From the Director’s Notebook: Investing in the Wissahickon

News // April 20, 2022

As some of you may know, the theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in our Planet.” According to, “Invest in our Planet” means “we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.” 

They’re right. We need a united front to help our planet. There are few better things to invest in than the earth—and there’s never been a better time to invest than now! 

Why? I’ll tell you.

Covid, as we all know, has been challenging. We have spent the last two years restricting time with family and friends, balancing working-from-home and commuting, and dealing with incredible loss. During all of this turmoil, there’s been one place that’s felt familiar, safe, and restorative: the outdoors. 

Unfortunately, the outdoors is facing various threats. Large amounts of littering, the effects of over-development, and most notably, climate change. Our very own Wissahickon Valley Park is certainly not immune to these devastating issues. Luckily, here at FOW, we work tirelessly with our partners, neighbors and friends to help mitigate these issues and steward the Wissahickon for all to enjoy. From cleanups to restoration projects, we do all that we can to keep Wissahickon accessible and beautiful. 

For example, FOW is helping to lead the Germantown Neighborhood Connection Project (aka the Harvey Street Project). With this project, FOW will address the need for safe, enjoyable pedestrian access to quality outdoor recreation, close to home in one of the nation’s most beautiful city parks. This plan calls for an expanded trail network to improve entry to the main stem of the park, newly defined signage and wayfinding, and new plantings to restore the native habitat and reduce stormwater runoff. As added value, we expect that these amenities will discourage illegal dumping and encourage more opportunities for everyone to get out on a trail. 

This project is a perfect example of what investing in our planet looks like on a united front. This project is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Councilmember Bass, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR), with additional financial support from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and Sensodyne. 

We’re proud to always work towards a cleaner, greener, and more accessible Wissahickon Valley Park. But we can’t do it alone! We need your help. You can make a direct impact on keeping this park great. Whether it’s becoming a friend of the Wissahickon or donating your time, it gives us the opportunity to keep the Wissahickon Valley Park beautiful, wild, and enjoyable for all of us.