We’re Hügely Excited For Our Free Ice Cream Social!

Events // August 11, 2021

Have you ever noticed how decomposing logs create a damp, fertile place for new growth on a walk in the Wissahickon? That’s the principle behind hügelkultur, a new horticultural technique which uses mounds of wood and biomass debris to revitalize soil for sustainable agriculture.

This spring, our neighbors at Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill decided to test out this composting technique by building hugels on their grounds in an art installation. Using downed trees from across Woodmere’s property, local artists Syd Carpenter and Steve Donegan built mounds of wood and branches topped with soil, finally planting native plants on top of the pile. Carpenter and Donegan named the piece “La Cresta”, meaning “ridge” in Spanish and referring to the ridge-like backbone of the mound shapes they sculpted and nearby Ridge Avenue, one of the longest streets in Philadelphia and a Lenape byway that was established before the arrival of European settlers in the area in the 1600s.

As the wood inside the hugel mounds decays, it will provide nutrients to the soil, encouraging healthy soil ecology and sustaining microorganisms that are essential to the health of the ecosystem. Since the process of decomposition generates heat, the hügels extend the growing season for the native plants on the raised bed as well. It’s a very cool project from one of the many partners who work with us to conserve the land around the Wissahickon Valley, and we are hugely excited to check out these environmental innovations as we celebrate next week’s free Ice Cream Social at Woodmere!

FOW’s 15th Annual Free Ice Cream Social will take place Wednesday, August, 18th, from 3-5 PM at Woodmere Art Museum (9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119). We’ll have fun environmental education activities for kids and adults from the Wissahickon Environmental Center, free museum admission to Woodmere’s collections, and FREE ice cream from Bredenbecks in Chestnut Hill for all. See you there!

Photo: Jamie Stewart, courtesy of Woodmere Art Museum