Return of the Stewards!

Conservation // July 08, 2020

It’s good to be back. 

The novel virus Covid-19 has made FOW’s stewardship efforts in the past months extremely challenging, especially with the suspension of our volunteer trail improvement days and cleanups in Wissahickon Valley Park. We’re so grateful to the volunteers who stepped up and continued to clean & improve the Wissahickon during this time, and their individual work has been nothing short of amazing. But we are excited to say that following the guidance of city and state officials on outdoor activities, we’re beginning a return to organized volunteer work in the park!

We can’t just go back to normal volunteering, though. The health and safety of our volunteers is our highest priority, and we will be moving slowly due to the risk of Covid-19 as we start a series of reopening stages throughout the park. If the situation or guidance we’re getting changes, we will adjust the stages based on the new information. But without further ado, here’s a brief runthrough of our plans for the summer…

PHASE ONE (Starting July 1): Volunteering is limited to already trained FOW Trail Ambassadors and Crew Leaders, who will be provided with PPE and additional safety training. Volunteers will focus on critical areas for trash pickup, corridor and sightline clearing, and planting site maintenance, as well as conducting a comprehensive survey of the park to map damages and rogue trails. Trail Ambassadors will begin outreach shifts.

PHASE TWO (Start date TBD): Continuing the work started in Phase One, we will begin to increase our group sizes to 10 people. Crew Leaders will begin to work in larger groups led by FOW staff. We will also begin running small clean up service days that the public will be able to join us for.

PHASE THREE (Start date TBD): In this phase, we will increase our group size to 20 people, with a return of our Saturday Service Days. We will likely plan for more than one location so as to safely spread everyone out. Registration will be required to attend, and volunteers will be required to bring their own masks. We anticipate a return of our Guided Walks & Talks series in Phase Three.

Through all phases, we still encourage individual stewardship of the park by embracing Leave No Trace principles, and by helping us out by picking up trash while you’re hiking the trails. 

Once again, we’re beyond grateful to the many volunteers that keep Wissahickon Valley Park a clean and sustainable treasure. You truly are the heart and soul of the Wissahickon – and we continue to need your individual efforts to keep the park clean and green! Sign up to help out the park here.

Have questions or looking to get involved? Email FOW’s Volunteer Manager Shawn Green at!