Volunteer Spotlight: Bonnie Levinthal!
Meet FOW Wissahero Bonnie Levinthal in this month’s volunteer spotlight. Thinking about some wissaheroics? Get more information at fow.org/wissahero!
What is your connection to Wissahickon Valley Park?
I have been using the park since the mid-1980s. As time has passed, and my life has changed over these many years, so too have the ways I use the park and the locations I use most frequently. The park has never failed to provide just what I need. This past year, during the pandemic, my daily hikes were a vital part of my general wellbeing.
How did you start volunteering with FOW?
I started volunteering in March 2020. I was disheartened by the amount of litter left by the trailhead closest to my home, and other trash along the trails and beside the Wissahickon Creek, so I started doing a weekly solo cleanup. It was at this time that I also learned that I could count my cleanup hours in the park toward my working members’ requirement at Weavers Way Co-op. However, once I finished recording my hours, I continued my weekly cleanups.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering with FOW?
My favorite thing about volunteering with FOW is knowing that I am helping an organization that does so much to preserve the beauty of the Wissahickon Valley Park.
COVID-19 put quite a damper on stewardship activities. Tell us what you were able to accomplish during this time.
My stewardship activities continued during the pandemic because I walked, rode, or ran in the park on a daily basis. When I picked up trash, I always worked alone because that was the safest thing to do. This past year, more than ever, the Wissahickon became a refuge and an incredible source of inspiration for my paintings while I was on sabbatical from teaching. Cleanups were/are my way of giving back for all that the park gives me.
What is your favorite place in the Wissahickon?
That is a difficult question to answer. This past year I have been in love with the elevated parts of the White Trail overlooking the Wissahickon Creek. But really, anywhere I can see the water is a favorite place.