While March 20 marks the beginning of spring, many garden and green space lovers have been planning larger projects.
While March 20 marks the beginning of spring and the official clock ticking away for most tender plantings after Mother’s Day, many garden and green space lovers who I know have been planning larger projects to benefit our community from clean-ups to expansion of some of our newest green spaces. Green lovers are also ready to celebrate Earth Day, April 22, and stretch it out to an Earth Month celebration for all of April.
For those unfamiliar with our group, the Chestnut Hill’s Green Space Initiatives Committee brings together representatives from the Chestnut Hill Community Association, Business Association, Conservancy, Morris Arboretum, Tree Tenders and area landscape, arborists and conservation experts who share a passion for green space collaboration. We are not alone in our love of green spaces. The inaugural project of the Initiative was the “re-treeing” of Germantown Avenue in 2014 when more than 70 trees were planted on Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the exciting work underway:
Pastorius Park – With much green space investment for plantings, clearing of invasives and pruning of old trees on this 16-acre neighborhood favorite, the Friends of Pastorius Park will continue to look at its legacy trees and replacements, and cleaning the pond soon.
West Highland Train Station Gardens – As last year’s plantings take root, new areas like the Native Plant Garden and introduction of hugels will offer educational opportunities with plant identification markers.
Water Tower Recreation Center – After successful fundraising for its Light Up the Tower campaign, watch for the upper park area to be transformed with lighting and hardscape improvements, seating and refurbishing of the WWII Memorial.
Mermaid Park – Green Space volunteers are working with the Business District and other partners to plan for seating, lighting and family-friendly elements to attract the community to one of our newest green spaces on the lower Hill.
Cresheim Trail – Green Space volunteers are working to support the Friends of Cresheim Trail as they open three new trail sections between Germantown Avenue and Stenton, and are excited about synergy with the adjacent areas of Mermaid Park, Cliff Park, Peace Park, Chestnut Hill Pergola Gateway area, and Friends Meeting garden.
Chestnut Hill Library Garden – The Friends of Chestnut Hill Library are working on a storywalk installation that will bring a book to life on 20 panels in their garden. There will be seasonal refreshes to bring more books to life over time.
Children’s Park and Jenks School – With new swing replacements installed, the Friends of Children’s Park and Friends of Jenks are exploring new plant and tree additions in the park and street frontage.
Chestnut Hill Tree Tenders – The group will continue its fine tradition of spring and fall plantings and is working on building a team of tree ambassadors. The Tree Tenders program is coordinated with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society which also offers training opportunities. In addition to planting free street trees, the group is now able to plant yard trees under these conditions: The first 10 feet off the sidewalk, church yards, school yards, libraries and small parks.
Friends Meeting on Mermaid Lane will hold its Annual Plant Sale May 13 and 14. Last year was the first year this popular event was open to the community and it’s a great opportunity to check out their green space in back.
You can show your love of green spaces by joining our efforts as volunteers. Here’s a roundup of some of the activities led by amazing volunteers and how you can pitch in.
Regular Monthly Clean-ups
Join a regular clean-up crew or enlist friends or a school group for one day. Friends of Pastorius Park (every Thursday), Friends of Cresheim Trail (third Saturday) and Friends Meeting (every Saturday on Mermaid Lane) have regular monthly cleanups. Most run 9 a.m. to noon. There will also be four Water Tower Upper Park Garden Days Wednesdays, April 19, May 3, May 17 and May 31 from 10 a.m. to noon.
Earth Month Cleanups
Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, but Earth Month is all month long. Take part in a clean-up activity and get to know your neighbors. Most of the work done to keep our green spaces beautiful is led and completed by volunteers. Most cleanup projects start at 9 a.m.
Saturday, April 1 – Water Tower Recreation Center clean up as part of Citywide "Philly Spring Cleanup" (rain date April 15)
Saturday, April 1 – Friends of Jenks school grounds clean up as part of Citywide "Philly Spring Cleanup"
Saturday, April 1 - Highland Station Gardens Spring Cleanup
Saturday, April 15 – Friends of Cresheim Trail Cleanup
Saturday, April 15 – Chestnut Hill West Train Station Tree Planting
Wednesday, April 19 – Water Tower Upper Park Garden Day
Saturday, April 22 – Friends of the Wissahickon Cleanup
Saturday, April 22 - Friends of Chestnut Hill Library Cleanup
Saturday, April 22 – Chestnut Hill Tree Tenders Spring Planting
Sunday, April 23 - Mermaid Park Cleanup
Cultural Experiences and Information Sessions
Many of our institutions have great activities to check out from walking tours to educational explorations. Here are a few:
Outdoor Sculpture Garden – Self-guided at Woodmere Art Museum. Free and best of all, pet friendly.
Winter Wellness Walks at Morris Arboretum - Saturdays and Sundays in March, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Meet at Widener Visitor Center. Free with Arboretum admission.
Garden Highlights Tour at Morris Arboretum, Saturdays and Sundays in March, 1 – 2 p.m. Meet at Widener Visitor Center. Free with Arboretum admission.
Saturday, April 22 – The Cedars House (200 West Northwestern Drive) will host an Earth Day Holistic Fair and Native Plant Swap that includes music, kids’ activities and an art exhibit.
Sunday, April 23 – Chestnut Hill Conservancy Walking Tour of Germantown Avenue, afternoon.
Other Ways to Support Our Efforts
We’d love to see you and friends who you can enlist at any of our green events. You can also support our efforts with a donation to the Chestnut Hill Tree Fund managed by the Chestnut Hill Community Association. We’re looking for community support to adopt and plant trees in addition to raising funds for our greenspace efforts. We have various program levels to show your support.
Tree Giving Levels:
Adopt a Tree, Support a Park
Please contact Anne McNiff at the Chestnut Hill Community Association to start a conversation.