Penn State

Penn State Students Work on Green Stormwater Infrastructure Projects

Image by Chelsea Scott

Saturday, October 5, Penn State students and volunteers helped restore two green stormwater infrastructure projects –a rain garden and a stormwater bumpout-- on Lancaster Avenue. “The two sites we worked on weren’t functioning properly. So we fixed them, prettied them up, mulched, planted — the whole shebang,” said Tommy McCann, an urban agriculture coordinator and horticultural educator at Penn State.

The idea for the volunteer day began when organizers from Penn State met with the Philadelphia Water Department to discuss possible partnerships and to tour stormwater infrastructure sites that PWD had plans to improve, including the rain garden and bumpout on Lancaster Ave. This cleanup day is part of a bigger initiative by Penn State Public Media to produce a documentary that tells the story of how cities acrossthe United States are learning to manage stormwater with green infrastructure. PennState plans to release the film, Water Blues Green Solutions, in late 2013.

Read more about PennState’s work on Lancaster Avenue and check out the preview for the Philadelphia segment of the Water Blues Green Solutions documentary.

West Philly Homeowners Receive Free Downspout Planters

This week’s rain was no match for the homes on the 700 block of N. 43rd street. Outfitted with new downspout planters, the homes braved the storm to emerge with fewer puddles, a smaller stormwater footprint and prettier porches. The street now gathers neighborhood children to the new community garden, what was once vacant lot, as soon as the sun resurfaces.

Last Friday, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia in collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department and Penn State Media Broadcasting organized a community block build to install downspout planters and reclaim an abandoned lot. The once weed ridden empty lot on 43rd and Aspen Street, now contains six garden beds for flower and vegetable growth as well as a large mulched area for the neighborhood children to play. The planters will help manage stormwater and beautify the homes with native grasses and flowers. 

Penn State Media Broadcasting attended the event to collect footage for their newest documentary, Water Blues, Green Solutions. The film is an interactive project, documenting the stories of communities creating green solutions for water problems like flooding, pollution and water scarcity. The creators have traveled to cities such as Portland, San Antonio, New York and of course Philadelphia to learn about new and creative projects. The stories are being complied to their website, so be sure to check them out here.

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