Calling NW volunteers for Earth Day

by Ann Marie Doley
Posted 4/17/24

With a theme of ”Planet vs. Plastic,” the 54th annual Earth Day offers a bounty of opportunities to celebrate nature in Northwest Philadelphia.

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Calling NW volunteers for Earth Day


With a theme of ”Planet vs. Plastic,” the 54th annual Earth Day offers a bounty of opportunities to celebrate nature in Northwest Philadelphia.

Neighbors can celebrate the day by volunteering to help clean up nearby parks, stretch in an outdoor yoga class or swap seeds and seedlings in activities scheduled from just before the official Earth Day, which falls on Monday, April 22, through April 24. 

Here are a few chances to commune with Mother Nature.

FOW Service Day

Friends of the Wissahickon is hosting their  second “Super Mega Service Day” on Saturday, April 20. People of all ages and abilities can register  to volunteer from 9 a.m. to noon at one of five sites where they will participate in such tasks as “litter removal, cutting back invasive plants and  cleaning out storm water infrastructure,” said Shawn Green, director  of field stewardship for the Friends.

Activities will be at Bells Mill Road and Forbidden  Drive, Valley Green, Harvey Street, Blue Bell Park, and Ridge Avenue TrailHead. Considering  the immense size of the Wissahickon at nearly 2000 acres of forest, 64 miles of watershed and 50  miles of trails, Green emphasized the critical role volunteers play. The park is a unique “public space that belongs to everybody. It requires the community to come together to take care  of it.” He describes service days as fun opportunities to meet like minded people who meet as strangers and leave the event as friends. After the clean-up, volunteers will be treated to a thank-you picnic with free food, beverages, pizza and sandwiches at Wissahickon Brewing Company. 

To sign up, visit

Awbury Arboretum 

The 56-acre city mecca of meadows and hills, a pond, trees and shrubs will celebrate Earth Day with free family-friendly activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 20.

Starting off at the Cope House, at One Awbury Road, Bill Reaum will host a bird walk, from 9 to 10 a.m., followed by an outdoor yoga class led by Megan Do Nascimento from 10 to 11 a.m. Next, with a  slight location shift, from 10:45 – 11:45 a.m. is an environmentally-themed Scavenger Hunt at  Adventure Woods, the natural playground, at 6060 Ardleigh Street.  

Other activities and programs are located at the Farm at Awbury which features garden beds, co-op  farming plots, animal enclosures, bee hives and an education center. Activities include: double-dutch jumping with Crystal  Jackson, 10 a.m. to noon; children’s games led by Prescribe Outside from 12:30 to 2 p.m.; drumming with S(tree)t work’s Drum Corp is 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.; a floral arrangement class with Isaiah Reece is scheduled from 3 to 4 p.m.. There will also be live music provided by Koof Ibi and Mel Harris. The event is free  If you can’t visit this Germantown gem on April 20, Awbury’s grounds are free to the public 365 days a year.  There are two pedestrian entrances: 6336 Ardleigh Street and 901 E. Washington Lane.

For more information, visit, or call 215-849-2855. 

Seed and Seedling Exchange 

Germantown Residents for Economic Alternatives Together (GREAT) is hosting their 4th Annual Seed and Seedling Swap, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 20, (rain date: April 27, noon to 4 p.m.) GREAT is a largely volunteer grassroots organization focused on self-reliance, mutual aid and community building. One focus is using their collective resources to grow food and care for the earth. This hands-on, free event will be at Wyck Historic House, Garden & Farm, 6026  Germantown Avenue. 

According to GREAT member and 33-year Germantown resident  Anthony Webb, “We call it a swap, but we give away more than we swap. Everyone who comes  goes home with something. This year we have packs of 20 starter seeds from corn to zucchini,” said Anthony Webb, a GREAT member and longtime Germantown resident.  Visitors can stroll the grounds and tour the first floor of the house. 

For information, visit

Germantown Kitchen Garden 

While technically not an Earth Day event, visiting a 15-year-old, half-acre, woman-owned-and-operated, organic farm in East Germantown is one way to celebrate the day. Located at 215 E. Penn Street, Germantown Kitchen Garden’s Plant Nursery is open on Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and  Sunday, April 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Visitors can purchase veggie and herb seedlings, fruiting trees and  bushes (berries and figs) and perennials for sun and shade including shrubs and trees.

“Of course you can come to shop,  but when the garden’s open I love for people to just come in, walk around, check things out or  just enjoy the peace and quiet,” said farmer Amanda Staples.  

Amanda’s weekly Farm Stand will open on Saturday, May 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October. It is a well-stocked stand of fruits and vegetables with extras like honey, teas, pasture  raised eggs, fresh sourdough breads and Philly-grown flowers. 

For more information and updates, visit or call 610-505-4881.

Play and plant a tree

A nature playgroup open to all ages will be 9:30 to 11 a.m., April 18, at Mt. Airy EcoLab, adjacent to SEPTA’s Carpenter Regional Rail Station. And, residents can plant trees with Mt. Airy Tree Tenders, April 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at Carpenter Station. Sweet treats to start out will be provided and a social hour to end the day will be at Mt. Airy taproom at 4 p.m.

For information, visit West Mt. Airy Neighbors at

Ann Marie Doley is a Germantown resident who attended the first Philadelphia Earth Day in  Fairmount Park in 1970. Speakers included Senate Edmund Muskie, Ralph Nader and poet Allen  Ginsburg.