All posts by Dottie Baumgarten

2013 Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit

SC-thumbSo I’m really a geek scientist at heart. For all the effort I put into teaching and creating the right scenario for reaching the public with accurate science, the heart and soul of my efforts are rooted in the hard science of my college chemistry days.

I was in heaven at Cape May, New Jersey earlier this week. Partnership For the Delaware Estuary feels like my home, and 2013 Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit is my family reunion. Yeah, I may be that odd-ball educator of younger than college people, but I’m still family.

And what a reunion! You know that major problem of Hurricane Sandy? Well there are folks who are looking at how we as a society can respond. Don’t quote me on the details exactly. I’m going to get some exact names and organizations miss-stated. But between EPA, DEP PA, DEP NJ, Army Corps of Engineers, USGS, DNREC, Rutgers, PWD, UDEL, DRBC, and a dozen other private and public entities, this scientific community is striving to find and document the information on how things are going and recommend what we can do about it.

Flooding in Delaware? Someone is looking at whether it would cost more to society to let it go as nature dictates, fight it with tooth and nail (and fail), or to plan out and assist a stepwise retreat. You know what? It will cost society less if the powers that be put money into a planned retreat.

New discovery? There are fresh water mussels throughout the Delaware River system. If there is a gravel bed under two feet of water, scientists and volunteers are consistently finding colonies of mussels. This is HUGE news because the mussels are filter feeders, and they are and have been cleaning the river water. Cheer! Celebrate! Join a volunteer mussel survey in your local river so that the big guys can plan where to collect seed mussels. Then they can determine where the habitat is healthy for starting new mussel beds. In the big picture of polluted water, expanding mussels in the riverbeds will move our clean waterways up to the next level of health.

Communication? Scientists know how to communicate with each other but get a failing grade on communicating their information to the general public.

That’s my niche, found and identified. Put this science information in perspective, find the best message connected with an action, and help people change their behavior.

Help you change your behavior.

Change my behavior.

“The earth provides air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat and space for us to live in. Each of these areas is challenged, and we must change our behavior so that the earth can continue to provide for us.”

Catch you later. Maybe at my collaborative STEM/Sustainable Science class looking at stormwater on a school campus.

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.

Watershed Education, Science Enrichment and Birthday Parties

SC-thumbAs the Fall season of 2010 is starting, consider your sustainable choices, and your connections to your community.

Increase to two best habits, and let two unsustainable habits fall by the wayside. For instance, I’m choosing to drink more water, eat more vegetarian meals, eat less sugar and to connect face-to-face rather than only over the internet.

I’m excited to hear that more municipalities are recycling plastics #3 to #7, as well as #1 and #2.

I discovered that shredded paper is not helpful to the recycling process, so I’m considering increasing the amount of craft paper that I make in order to use the shredded paper we produce. Another option is to add the shredded paper to our compost.

My work as a consultant to the Philadelphia Water Department is extremely exciting and rewarding. The enviroscape watershed model is a great stimulus for watershed information. At public events (see the calendar) and with classes at schools, the visual polluting of the water is dramatic.

My frequent talking points are:

  • rainwater goes down storm drains on the street,
  • pick up after your dog,
  • clean land makes clean water.

There are multiple free educational opportunities via the Philadelphia Water Department. Contact me if you want to increase your school’s watershed education, either in the classroom or with field trips to PWD locations.

Sustainable Choices is also expanding in other ways. The Montessori School (TMS) in Dresher, PA  is increasing outdoor explorations of their property, and the township park beside TMS with be provided with consulting services and education. The House at Pooh Corner is increasing science exploration in its preschool class.  Both schools are excellent matches between my skills and their specific requests. The opportunity to work with exceptional teachers who want support in developing their scientific skills is also very rewarding.

The third area of expansion and exploration with Sustainable Choices is with Birthday Parties or “one time” events. I look forward to a fall birthday party this coming weekend, and wonder how to expand this potential educational opportunity. What a joy it is to encourage appropriate nature exploration in local parks.

It’s going to be a great year!