Record-Breaking Cleanup in Tacony Creek Park: Thank you, partners!
Authored By: Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc. | April 20, 2022
This article was originally published Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc. It has been posted here in an edited format.
Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc. (TTF) is so excited about our successful Tacony Creek Park Cleanup at the Whitaker Avenue & East Loudon Street Gateway in Feltonville!
On Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m. until noon, the Philadelphia Water Department Watershed (PWD) Restoration Team, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, CLIP, Ya Fav Trashman, staff and 45 amazing volunteers (including many Temple University students!), all showed their love for this special green space and Circuit trail.
Ya Fav Trashman helped inspire volunteers and the TTF team with his perspective as a former Philadelphia sanitation worker.
This combined teamwork resulted in a record-breaking…drumroll please…20,000 lbs (10 TONS) of trash being removed from the park! A total of 18,780 lbs of trash were removed by the Philadelphia Water Department, along with a dozen tires.
TTF (and CLIP!) provided tools such as shovels, rakes, gloves, trash grabbers, and of course many trash bags! We provided clear trash bags as well for recyclable items. Volunteers grabbed a granola bar or orange as a snack, or filled up a free TTF reusable water bottle from the water cooler.
Some volunteers focused on cleaning the treeline next to Whitaker Avenue, especially the slope right near the bridge, which had an astonishing amount of trash.
A majority of the volunteers removed trash from the Whitaker Avenue Gateway underpass, where the trail is located, next to our four bird murals.
A large amount of trash came from this area, possibly from drivers tossing their litter off the bridge and short dumping. This litter adds up! It is unhealthy for Tacony Creek, as wind and rain move the trash into the creek. The trash prevents the park from serving as a welcoming space.
The sad thing–there’s still more. That’s why we need to keep cleaning and advocating for maintenance.
As the day got closer to noon, the PWD team and volunteers gathered the trash bags and hauled them into trash trucks.
At the end of the cleanup, Julie Slavet, TTF executive director, shared a few words explaining exactly where we were standing in the watershed! She explained how the Whitaker Gateway section of Tacony Creek is in Feltonville, the creek is called the Tookany upstream, and that becomes the Frankford Creek in Juniata Park, and then flows into the Delaware River.
Julie asked everyone to raise their hands if it was their first time at the park. That was a lot of hands! She described TTF’s Tacony Creek Park programs including WeWalkPHL and Run With Me, and the upcoming Maple Sugaring event on March 26.
Terrill Haigler, otherwise known as Ya Fav Trashman, spoke about the importance of keeping our community clean, and shared news about his future cleanup programs, such as a walking group that will pick up trash at the same time.
We are so thankful to all who were involved in this history-making TTF cleanup. We would like to give a special thank you to Board Member Silvina Godoy, and to Tacony Creek Park Keepers Frank and Sean for lending a hand!