Announcing Spring Valley Talks

Education // February 27, 2019

Every year, FOW organizes informative presentations for its membership and the public, recruiting speakers that can provide insights into relative topics of public land use, environmental advocacy, Pennsylvania wildlife, and more! These “Valley Talks” are an important way you can stay informed while supporting FOW’s mission “to conserve the natural beauty and wildness of the Wissahickon Valley and support public interest therein.” Feel free to invite a friend and get them involved, too!

Valley Talks are sponsored by Chestnut Hill Hospital. These lectures are free for current FOW members and $10 for non-members. Current FOW members can visit the Member Hub or contact Cesali Renn at to register. If you would like to attend an event and funds are a challenge for you, please contact to register. Registration is recommended, as seating is limited. Complimentary wine and cheese reception is offered.

Social Architecture for Resilient and Sustainable Communities
with Jerome Shabazz, Overbrook Environmental Educational Center
March 19

Philadelphia is the sixth largest city in the U.S. with a racially and ethnically diverse population, but 23.6 percent of residents rated their health as poor or fair, according to the city’s health department. Those with the poorest health disparities can be tracked by race, ethnic background and zip code. Join Jerome Shabazz, executive director at the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, to learn about its work to demonstrate strategies that promote healthier, more resilient communities in Philadelphia’s vulnerable neighborhoods with the use of sustainable practices.

In 1998, Jerome Shabazz founded JASTECH (Juveniles Active in Science and Technology) Development Services, Inc. to promote environmental justice, encourage sustainable design, and foster public health in urban communities. In 2002, JASTECH applied for and received a U.S. EPA grant under the Clean Water Act to establish the Overbrook Environmental Education Center. Under Jerome’s direction, the community-based organization has become nationally known for its environmental justice and project-based learning programs that have trained thousands of students about topics that reduce human exposure to toxic substances at home and school.

Jerome is a member of the state EPA’s Citizen Advisory Council, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, and the board of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. He holds an MS in Environmental Protection and Safety Management from St. Joseph’s University, and has received numerous citations and awards for his environmental justice work.

Register for this lecture here.

Living with Wild Pennsylvania Canines
with Dan Lynch and Jerrold Czech, Jr. Pennsylvania Game Commission
April 16

Recent sightings of coyotes, coydogs/wolves, and foxes in Wissahickon Valley Park prompted Friends of the Wissahickon to learn more about them. Speakers Daniel Lynch and Jerrold Czech, Jr. of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will discuss the presence of these wild urban canines who rely on the park for the critical habitat it provides, and how to live in harmony with them, while improving safety for park visitors. They will also bring sample pelts for display.

Deputy Game Warden Dan Lynch has been involved with wildlife education for the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s southeast region for 24 years. An avid outdoorsman, he teaches a variety of classes including wildlife sign and tracking, bird and mammal identification, and wildlife forensics.
Jerry Czech has been the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Game Warden for the past 21 years, currently assigned to Philadelphia County. He began his career. as a park ranger for Fairmount Park, later becoming Deputy Waterways Conservation Officer for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Jerry assists Scoutmaster BSA Troop 22 in Cheltenham, PA, and typically spends time off in the woods of Philadelphia, promoting the outdoors.

Register for this lecture here.

Pests, Pollinators, and You in a Changing Climate
with Mark Boudreau, Ph.D. Penn State Brandywine
May 14

Insects, like humans, are experiencing the effects of climate change. While overall populations are dramatically declining, some less desirable species are adapting and moving into new areas. In this talk, Dr. Mark Boudreau will consider how local threats like spotted lanternfly, hemlock wooly adelgid, and emerald ash borer, as well as beneficial species of pollinators and predators, will react as the climate changes. There’s a lot that we can learn and do to become more resilient now and in the future.

Mark is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Penn State Brandywine, where he teaches about plants, ecology, and human-environment interactions. He received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Illinois-Urbana, an M.S. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Oregon State University. He has had a varied career of teaching, research, and extension in the fields of agroecology, sustainable food production, and climate.

Register for this lecture here.

Rain Check Workshop
with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
June 11

The Philadelphia Water (PWD) believes that everyone can make a difference in transforming the city into a greener city with clean water. PWD’s Rain Check program gives Philadelphians an opportunity to reduce pollution that would otherwise end up in our creeks and rivers. Rain Check is managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, who will be hosting this workshop, where participants will learn how to can get a free rain barrel from PWD. Reduced pricing for downspout planters, rain gardens, depaving, and permeable pavers will also be offered.

This lecture is free for everyone.  Residents living outside Philadelphia are not eligible for Rain Check.  Registration for this lecture will be available 30 days prior to the event at