Urban Parks and Environmental Education

Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park, part of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, one of the world’s largest urban parks.

DEADWOOD takes place in an urban park, one of my favorite settings. Urban parks are the lungs of our cities, providing not just oxygen but breathing space for people and animals. They create connections to nature and the seasons, and are essential for providing wildlife habitat as development encroaches ever further.

Like DEADWOOD’s main characters Martin and Hannah, kids and adults need time outdoors to understand the world and their connections to it. Urban parks and environmental education programs — both integrated into curricula and as stand-alones environmental — bring nature up close.

Reading List on Urban Parks
Bibliography supplied by educator and activist Kate Galer, M.Ed., founder of Linwood Park, a pocket park in Ardmore, PA.

Environmental Education Resources

Environmental Education (EE)  at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
U.S. government programs, including grant opportunities, in environmental education, and lists links to EPA websites for teachers and kids.

Green Schools Initiative
Nonprofit that works to catalyze and support “green” actions by kids, teachers, parents, and policymakers to reduce the environmental footprint of schools through supporting green schools and teaching environmental literacy.

GreenSchools!
GreenSchools! is a nationwide environmental service-learning program that inspires students to take personal responsibility for improving the environment at their school, at home, and in their community. It’s run by Project Learning Tree, which is the educational arm of the American Forest Foundation.

National Environmental Education Foundation
Volunteers Support More Than 2,200 Sites Nationwide.

The Nature Generation
Environmental nonprofit that inspires and empowers youth to make a difference with environmental stewardship programs in literature, science and the arts. Sponsor of the Green Earth Book Award.

North American Association for Environmental Education
For professionals and students, global membership. Curriculum standards, guidelines on professional qualifications of educators, conferences, and professional development.

North Carolina Office of Environmental Education
The N.C. Office of Environmental Education in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources was established to increase environmental literacy.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Youth Programs
Recognizing the breach between today’s youth and the natural world, PHS works to assist children in understanding the impact they have on the green environment, now and in the future.

Regional Environmental Centers

Delaware

DuPont Environmental Education Center
The DuPont Environmental Education Center at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge on Wilmington’s Riverfront

Pennsylvania

Riverbend Environmental Education Center
Riverbend Environmental Education Center teaches environmental principles to children in Southeastern Pennsylvania through a direct connection with nature, inspiring respect for our natural world and action as aware, responsible and caring citizens. Located in Gladwyne, PA.

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Located in the Andorra section of Philadelphia, The Schuylkill Center is to promotes through environmental education, the preservation and improvement of our natural environment.

Resources for Urban Parks

Fairmount Park
Website of Philadelphia’s grand and sprawling park system, encompassing over 9,200 acres — 10% of the land in Philadelphia.

Friends of Wissahickon
Nonprofit protecting and supporting Wissahickon Valley Park, located in the Northwest section of Philadelphia (Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill, Andorra, Roxborough).

Philadelphia Green
This project of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is part of its Green City Strategy — promoting a comprehensive approach to revitalizing and maintaining the city’s green infrastructure as a key element in urban renewal.