April Activities: Science Saturday, Pop-Ups, Shad and More!

NauticalMapSCIENCE SATURDAYS: April 19 and 26 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. starting every half hour.

Humans have been traversing waterways for thousands of years, and safe navigation has always been of the utmost concern. We now have the ability to precisely map the ocean floor and riverbeds using sonar.

Using this sonar we can make Nautical Charts, understand habitat and the effects of sedimentation due to land erosion.

Meet Rosalind Echols, NOAA Teacher at Sea, and hear about her adventures mapping the ocean floor. Learn the physics behind the process in our Water Lab and participate in hands-on activities.

Saturday, April 19 and 26 from 10:00 a.m. to noon.
Smelling Your Way Home

Every Spring we celebrate the return of the American Shad to our fresh waterways to spawn. Living their adult life in the salty ocean, it is impressive how these fish can find their way back to the same fresh water location in which they were hatched. Learn how fish detect “chemical signatures” like our human sense of smell to find their way home.

Heart to Hearth: Learn about the Native Americans who called the Schuylkill River home and how they used the river!

Pop-Up Family Activities:
“Fishin’ Around”
-Studying fish populations in the Schuylkill River can tell us about the health of a river. Take a peek into the underwater world just like aquatic biologists and make a creation to take home!

“Rainbow Fish” – Enjoy the classic tale of Rainbow Fish and make your very own fictional sparkling fish to take home after learning about the real fish found in the Schuylkill River.

Fishway Tour: Families can enjoy a special tour of the Fairmount Dam Fishway to learn more about the history, science, and engineering behind this unique structure. This program is intended for visitors over the age of nine.

Cooking with Shad: Enjoy a taste of delicious shad!

Sunday April 27: Explorer Days
Shad Fest at the Philadelphia Science Festival

Heart to Hearth: Learn about the Native Americans who called the Schuylkill River home and how they used the river!

SHAD – Smell your Way home. This program in our Water Lab celebrates the returning Shad, a native fish, to our waterways. The resurgence of these pollution sensitive, anadromous fish is an indicator of the successes in environmental management over the past 40 years.

Monday April 28: Neighborhood Science After School
Falls of Schuylkill Library Branch “Do we drink the river?”

Wednesday April 30: Teacher Workshop
Teacher Workshop in Partnership with Eco Express/Green Treks at the FWW “Understanding the Urban Watershed”

Saturday, May 3: Carnival on the Parkway
The Water Works presents “How much science is there in this glass of water?”


2014 “Green City, Clean Waters” Art Contest Awards Ceremony on April 24th

Join us on Thursday, April 24th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. as we celebrate the talented young people who have won our 2014 “Green City, Clean Waters” Art Contest! Local students from kindergarten to high school have shown us that they know about protecting our watershed and water resources, while strutting their artistic stuff.

Along with the special ceremony here at the Fairmount Water Works celebrating the creativity of our winners, we will have a reception with refreshments.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 16th to Dee Ross at dross@DelawareEstuary.org or at 1-800-445-4935, ext 106.


New Tour Series! Falling Waters of the Schuylkill: Flat Rock Dam, Black Rock Dam, Fairmount Dam, and their Environs

BlackRock_FishLadder_©Sorlien_MedJoin us for one or both of these walking tours of fascinating Schuylkill River natural and historic sites, including the Flat Rock Dam, Black Rock Dam and Fairmount Dam. Please click here for more information and to purchase tickets: https://schuylkillriverfallingwaterstours.eventbrite.com

Learn about the connection of these dams with the urban water cycle locally, and with the City of Philadelphia’s landmark water system. See firsthand the thriving ecology of Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for 2014, as we look for birds, turtles and fish. Both dams have fishways (fish ladders) that have enabled the return of the shad every spring.

We go out early in the day for better birding and photography opportunities, rain or shine – waterfalls are more exciting if it has been raining! Bring binoculars if you have them, and wear walking shoes. We will do about a mile of easy hiking in each location. After we end our session at 11:00, on your own you can enjoy coffee, lunch, or other attractions on nearby Main Streets and Parkways, for a complete outing.

Minimum 6 attendees to hold a tour. Fees for cancelled tours will be refunded.

Your guide is Environmental Educator, urban planner, photographer and (intermediate) birder Sandy Sorlien, from the Fairmount Water Works.

Here’s what one of our attendees said about the first tour:
“The recent tour of Flat Rock Dam, Schuylkill canal remains, and sluice house was a great chance for me to learn about the industrial and natural history of the area. Our guide, Sandy, has a keen eye for wildlife and I got to see and learn about species of birds and turtles along the river that I had never taken notice of before. I’ve read quite a bit about canals and the Schuylkill’s industrial development, but I was pleased to learn even more than I already knew about the history of water technology and waterways in our region.”
- Dan Rifkin, Lancaster PA

(TOUR ONE: was held on Saturday April 12.)

TOUR TWO: Black Rock Dam and Nature Sanctuary, Phoenixville
Saturday April 19, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

TOUR THREE: Fairmount Dam and Water Works, Schuylkill Banks, Philadelphia
Saturday May 10, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM


2014 Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest

Students: want to show off your artistic ability?

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is now accepting entries on behalf of the Philadelphia Water Department for its Green City, Clean Waters Art Contest!

Philadelphia students can participate in three different ways.They can create a drawing, short video or both. These should show others how to stop polluted water from entering local storm drains. The deadline for entries is Friday, March 7.

For rules and entry forms, please click on this link: http://www.delawareestuary.org/annual-arts-contest2storm_drain_art


Help Design a Logo for the Schuylkill River as PA River of the Year 2014!

Pottstown_2011The Schuylkill River was recently named Pennsylvania’s 2014 River of the Year! Now they need a logo! Help us design one. The Schuylkill River Heritage Area is working with partners to plan a year-long slate of activities to celebrate the Schuylkill’s River of the Year status. They need a logo to use on signs, banners, flyers, and most importantly perhaps, their annual Schuylkill River Sojourn T-shirt. They want your help!

For rules and submission info, please visit their website at http://www.schuylkillriver.org/Detail.aspx?id=5900.

You’ll also be able to learn more about our award-winning river, and what the Schuylkill River Heritage Area does to preserve and protect it!


Water Blues, Green Solutions

water-blues-7Water Blues Green Solutions is designed to promote awareness of the role that green infrastructure can play in creating a sustainable water future. Produced by Penn State Public media, this interactive documentary tells stories from across the country of communities that are adopting new ways of thinking about how to protect, restore, and preserve our rivers and sources of drinking water.

Visit their website, waterblues.org, to explore stories by location or theme and create your own journey. Scroll down from any media component for companion resources that will help you adopt green solutions to solve your water blues, from toolkits to dvds and more. You’ll also find videos that document different projects, such as a Greening event sponsored by Penn State in Philadelphia. See this video at http://waterblues.org/themes/penn-state/penn-state-philadelphia-event


Creativity is All Around Us at The Water Works: Join us!

Despite a snowy winter, programs and activities abound here at The Water Works. In fact, we’re learning more about snow for our February Pop Up event!

If you missed the stunning performance of the modern opera “Tributaries,” this issue of our newsletter brings it alive for you. From haunting music to dramatic lighting and beautiful costumes, this innovative use of the Kelly Pool is just the beginning…and we welcome your ideas and proposals for future events.

Our education programs bring students to The Water Works, and we bring our programs to local schools — read about what the Nebinger school has been creating!

This issue also celebrates the Schuylkill River as Pennsylvania River of the Year for 2014.

To download your copy of the newsletter, please click FWWnewsFebMarch2014upload2

Our tours bring The Water Works site alive, both inside and out, and you can register for your free tickets for “Milling Around” at
http://waterworksmillingaroundtour.eventbrite.com” and for “Inside Out” at http://waterworksinsideouttour.eventbrite.com — space is limited, so sign up today. We’ve included links within the newsletter, too.

So save the dates for all of our wonderful events, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at The Water Works soon!


Learn, Discover, Tour — and More — at The Water Works!

As we welcome in 2014, we invite you to visit us at The Water Works! We’re looking forward to another year of bringing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Architecture, Math & Music) alive to our visitors of all ages.

Along with our popular Science Saturdays you’ll find family-friendly Pop-Up activities, our interactive exhibits, and two tours you won’t want to miss. Please click on the following link to download our calendar. FWWeventsJanMarch2014aaaa

Join us on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. for “Fairmount Water Works — Inside and Out.” You’ll explore the Water Works site and learn its history and importance to Philadelphia. This one-hour tour is free, and no reservations are required.

On Sundays at 2:00 p.m., we’re offering a special hard-hat tour, “Milling Around.” This tour takes you below the streets to the Kelly Pool area where you’ll be able to envision its history as an aquarium and Olympic pool. Our music and light installation, created by the Blair Brothers and Luce Group lighting, will envelope you with a sensory experience as you learn the future of the site as part of vibrant global environmentalism. The tour is free but, due to high demand, reservations are required. Please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-water-works-milling-around-tour-sunday-special-tours-tickets-9958932435 to reserve your tickets.

The staff at The Water Works wishes you and your family a healthy, green and innovative 2014—and we look forward to seeing you at The Water Works soon!


Celebrating the Generosity of Our Donors!

FWW 2013 appeal1Dear Friend of The Water Works,

Thank you for your continued interest in and support of the Fairmount Water Works.

Because you are a valued friend, I wanted to let you know about an extraordinary opportunity to help us mark our 10-year anniversary.

In just one decade, we have emerged as a centerpiece of the Schuylkill River water front and become one of Philadelphia’s most valued and unique cultural and educational destinations.

Today, we are asking you to make a year-end charitable gift to The Water Works in honor of reaching this incredible milestone. Your gift will also ensure that our important educational and hands-on programs and exhibits will continue to flourish and enrich the lives of Philadelphia’s students and families for decades to come.

In the past six months alone, we have taught more than 16,000 children and adults how they can help to protect our region’s precious water resources. And, more than 6,000 children have engaged in hands-on learning in our Water Laboratory.

To continue these programs and meet the growing demand for our educational programs, our goal is to raise $5,000 by December 31, 2013. We think we can meet this goal, but we need your help to do it.

Won’t you please send your tax-deductible gift of $25, $50, $75 or even more today?

As a special thank you for sending a gift of $250 or more, you’ll receive TWO COMPLIMENTARY tickets to “Tributaries: A Modern Cantata” by Craig Hendrix of the Agave Opera Company with Brooke and Will Blair. This amazing performance will be held at The Water Works on Saturday, December 14 at 4:00 p.m. An experience you don’t want to miss!

Remember, most important, whatever gift you can send will support a range of programs, including:
* Less Gray, More Green = Clean Water Summer Program – Children aged 5-13 learn how plants, soil, and water make a greener city and cleaner water supply.
* Green City, Clean Waters: Following Nature’s Lead – helps students understand the benefits of watershed management tools that transform the cityscape from gray to green
* Seeing is Believing: A Drop in the Bucket – laboratory based education program utilizing freshwater sampling of the Schuylkill River to observe, record and analyze microscopic life
* Global Water Action: Engineering a 21st Century Solution – makes global connections to people, issues and solutions related to clean water
* Schuylkill Soundings – sponsors regular educational activities and programs such as our recent event with world-renowned water expert Dr. Peter Gleick
* Project Flow – a six-week summer experience for qualified rising ninth graders to explore water in an experiential and interdisciplinary way
* Culture and Conversation – quarterly programs that mix the arts and sciences, such as the upcoming Cantata Opera event in the Mill House

Please accept my best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season. And thank you in advance for your support of The Water Works, past, present and future.


Karen Young

Director, Fairmount Water Works

P.S. Thank you for sending your tax-deductible gift by December 31 to help The Water Works reach its year-end goal!