Aliyah Patterson as TTF Youth Champion;  Cheltenham Township as TTF Watershed Municipal Leader; and The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia as Private Sector Steward. Working across Municipalities and Townships, we are making a difference!

TTF arranged for each honoree to receive a Pennsylvania House of Representative Citation from our Representative. State Representative Steve McCarter, a neighbor and friend, personally gave the Citations to those of us in his District.

State Representative Steve McCarter, Dottie Baumgarten
State Representative Steve McCarter, Dottie Baumgarten

Extracted from TTF:

TTF recognizes Dottie Baumgarten for her passion and dedication as a watershed educator committed to improving the health and vitality of our watershed. She worked closely with Cheltenham Township, the Partnership for Delaware Estuary, and TTF to create and develop the Clean Water Partners program to educate and engage businesses on stormwater management.

Dottie is not your average environmental educator with the Philadelphia Water Department. Through her firm, Sustainable Choices, she shares her enthusiasm and knowledge at events and programs from tours to conferences, across the region. An active member of the Cheltenham Environmental Advisory Council, Dottie founded the Friends of Grove Park in Glenside. She teaches sustainability and gardening . . . at House at Pooh Corner in Germantown. *

* The Montessori School in Dresher, PA is also part of the my work, where I teach Sustainable Science. It is in the Wissahickon Watershed.

Clean Water Practices for Business Owners

SC-thumbHere in the Delaware River Watershed, we are all experiencing excessive rainwater this year. This Climate Change is likely here to stay, so we need to figure out how to deal with the amount of rain that will likely continue for the next couple of decades.

There are great resources available for homeowners and businesses. Tookany Tacony Frankford Watershed has a resource section that can be downloaded.

Partnership for the Delaware Estuary also has excellent resources. Look for their recent newsletter on flooding.

I will be talking on this topic to businesses in Cheltenham three times during the month of October. Space is limited, so if you are not from Cheltenham, but would like to attend, please contact me first.

Business Owners: Learn current information on how to reduce stormwater pollution and reduce stormwater volume flowing from your property. Gain insight into best management practices for cleaning outside, storing materials, washing vehicles and retaining water on your property by using rain barrels or a varitey of other natural water holding options.


  • Cheltenham 
  • Cheltenham 
  • Philadelphia 
  • Tookany/Tacony‐Frankford 
  • Cheltenham

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 8 am at Glenside Memorial Hall
Waverly Rd and Keswick Ave, Glenside

Tuesday October 11, 2011, 2 pm at Elkins Park Free Library
563 E Church Rd, Elkins Park

Thursday October 20, 2011, 7 pm at Rowland Community Center
400 Myrtle Ave, Cheltenham

These workshops can be repeated at your location.