Our 100th Anniversary

100 Years of Conservation

Friends of the Wissahickon was founded in 1924 by a handful of community members who sought to protect what they recognized as a unique urban gem, the Wissahickon Valley Park. This year, we’re celebrating…

100 years of conserving the wild beauty
of the Wissahickon Valley Park.

The Wissahickon, now a centerpiece for recreation for surrounding communities and the greater Philadelphia area, is a 2,000+ acre park with dense forests, rugged trails, and free-flowing streams. Friends of the Wissahickon has stewarded this essential urban green space for 100 years, making the organization the largest park Friends group in Philadelphia, with a network of 3,000 members, 1,300 regular volunteers, and dozens corporate and civic partners who value our stewardship mission.

Join us for a series of celebrations of our past 100 years of stewardship, conservation, and community. We’re celebrating our 100th all year long!

Donate to support our next 100 years of conservation!

Thank you for your consideration, donate below.


Sponsor our exciting year of stewardship and celebration!

Become a sponsor

Everything we do is made possible by the generous support of our donors! Help us ensure our centennial anniversary is one to remember by sponsoring this year’s exciting events and ambitious projects. For more information, please take a look at our sponsorship packet here!

Thank you to our early sponsors Iron Stone Real Estate Partners, Manko Gold Katcher & Fox LLP, and Green Mountain Energy.

 

 

Help us celebrate at one of these fun events…

Biennial Photo Contest

Biennial Photo Contest

Monday, April 1 – October 15

The Wissahickon is a source of whimsy. For centuries poems, paintings, and music have been written in its image. This spring, capture the beauty of the Wissahickon during our Bi-Annual Photo Contest, presented by FOW, Wissahickon Trails, and Woodmere Art Museum, for critical acclaim and exciting prizes!

Check out our Photo Contest page here.

Earth Day "Super Mega" Service Day

Earth Day “Super Mega” Service Day

Saturday, April 20

Every day is Earth Day at FOW, but this service day is super… mega, even! We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary with a multi-location service day across the Wissahickon with a variety of projects, including litter-removal, cutting back invasives, cleaning out storm-water infrastructure, tending to trails, and so much more!

  • Bells Mill Road and Forbidden Drive – join this location for a mix of litter clean-up and park beautification.
  • Valley Green – join this location for cleaning out storm-water infrastructure.
  • Harvey Street – join this location for planting site maintenance, trail work, and invasive plant removal. 
  • Blue Bell Park – join this location for park beautification, litter clean-up, and cleaning out storm-water infrastructure. 
  • Ridge Avenue Trailhead – join this location for litter clean-up, and cleaning up the paved bike path. 

100th Community Celebration

100th Anniversary “Backyard Bash” Community Celebration

Valley Green Inn, Friday, May 10

Becoming the oldest Friend’s Park Group in the City was not something we could have accomplished without the help of our volunteers, partners, and neighbors. Join us to celebrate our first century at the Valley Green Inn, for a casual, family-friendly, community celebration with catfish n’ waffles, a live band, fun activities, a photo gallery from Photography Without Borders, and a special FOW beer from Chestnut Hill Brewing.

Buy your tickets here!

Wissahickon Trail Classic 

Wissahickon Trail Classic 

Saturday, June 1

We were honored last year to work with the Wissahickon Wanderer’s to execute the Wissahickon Trail Classic, a 10k trail race throughout the Park, after a three-year hiatus. We were met with over 500 registrants and support from numerous local, sponsors. Join us for our second year hosting this iconic race.

For more information and to register, click here.

100th Anniversary Valley Talk Series

100th Anniversary Valley Talk Series

Join us for an installment of our four-part Valley Talk series this year. Each lecture will take on an essential facet of the Wissahickon and its history, it’s structures, geology, flowers, fauna, habitat and efforts to restore it, and archival pieces that tell the story of FOW and our beloved park.

Spring

April, 10- Wissahickon Wildlife Greatest Hits with Tony Croasdale

Wissahickon Wildlife Greatest Hits will focus on the special animals and wildlife spectacles of Wissahickon Valley Park. Join Tony Croasdale and FOW and learn a bit more about Wood Ducks, Red Salamanders, Red Squirrels, and more! Register here.

May, 15- Discovering the Wissahickon’s WPA Structures with Kate Cowing

The small stone and log buildings along Forbidden Drive have captured the imagination of park users for years. They blend into the surroundings creating a feeling that they have always been part of it. They were constructed as part of a massive improvement project within the Wissahickon, but were intentionally designed to disappear into the valley.  Join Kate Cowing and FOW as she explains the controversy leading up to their construction, the history of the buildings, and then on to the present. Register here.

Fall

October, 9

Stay tuned for more details!

100th Anniversary Gala

100th Anniversary Gala

The PumpHouse, Friday, November 8

We’re rounding out our year of celebration with an elegant night of dancing, special tastings, an auction, and much more at our 100th Anniversary Gala!

Stay tuned for ticketing information!

See below to consider becoming a sponsor for this event.

Partner Events

Chestnut Hill Conservancy's Night of Lights

Night of Lights

October

FOW is thrilled to be prominently featured by the Chestnut Hill Conservancy during its Night of Lights public streetscape exhibition across several nights in early October.

 

Barbara Crawford Gallery Show: Nature's Inspiration: Art Inspired by the Wissahickon Valley

Nature’s Inspiration: Art Inspired by the Wissahickon Valley

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Barbara Crawford Gallery, September-December 

The 2024 Fall Barbara Crawford Gallery ShowNature’s Inspiration: Art Inspired by the Wissahickon Valley will open Sept 2024 and run through Decemeber. The exhibition will showcase works of art from a diverse range of artists who call the Wissahickon Valley home. Curator, Judy Jarvis, and Assistant Curator, Aimee Rush King, will showcase the beauty of the Wissahickon Valley, highlighting the landscape, wildlife, historic structures, and scenic views in partnership with FOW.

Photos courtesy of Brad Maule

A bit about us…

Our community and scope of work has grown throughout the past century from a small group of neighbors to a flourishing community of civic and corporate partners, volunteers, members and, staff. We’re so proud of our capacity to take on new projects, increase resiliency for this essential urban green space, and introduce all the Wissahickon has to offer to all who seek a place in nature.

Take a peek into our rich history of stewardship!