Category Archives: Environment

A New Normal

As of May 2020, we are all carefully considering our behaviors, in order to be healthy and safe. Here in Eastern Pennsylvania, the COVID-19 virus is a real and ever present issue. Stay home, wear a mask in public, stay 6 feet away from everyone. And while you are doing so, take care of the environment, and entertain yourself.

Finding a creative outlet at home is a great thing to do, and if it is up-cycling, that’s a bonus! Here’s a way to utilize paper from junk mail and turn it into beautiful handmade paper. 

While you are being extra cautious with hygiene, be aware that only toilet paper, and human waste are flushable. Please do not flush personal wipes down the toilet. These products are clogging sewer machinery and causing significant problems to the sewer treatment process. See why wipes don’t flush! 

Enjoy nature! Take a walk, garden, enjoy other people’s gardening efforts. At our home, irises are in full bloom. A couple of weeks ago it was daffodils. Below are a few photos.

Be well! 

There are 10 different types of irises in bloom in our yard this week

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.

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.