Well by golly, whattaya know, Earth Day has arrived, bringing sixteen months of work—12 months picking up trash, 4 months organizing, analyzing, and preparing it for fancy display—to a close. Or has it just begun?
Tonight marks at least one beginning, the opening reception of One Man’s Trash, the exhibition of the goofball litter project I’ve conducted in the Wissahickon, Philadelphia’s magical, mystical Northwestern land. It’s at 6pm at the historic Fairmount Water Works, which began operations 200 years ago, 1815, serving to protect Philadelphia’s water supply.
It was a mission and vision that 50-some years later manifested as the Fairmount Park Commission, whose first order of business was to buy up and protect the lands surrounding the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek. There are lots of connections between our waterways, our parks, and specifically the Wissahickon and Schuylkill and Delaware (the three of which are represented in anthropomorphic form in Swann Fountain at Logan Circle).
I’ll be talking a little more about these connections as spring unfolds with a series of events planned to go along with the run of the show, April 22 through June 26. Lots of excellent partners are coming together to make it happen, including Friends of the Wissahickon, Fairmount Water Works, Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Streets Department, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and more. And big props and big thank yous to my favorite brewery in the world, Victory Brewing Company, for supporting tonight’s opening. Likewise thanks to Weavers Way for accommodating this working member for the wonderful spread of snacks.
With these events, we’re hoping to generate a deeper consideration for our parks, our water, and the waste we each generate everyday. Hopefully this leads to a better appreciation and stewardship for what we’ve got.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” —The Lorax
Anyway, some fun dates to choose from.
SATURDAY APRIL 26: The annual Wissahickon Creek cleanup sponsored by the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association and Friends of the Wissahickon.
SATURDAY MAY 9, 10am: As part of the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Love Your Park Week, we’ll clean up the lowest reaches of the Wissahickon Creek, where it empties into the Schuylkill River. In doing so, we’ll explore some vastly underserved land and peek ever slightly into the future. The Fairmount Water Works and Friends of the Wissahickon each have separate cleanups scheduled as well.
THURSDAY MAY 14, 10am: A tour of the Philadelphia Streets Department’s official recycling center, operated by ReCommunity at 29th and Wharton Streets in Grays Ferry.
SUNDAY MAY 31: One Man’s Trash: The Presentation. This slideshow takes place at the Fairmount Water Works, where I’ll talk about the origin, process, and results of the project, then lead a tour of the exhibit.
SATURDAY JUNE 6, 10am: Guided hike in the Wissahickon Valley Park in conjunction with the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 24: A tour of a Philadelphia Water Department Wastewater treatment plant.
FRIDAY JUNE 26, 5:30pm: One Man’s Trash closing party at Fairmount Water Works.
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That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more info, and thanks for stopping by. Longtime readers might be happy to know that I at least in theory plan for a slight return to more traditional Philly Skyline content this summer, especially as the Comcast Innovation & Technology Center and FMC Tower race up from the ground. Peace.