From the Director’s Notebook: Giving Tuesday

News // November 23, 2023

By Ruffian Tittmann, FOW Executive Director

Next year, we’re celebrating 100 years of progress in the Wissahickon Valley Park. And that progress couldn’t have happened without your support. The next time you stroll by a bridge in the Park that’s stood the test of time, a school group wading through the whimsy of the Wissahickon and asking, “What’s that?,” or bask in the satisfaction of a newly erected addition to the park, remember that they’re there because you care.

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday next week, on the eve of our 100th anniversary, FOW has a wish list we hope you can help with.

Give back to the park this Giving Tuesday here and your donation will be matched up to $25,000 by our Board of Directors and an anonymous donor!

A contribution to FOW this Giving Tuesday will allow us to:

-Preserve the past by restoring the park’s iconic stone structures 

-Create a better today by increasing accessibility to the park with large-scale capital projects like our Valley Green Restoration project this spring

-Invest in the future by fostering the next generation of nature lovers and park stewards through our Little Friends of the Wissahickon and Junior Stewards programs

Contribute to our holiday wishlist here!

Stone Masonry

Photo courtesy of Brad Maule

Memories are made in the Wissahickon. The iconic stone structures that line the creek and trace our trail system have been the backdrop and infrastructure for decades of park-visitor recreation. There’s a personal and collective history that we need to protect. This year, we have our hearts set on restoring the iconic archway on the Rex Avenue Bridge and the wing walls of the Red Covered Bridge, in addition to other important masonry structures that serve a vital role in the park’s function as a green stormwater infrastructure asset.

Your contribution will provide the materials and specialized craftsmanship required for such an important project.


Photo courtesy of Kreiger & Associates Architect, CVMNEXT Construction, and Skelly & Loy, Inc.

The Wissahickon is a rugged stretch of 2,000 acres of wetlands, forests, and meadows that provide an escape to nature for all who seek it. FOW is striving to ensure ease of access to people across a range of mobility, economic means, and familiarity with places like the Wissahickon. Our largest investment to date is set to begin construction this spring, our Valley Green Run Restoration and Pedestrian Bridge Project.

Your investment will allow pedestrians to enter this popular area of the Wissahickon Valley Park safely. In addition, a new observation platform along the 200-foot extended walkway will offer visitors expansive views of the park’s schist outcroppings and the historic Valley Green Bridge, and was designed according to ADA guidelines.

Little Friends of the Wissahickon & Junior Stewards

Photo courtesy of Let’s Go Outdoors

FOW began as a group of concerned citizens who came together to protect the Wissahickon watershed. Today, FOW is the official park partner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, with 3,000 members, over 1,000 regular volunteers, and a dedicated, growing staff. We’re passing along our passion for stewardship and love of nature to Philadelphia’s youth. Our Junior Stewards program provides green jobs experience and certifications to local public high school students. Our Little Friends of the Wissahickon program provides free inschool programming and park field trips for public elementary schools around the city. 

Your support will ensure that we are able to provide gear, transportation, and hands-on training for our high school interns and a chance to have meaningful experiences in the great outdoors for our Little Friends.

Help us ring in our next century of stewardship!


Banner photo courtesy of Mike Mergen