Our Flagship Mission

News // April 25, 2024

Every change in season highlights the unique beauty of the Wissahickon. This month, we’re enjoying the budding trees, the songs of migrating birds returning from their vacation, and the beginning of our 100th Anniversary celebrations.

From our humble roots as a small group of neighborhood advocates in 1924 to today as the official parks partner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, our mission’s always been to protect and restore the Wissahickon Valley Park.

We love the Wissahickon, and we want to connect the more than 2 million annual visitors searching for a green space to escape to with opportunities to enjoy the park.

Everything from our daily operations, tools and materials, capital projects to improve the park, outreach events to engage our community, and our ability to grow to the changing needs of our park is funded through the generosity of our members. Want to support our important work? Consider becoming a member today, click here.

Habitat. Those wooden birdhouses in the park’s meadows serve a unique purpose. These provide habitat for the birds who live in the park and help us gather data on the Eastern Bluebird, which has faced nesting competition and habitat loss across the country. Thanks to your generous donations, we’re able to support these birds on their migration, as the Wissahickon is an important stop for them on the Atlantic Flyway and was designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon PA.

Infrastructure. Thanks to the support of the neighboring community in Germantown, FOW staff and volunteers have made strides toward safer pedestrian access, improved wayfinding, and enhanced the natural beauty of the Harvey Street Trailhead. We’ve widened trails, reinforced its stone accents, and implemented new signage, including a brand-new kiosk. Thanks to your support, the surrounding neighborhood and park users have a beautiful trail network to enjoy.

Engagement. In 2023, FOW welcomed 21 new Crew Leaders and 16 Trail Ambassadors to our Trained Volunteer program. With a small staff and 2,000 acres of parkland to protect, all of FOW’s volunteers are an essential part of the ability to care for it. Our CLs and Tas go through a 6-week program where they learn Wissahickon history, geology, flower, and park fauna, as well as CPR training. From here, they’re the eyes and ears of the park, posting up at outreach tables to aid park users, sweeping the trails for downed trees and broken structures, and assisting with leading volunteer days and hikes, to name a few of their vital functions. Their training, gear, and supplies are all funded by your generous donations.

Thank you for supporting the FOW and the Wissahickon Valley Park. If you’re not a member and would like to make a commitment to the parks’ care, click here.