The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp. (OARC) will feature one of its sustainability programs during the kick off next month of the city’s Green 2015 initiative to expand the acreage of green space across Philadelphia by 2015.
The December 6th initiative is a special edition of the city’s Urban Sustainability Forum, at which Mayor Michael Nutter and Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis will outline efforts to unite government and citizens to create 500 new acres of open land. The forum will be held at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
OARC will give a presentation on its sustainability efforts at the John F. McCloskey Elementary School and Dorothy Emanuel Recreation Center in Mount Airy, where along with the Vital Neighborhoods Initiative, Philadelphia School District and Recreation Department, they converted a portion of the schoolyard into a “rain garden” to help combat stormwater runoff, a major contributor to pollution in local water systems.
“We are proud that we are helping the city achieve its goal of creating 500 additional acres of green space by 2015. This garden is yet another step in our efforts to improve the quality of life for residents of Northwest Philadelphia,” said John Ungar, OARC’s Senior Director of Sustainability and Education.
“The garden will help prevent water pollution, enhance the beauty of the playground, and most importantly, provide a hands on opportunity for students to learn about the environment. This could not have been completed without the help of our partners, the School District of Philadelphia, the Recreation Department, Awbury Arboretum and Vital Neighborhoods.”
The rain garden measures 50′ by 100′ and uses native plants and other landscaping to soak up rain water and stormwater runoff from lawns, roofs and other impervious surfaces such as streets, driveways or parking lots. Such runoff often carries pesticides, fertilizers and oil into storm drains, which feeds the pollutants into streams, lakes and rivers.