This year, can you be there for the Wissahickon?
As this year comes to an end, we’ve been looking back through 2020 – and we are so proud of our efforts to steward Wissahickon Valley Park. This year…
- FOW volunteers worked over 8,000 hours in the park
- Over 300 FOW Wissaheroes removed 10,000 lbs. of trash from the Wissahickon
- Volunteers and staff planted 68 new native trees and cleared 93 fallen logs from trails
- FOW rerouted the “Monster Trail” section of the Yellow Trail as part of the Sustainable Trails Initiative completion plan, while Crew Leaders improved the Orange Trail and Structures Crew rebuilt the Valley Green Run footbridge
- Trail Ambassadors and staff reached out to over 500 park visitors, 1500 event attendees, and 2500 online viewers with in-park and virtual programming.
- We created the Wissahickon Valley Park Map app, a free guide to the Wissahickon with a FOW map, tours, and so much more.
Most importantly, we’ve worked to make sure that Wissahickon Valley Park was here for you when you needed it. As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Philadelphia in March, the Wissahickon stayed open and supported vastly increased numbers of visitors who sought its essential green space. In May, our stewardship partners at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation had their budget cut by more than $12 million dollars, forcing Friends of the Wissahickon to fill the gap with member donations and volunteer labor (as our own staff capacity was reduced as well). Finally, in August, Tropical Storm Isaias flooded the Wissahickon watershed, but we reduced damages to the park with our green stormwater infrastructure projects and a rapid response to downed trees on high-traffic trails.
Throughout this year’s unprecedented pressures, the park has remained a resource for neighbors and friends and a place to seek peace and solace. But these challenges will continue in 2021, and we need your help to ensure that the Wissahickon can continue to provide these benefits to everyone. Giving back to the park now means it can give back to you, next year and in future!
Here’s how you can make the greatest impact for the Wissahickon in 2021:
Become a member.
Becoming a FOW member (or giving the gift of membership) means joining a community of over 2600 households dedicated to conserving, advocating, and caring for Wissahickon Valley Park. And did we mention membership comes with discounts to local businesses, a FOW map and gear, and our gorgeous 2021 “Trees of the Wissahickon” calendar? Learn more at fow.org/membership.
Volunteer for Friends of the Wissahickon.
We’re a member-supported organization of volunteer stewards – which means we rely on trained volunteers for every aspect of our work! Register for one of our service days at fow.org/events, host a self-guided cleanup through our Wissahero program and become a Wissahero, or sign up your friends and colleagues for a group work day by emailing Volunteer Manager Shawn Green at email@example.com.
Put your mark on the park.
This year, FOW launched our in-park recognition program, where members of the public can adopt a bench, kiosks, or habitat box. It’s a wonderful way to memorialize or honor a loved one, or share as a meaningful gift for a special occasion. See more information and options at fow.org/inparkrecognition/.
Follow us – and read our newsletter.
Want to know what’s going on in the Wissahickon – including seeing the latest beautiful photos, hearing about ongoing advocacy issues, and checking out community events as well as our educational programming? Sign up for our e-newsletter here, see our Winter 2020 print newsletter online, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube!
Donate – and double your gift!
You’re feeling generous this year – and did you know that many employers are willing to match your donation to Friends of the Wissahickon for an even bigger impact? Plus, we’re a 501 c(3) nonprofit organization, which means your contribution is tax deductible. Check whether you can match and/or deduct your support of FOW at fow.org/matchinggifts/.
Download the FOW Map App!
We put together your guide to the Wissahickon – a FOW map, park information, and tours in the palm of your hand! In 2021, we’ll be regularly adding tours and audio walks and talks to enjoy in the park, so check it out now at fow.org/mapapp.
We’re committed to conserving this community treasure – and making sure that the Wissahickon is always here for you. And we hope you can help us take care of it this year and for all the years to come!