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23 Environmental Education Centers in PA, DE & NJ to Host River Days Sept. 15 – Oct. 20

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More than 30 fun, environmental-minded activities are scheduled all across the region for River Days, from September 15 – October 20.

Events include festivals, hands-on nature activities, history hikes, biking and paddle excursions, trail activities and more, designed to encourage people of all ages to explore, enjoy and engage in activities along their local rivers and streams.

Twenty three environmental education centers located in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are hosting or collaborating on events that encourage visitors to learn more about the Delaware River watershed with the ultimate goal of fostering protection of this critical resource.

Each nature center is a member of the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River, funded by the William Penn Foundation. River Days events are free to participate, unless noted. For more information and a complete schedule of events see below or visit WatershedAlliance.org

The Delaware River watershed is a 13,500 square mile system of waterways and more than 15 million people depend on the Delaware River and its tributaries for clean drinking water. The waterways and the connected Circuit Trails beside them are more accessible than ever for cyclists, hikers, paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.

The watershed serves as important habitat to a multitude of species, several of which were imperiled and are now returning due to the Clean Water Act and other environmental protections. Returning species include the river otter, Louisiana water thrush, American eel, osprey, dragonfly, freshwater mussels and the bald eagle.


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Visitors to the watershed during River Days are invited to note these and any other species spotted on the River Days 2018 iNaturalist app project. At the culmination of River Days, results will be tallied and used to help educate about the variety of species found in our region.

Find an AWE Center here.

Schedule of River Days Events

Note: Events are free, unless noted otherwise.

*River Days pre-event – Sunday, September 9th 12:00-4:00 pm Lehigh Gap Bike & Boat – Explore the Lehigh Gap (begin in Slatington, PA) by bike and raft on a guided excursion. $25 fee. Registration required.

Saturday, September 15th 9:00 am-12:00 pm Bioblitz in Tacony Creek Park – Join the TTF Watershed Partnership for a week long BioBlitz. Use the free iNaturalist mobile phone app to document wildlife observations across the watershed and add them to the growing TTF project page. The BioBlitz will end on September 22nd when we’ll see how many species we were able to find!

Saturday, September 15th 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Petty’s Island History Hike, NJ – Hike through time on Petty’s Island, an undisturbed habitat on the Delaware River, with historian and author Bob Shinn.

*Official River Days Kick-off event-Saturday, September 15th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Delaware River Festival Camden Waterfront & Penn’s Landing – Come celebrate the mighty Delaware River with the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) and the Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium! Enjoy a “coast to coast” experience as you cross the Delaware River over the Ben Franklin Bridge on foot or bike, or take advantage of free RiverLink ferry rides (some restrictions apply) from one event to the other. Educational fun for families, on-the-water activities, games and crafts, live music, beer garden, fishing opportunities, and more!

Saturday, September 15th 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Trail Challenge Tulphehaking Nature Center, Trenton, NJ – Explore Abbott Marshlands with a wildlife checklist and family-friendly activity course on the trails. Free lunch to the first 100 visitors.

*Official River Days Kick-off event – Saturday, September 15th 2:00-6:00pm, River Days Festival at Riverfront Park in Norristown, PA – Paddle the Schuylkill, discover local species, and enjoy live music, craft beer, food trucks, games and community performances as you learn more about your watershed.

Saturday, September 15th, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Understanding the Urban Watershed for Teachers -On the Schuylkill curriculum building by Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, 640 Waterworks Dr., Philadelphia, PA (Invitation only)

Sunday, September 16th 1:00 – 4:00 pm Explore the Circuit Bike Ride: Tacony Creek Park – Explore the Tacony Creek Park, a rough-cut gem in bustling Northeast Philadelphia. Join the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership to ride the newly-constructed connector beneath Roosevelt Blvd. This ride is FREE for Bicycle Coalition members. Not a member? $35 gets you a spot on this ride and a year-long Coalition membership. Email Doryan@ttfwatershed.org to RSVP.

Saturday, September 22nd 8:00 -10:30 am Bilingual Bird Walk in Tacony Creek Park, Phila., PA – Come celebrate our park and neighborhood diversity! Join a free bilingual (Spanish & English) family-friendly bird walk. Binoculars and coffee will be provided. ¡Ven a celebrar la diversidad en nuestro parque y vecindario!

Saturday, September 22nd 9:00 am Equinox Birding at Timber Creek Park, Blackwood, NJ – Discover the types of birds that call our urban environments home and the different ways they adapt. Presented by the Camden County Board of Freeholders.

Saturday, September 22nd 7:45-11:00 am, Early Fall Birding at Petty’s Island, NJ – This wooded island in the Delaware River is truly an urban oasis for woodland, wading and shore birds. Learn some interesting history along the way and discover how this industrial port is transforming into a wildlife sanctuary. Registration is required, ages 12+

Saturday, September 22nd 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Trailfest DuPont Environmental Education Center, Wilmington, DE- Celebrate the completion of Delaware’s newest trail, The Markell Trail, connecting the Wilmington Riverfront and historic New Castle. This walkable, bikeable trail, with a wide boardwalk spanning the marsh in the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge, opens a whole new world of exploration. Live music, interactive exhibits, live animals, canoeing, outfitters, craft vendors, craft beer, food trucks and more!

Saturday, September 22nd 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Stream Stewards Watershed Cleanup, DE – Rocky Run trailhead in Beaver Valley unit First State National Historical Park, in partnership with Nature Conservancy of Delaware –
Help protect our waterways by removing trash along the trails and streams that feed into Brandywine Creek. There will be fun activities for learning about the animals that live in and around our streams, and what you can do to help protect their habitat.

Saturday, September 22nd 10:00 am Gateway Park Bike Ride – 4.5 mile ride along the Camden Greenway Phase I Loop, with strategic stops for historical and ecological interpretation

Thursday, September 27th 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Ribbon-Cutting for the River Trail Gateway at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education – The River Trail Gateway reveals previously hidden view of Smith Run’s forested glen.

Saturday, September 29th 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Ride for the River starting at Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, Pottstown, PA – Celebrate the Schuylkill River Trail with bikes, beer and live music! Ride from Pottstown to Reading OR from Pottstown to Union Township and back, then kick back and relax at Sly Fox Brewery’s annual Can Jam Festival, featuring great food, Sly Fox beer, and eight hours of live music. All proceed benefit the Schuylkill River Trail. All riders receive a voucher for free food and one free beer.

Saturday, September 29th 10:00 am- 2:00 pm Paddle the River at Watershed Institute, Pennington, NJ – Enjoy a half-day paddle on the Delaware River, from central New Jersey, learning about life in and around the river. Discover a diversity of bird life, including bald eagles, osprey, great blue herons, mergansers and more, all dependent on the river for their source of food.

Saturday, September 29th 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Find Yourself in Nature at Berks Nature’s The Nature Place, Reading, PA -Learn about the critters and fish that live in the creek, walk the trails around Angelica Park, complete a checklist of wildlife you see!

Saturday, September 29th 10:00 am-12:00 pm Bristol Marsh Clean-up For National Public Lands Day at Heritage Conservancy at Bristol Marsh – As the summer comes to a close, help us remove trash at this freshwater tidal marsh. The more trash we collect, the less that will get washed into our waterways!

Saturday, September 29th 11:00 am -3:00 pm Discovery Day at Audubon Pennsylvania Discovery Center, Phila., PA – Join the public opening to the Discovery Center built in a reservoir in Philadelphia that was previously hidden for fifty years! It will now serves as a public space for everyone to get in touch with nature. Free activities for people of all ages.

Sunday, September 30th 8:30 am – 6:00 pm Walnut2Walnut River Challenge Begins at Independence Seaport Museum, Phila, PA- Paddle or row down the Schuylkill River and up the Delaware for a scenic trip around Philadelphia’s peninsula. The challenge course offers spectacular views of the city, while traveling almost fifteen miles along both rivers; suitable for all skill levels. $35 Register online at www.phillyseaport.org/walnut2walnut.

Saturday, October 6th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm The Schuylkill Navigation: A Photographic History Tour at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Phila, PA – Fairmount Water Works photographer-educator Sandy Sorlien will present highlights of her recent documentary project, Inland: The Abandoned Canals of the Schuylkill Navigation, as well as some historic images of the locks, dams, and canals.

Saturday, October 6th, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Harvest Festival at Pocono Environmental Education Center, Dingmans Ferry, PA – Celebrate Fall at PEEC’s 8th annual Harvest Festival! Enjoy animal presenters, arts & crafts, hands-on activities, conservation exhibits, live music, local food, old-timey activities & more! Bring your family & friends to this great event! $5 per car, call 570-828-2319 for details.

Saturday, October 6th, 10:00 am– 1:00 pmWatershed to Watershed Bike Ride at The Watershed Institute, Pennington, NJ -Explore the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail (LHT) by bike and learn why the streams and rivers in your watershed are important to clean drinking water.

Saturday, October 6th, 8:30 am- 12:00 pm Petty’s Island Community Clean-up Day, Camden, NJ. Here’s your chance to be part of the restoration of Petty’s Island. 12+ Must pre-register.

Saturday, October 6th, 10:00 am Gateway Park Clean-up, Camden, NJ Join other volunteers for a community park cleanup to help prepare for Gateway Park’s grand opening.

Sunday, October 7th, Walking Tour of Schuylkill River History 10:00 am – 12:00 pm with Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Phila., PA – Fairmount Water Works photographer-educator Sandy Sorlien leads a walk interpreting remnants of the 108-mile Schuylkill Navigation system along the Roxborough and Manayunk stretches of the river.

Sunday, October 7th, 8:00 am-12:00 pm, Southwest Fish-Off at Bartram’s Garden, Phila., PA- A free fishing derby with activities for all ages. Fish from our dock, the riverbank or from one of our rowboats. Win prizes! One rod per person, bring your own rod or borrow on of ours, no fishing license necessary, catch and release. All ages and abilities welcome, minors must be accompanied by an adult if fishing from one of our boats.

Saturday, October 13th , all day Philly Fall Nature Festival at John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, Phila, PA – Philly Fall Nature Fest is a free family event in conjunction with National Wildlife Refuge Week celebrating nature and community in Southwest Philadelphia! All are welcome to participate in a day of guided nature walks, fishing, kayaking, archery, nature crafts, live animals, face painting, and more!

Saturday, October 13th & Sunday, October 14th , 11:00 am-12:00 pm & 3:00-4:00 pm both days; Land Lab: Dance Exchange at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Phila, PA – Culminating a year of research and art, Dance Exchange will lead a series of animated hikes on our trails that connect participants to local ecology and reflect on the ways that water shapes our lives.

Sunday, October 14th, 12:00-3:00 pm, Harvest Fest at Bartram’s Garden, Phila, PA – An annual community event, am-packed with fun for the whole family: hayrides, cider pressing, face-painting, cooking and canning workshops, games of chance and skill, yoga, boating, and much more!

Sunday, October 14th, 11:00 am -6:00 pm, John Bartram Jawn at Bartram’s Garden, Phila, PA – a family-friendly outdoor concert featuring musicians and performers with deep connections to Southwest Philly!

Saturday, October 20th, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm Artists in the Field at Petty’s Island, Camden, NJ — a 3-hour workshop using the natural world as inspiration. 12+ Registration required.

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