TTF Watershed gets the community engaged through free bilingual bird guides and fitness programs
The nonprofit is hopping on the city’s comeback from COVID to get people more in tune with nature again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the lives of many people in Philadelphia.
As restrictions ease up, many more are excited to get back to pre-pandemic activities.
Getting back to nature, going for long hikes, and reconnecting with friends in the community are just some of the activities people look forward to most.
A nonprofit helping children and adults interact with nature and get involved in the environment is TTF Watershed, based in Frankford.
Standing for the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed, the organization provides free health and fitness programs hosted at Tacony Creek Park. They are also planning nature walks and free yoga classes for individuals.
The organization is also offering free bilingual bird guides, online scavenger hunts, and story time events for children and their families. The bilingual bird guide activity sheets are online, and can be printed out or mailed to one’s house if they do not have access to a printer.
“During the pandemic when everything changed,” Julie Slavet, executive director at TTF Watershed, said in a recent interview with AL DÍA News.
She said she is hoping to teach the community about the importance of caring for the environment, such as creeks and other small bodies of water.
“The projects that we do is to educate people on how important water is,” said Slavet.
With that in mind, she and her team of volunteers are offering events, both in-person and virtual, for families to learn more about their environment and the water system.
Many of their volunteers are also bilingual, which means parents who are not comfortable speaking English can join in on the fun.
“Parents generally, their English skills are more limited, but the children have stronger English skills, so we try to make things more comfortable for the parents and offer bilingual services,” said Slavet
TTF, which is partnered with The Philadelphia Water Department, has been engaging with families since 2005, when the organization was founded.
“We are very focused on our watershed, which spans to four miles,” said Slavet. “Our watershed starts in Montgomery County and the rest of the system is in Philadelphia.”
The Tacony Creek Park is one of the most underfunded parks in Philadelphia.
The 300-acre park is one of the city’s five watershed parks and is a part of Olney, Lawncrest, Feltonville, Juniata Park, and Frankford.
Although the park is thriving with wildflowers, over 100 species of birds, and other walks of wildlife, they lack rangers entrusted with protecting and preserving natural
“Tacony Creek Park is the only park that does not have an environmental center either,” Slavet said.
In its place, Slavet has dedicated her time to create a mobile center, where locals can have access to more information about maintaining a clean environment.
The nonprofit recently announced other summer activities to add to their calendar.
“Jessica Contreras, one of our volunteers, will be planning our Run With Me events,” said Slavet.
The running events caters to all family members and will happen on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings between 5 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
Contreras will also run kid-friendly Family Trail Runs on Tuesdays at 3:30 pm and Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Another family-friendly event happening this Summer is TTF’s free hatha yoga sessions hosted by Jenna Song.
Song recently took up yoga during the COVID-19 pandemic, and wants to help others maintain a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.
“I took two yoga classes at Temple University as an undergrad and I always enjoyed yoga,” Song told AL DIA News.
She quickly saw the benefits of meditation and became a trained yoga instructor. Song got involved at TTF through a friend that volunteered at the organization.
“They wanted me to lead a community yoga once a week. I was absolutely thrilled and we decided to roll with it,” she said.
Song is engaging community members with hatha yoga classes on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 11:40 a.m.
If you are interested in any free TTF Watershed events happening this summer, go to their website and register!