The FOUND Project & Year of the Pollinator

Spring Gala: Save the Date!

Awbury Al Fresco

Programs and Events

TLC News

Volunteer Notes

Summer Camp & Magic

Awbury Garden Tours

Welcome New Staff – Jesse Bilger

Capital Improvements

Landscape News

Annual Appeal Results

AdventureWoods Playground

Board Member Spotlight –Adam Hill

Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice Award 3rd year in a row

Beware the Spotted Lanternfly!

The FOUND Project & Year of the Pollinator

by Hideko Secrest, The Leaflet Editor

2018 has been designated the Year of the Pollinator at Awbury Arboretum, and with this designation comes a year-long series of special events, lectures, activities, workshops, and art classes centered around North American pollinators. In anticipation of this, Awbury began talks with Karen Singer Tileworks back in the fall of 2016 to design a series of special ceramic tiles. This commission will culminate in the installation of twelve tiles depicting pollinators mounted on posts with descriptive and educational labels throughout the Arboretum grounds this spring. The project, FOUND: Native Pollinators at Awbury Arboretum, will serve as an art installation, a scavenger hunt for children, public outreach, educational material, and a celebration of nature all rolled into one.

Karen Singer in her studio

According to Karen, she had been approached by Program Director Heather Zimmerman to come up with a tile project after “we did a workshop [at Awbury] two or three years ago where we had people sculpt tiles en plein air, so we had been talking about various ways we could do a project together.” Originally, they thought that children might make the tiles under Karen’s guidance, but then the project grew more ambitious: “It evolved into a series of twelve tiles; Awbury staff did the research and provided photos and specific information [about the pollinators they had chosen].”

Working in collaboration with Awbury’s own graphic artist Beth Miner, Karen began by adapting the photos she received, many taken by Awbury staff on the grounds of the Arboretum, making simplified tracings onto plastic, then transferring the designs to clay. From there, she sculpted each original picture—“This is really bas-relief printmaking”—onto clay tiles, made plaster molds of each, hand-pressed, fired, and hand-glazed each tile. In this series of photographs, you can see the process for one of the designs, a hoverfly on an aster.

staff photo with notes

grayscale version

plastic overlay

reverse clay mold

glazed tile


Each of the tiles will be mounted in its own “habitat”—for instance, the wind pollinator tile depicts weeping willows blowing in the wind, so it will be mounted near the weeping willows down by the pond. Beth Miner is doing all the graphics for FOUND: a map to show the locations of the tiles, a poster containing all twelve designs, and a postcard.

Saturday, April 21 will be the signature event for the Year of the Pollinator, with a reception at Cope House, the unveiling of the tiles, and events and educational activities for the public. Karen will have an exhibition there entitled “Botanically Inspired: Ceramic Tiles and Related Work” and she will be giving a brief studio talk on “Cross-Pollination: Art, Gardens, and Community.”

Pollinator tiles awaiting installation

Karen loves Germantown, calling it “a neighborhood filled with hidden treasures. Awbury is one of them. There are a lot of historic houses, gardens, and people doing amazing things…. There’s just so much history here.” She hopes the pollinator project will make more people aware of Awbury Arboretum and “all the beauty it has to offer. It’s this amazing little treasure of an urban garden; it doesn’t cost anything to go there—it’s a haven!” Karen Singer Tileworks was started in Germantown in 1991 and has been there continuously since then, “so it’s another one of those hidden-in-plain sight treasures of Germantown,” she joked.

And, if you want to keep learning about this topic all year round, you can follow Awbury’s blog featuring a different pollinator each month, written by Awbury intern and La Salle student Dan Sardaro. The post for February is on wind and the role it plays in pollinating many of the trees and crops we find here in Pennsylvania. And, in case you missed it, last month’s blog was on the honeybee.

Click here for ongoing information on the Year of the Pollinator or the FOUND reception, and stay tuned for a year of fascinating events and education!

Spring Gala: Save the Date!

Make sure to save

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

for our annual Awbury Spring Gala

honoring the Thomas Pym Cope Award recipients

Philip and Sarah Price

Awbury al Fresco

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

Teen Leaderships Corps demo table

On Saturday, May 20th, 2017 the Arboretum threw a combination farm tour, dinner, fundraiser, and memorial honoring the late Gay Gilpin Johnson, a longtime supporter of Awbury Arboretum. It celebrated the newly instituted Gay Gilpin Johnson Archives and Education Fund. The event took place in Awbury’s Agricultural Village, was attended by 117 guests, and took in over $9000 for the Fund.

Philadelphia Orchard Project information table

The evening began with a self-guided tour of the Agricultural Village, showcasing the Arboretum’s many partners and programs. Guests could stop at each booth and partake of a different flavorful, farm-fresh hors-d’oeuvre while getting information about each partner’s program. On hand were the Teen Leadership Corps, the Philadelphia Orchard Project, the Philadelphia Beekeepers’ Guild, Weavers Way Farm, Food Moxie, and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, all staffed by volunteers or employees from each of those organizations, eager to answer questions and hand out information.

Organic gourmet meal provided by Farmer’s Keep caterers from ingredients grown in the Ag Village

After the tour, guests gathered under a tent set up in front of the Education Center for remarks about Gay and her many contributions to the Arboretum. Becky Johnson reminisced about her mother’s dedication to Awbury through the years and what it was like growing up on the grounds of the Arboretum. Neighbor Evelyn Spann spoke about Gay’s active dedication to Awbury, and Board member Mark Sellers spoke of her many contributions to and tireless volunteering at the Arboretum and of her dedication to the idea of education for the local children and the community at large. Finally, Archivist Alex Bartlett spoke about her dedication to preserving the legacy of the Arboretum through its photos and documents. Scattered on the tables in evidence of this were photo albums containing historical photos of Awbury Arboretum, photos of Gay at various Arboretum events, and past and present pictures of the children who have attended programs and camps here.

Dinner followed the talks. This was a multi-course, locally sourced farm-fresh meal, with many of the ingredients harvested directly from the property, catered by Farmer’s Keep. As the sun set and the evening came to a close, guests shared memories of Gay, talked enthusiastically of the Arboretum’s future, and sampled the delicious mini desserts.

Money raised through the Gay Gilpin Johnson Archive and Education Fund will support Awbury’s archival preservation and educational programs, which keep alive the rich history of this property and serve thousands of Philadelphians each year.


Programs and Events

by Heather Zimmerman, Program Director

Spring is right around the corner and we have a great variety of happenings to enrich and engage you at Awbury. Here’s a quick list of what’s up next:


6        Herb Workshop with ethnobotanist and author Emily Murphy
8        Awbury’s Germantown Supper Club with Chef Gail Hinson serves up Pollinators on Your Plate and in Your Glass
31       Welcome Spring!—Awbury’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, Plant Sale, and Opening day for AdventureWoods natural play area


12        Awbury’s Germantown Supper Club with Chef Gail Hinson serves up April in Paris
15        PHS brings Philadelphia Wild Foodie Lynn Landis to Awbury for a Foraging Tour and Tasting
21        Year of the Pollinator signature event! The unveiling of FOUND: Pollinators at Awbury Arboretum, interactive and educational scavenger hunt and the opening for Karen Singer’s Show Botanically Inspired: Ceramic Tile and Related Works
20        Star Party at the Agricultural Village, part of Philadelphia Science Week
29        Awbury Adventures Summer Camp Reunion and Open House

Awbury Arboretum strives to be a neighborhood asset, offering something for everyone. I hope to see you here soon for a class, a dinner, some stargazing, or a lovely stroll through our gorgeous landscape!

Click here for more information on upcoming programs and events.

Teen Leadership Corps (TLC) News

by Anna Herman, TLC Program Director

Tiana working on plans for the spring

The Teen Leaderships Corps (TLC) at Awbury Program is entering its fifth growing season this spring! Last year we grew over $13,000 worth of food in our market gardens, much of which was used in our farm kitchen to teach about nutritious, culturally diverse cuisine, or sold to the public at Awbury events to benefit our youth entrepreneurs. Our diverse team of high school students, neighborhood volunteers, and part-time staff work year round on farm chores in our weekly work sessions. In the spring and summer this consists mostly of outside planting, harvesting, and lots of weeding. In the winter, our time together is spent planning, learning, and preparing for spring to return.

One year-round chore is caring for our flock of chickens, which we hatched in a incubator last spring from the eggs of chickens we raised the year before. We are pleased that, after taking a little break from their egg-laying duties during the dark of winter, the hens are back to laying their beautiful and delicious fresh eggs. We’ve enjoyed cooking and eating a variety of vegetable frittatas, omelets and stratas (savory bread puddings) that feature our eggs. We enjoy these nutritious snacks around the farm table together every session during breaks from farm chores.

We are also raised and care for two turkeys, one tom (male) and one hen (female), that we purchased as week-old poults last summer.   Now that they’ve grown, we hope they will mate this spring and that the resultant fertilized eggs can be incubated in our farm classroom this spring. Our team may decide to raise these for meat or to sell them.

We welcome volunteers of all ages to join our team—or even for an occasional work session—to learn more about what we do, to share in our harvest, and to try a taste of TLC frittata. Interested? Contact me at

Click here to check out the TLC at Awbury Arboretum’s blog

Volunteer Notes

by Leslie Cerf, Volunteer Coordinator

A lot has happened since our last newsletter. Last spring’s Volunteer highlight was Awbury’s extended Earth Day Celebration. Two large visiting student groups planted 22 trees, a donation from the Tree Tenders division of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

On Friday April 21, 2017, overseen by Awbury staff and volunteers, 50 middle school students from Holy Child Rosemount School planted ten new trees along the Secret Garden’s new trail and nature playground. Then, on Monday, April 24, 30 high school students and staff from Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy participated in a three-part rotation workshop day of activities for Teen Earth Day Celebration. Activities included the planting of twelve more trees; the decoration of two rain barrels, donated by PWD and led by the Bird Studio Art Gallery of Germantown for Awbury’s Agricultural Village’s Education Center; and a workshop on sustainability and ideas on reducing lunchbox waste led by the Land Health Institute.

Then, this winter, as it has for the past five years, Awbury partnered with Global Citizen to promote volunteer sign-up for Awbury’s Martin Luther King Day of Service, which this year took place at Awbury’s Agricultural Village. On that frigid morning, nearly a hundred volunteers participated in a variety of rigorous activities: the removal of invasive bush honeysuckles, tidying up the paths for our handicapped visitors and the visitor seating areas, the removal of ivy off of stone walls, and the collection of trash from alongside Washington Lane. Groups that joined us to celebrate community service on MLK Day were: students and staff from Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, members of Germantown Jewish Center in Mt. Airy, and Weavers Way Co-op members, as well as individual volunteers from the neighborhood. Afterwards, volunteers were offered words of Dr. King’s to reflect on over a hot soup lunch, and MLK Day of Service T-shirts generously donated by Global Citizens.

Finally, as part of Longwood Garden’s 2018 Community Book Read for adults, com-munity members can join the Awbury Book Club’s reading of Lab Girl by scientist Hope Jahren. The book was distributed for free to those who signed up to attend the Awbury Book Club Kick-Off on Wednesday, February 21 from 7-8pm at the Francis Cope House. Lab Girl is an autobiographical account of life as a female scientist and geobiologist. It is a personal, inside look at the team she built and the risks she took in this highly demanding and competitive field. A Wrap Up Discussion will take place one month later, on Wednesday, March 21.

Click here for more information about volunteer opportunities at Awbury.

Awbury’s Summer Adventure Camp is Magical

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

The two children stood back to back, faces set in concentration, then resolutely strode ten paces directly away from each other. They turned to face each other, bowed, then each whipped out a thin wooden rod as the command “En garde!” was given. They proceeded to hurl spells at each other in rapid succession, until, with a cry of “Expelliarmus!” one child sent the other’s wand flipping through the air toward him and caught it deftly in his free hand. Dueling practice in Defense Against the Dark Arts: just part of the regular day at Awbury’s first ever Ilvermorny Camp of Witchcraft and Wizardry last summer.

Camp Katniss

Campfire cooking at Camp Katniss

Summer camp at Awbury for 8- to 12-year-olds was the brainchild of Program Director Heather Zimmer-man in 2013. It started with Camp Katniss, loosely based on the Hunger Games children’s series by Suzanne Collins, in which campers were taught wilderness survival skills like fire building, foraging, shelter construction, water gathering, and archery. Over the course of two weeks they gained mastery of these, and then, on the last day in an arboretum-wide competition, used all their skills and wits to survive a modified Hunger Games. This camp became so popular that it was sold out every year thereafter. Over the years, other camps were added, but none as popular as Camp Katniss.

Camper-made wand from Awbury wood

Then, two summers ago, Heather noticed that many of the campers were showing up at camp dressed in Hogwarts robes and picking up sticks from the ground, pretending to cast spells. “Why not use that enthusiasm?” she thought, and the idea for a Harry Potter camp at Awbury was born. She asked my help in developing a curriculum, which was a dream come true for me, as I am a rabid fan of the Harry Potter series. That same year, the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had come out to much fanfare.  Set in America instead of England, it contained a passing reference to the North American Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and we resolved to offer a camp based on J.K. Rowling’s newly discovered magic school. This relieved the counselors from having to put on fake English accents,  the pressure of living up to the children’s preconceptions about Hogwarts, and the need to feature characters from the beloved novels. But it also involved a great deal of frantic research into the reams of new material about North American magic and the Ilvermorny School that Rowling had put on her website, Pottermore.

Quidditch practice

Quidditch game

Interest in the new camp grew slowly, but by the time opening day arrived, the camp was fully enrolled, with 24 children (This year we will be expanding to 28, to allow for a full Quidditch team for each house). Shortly before the beginning of Harry Potter Week, campers received letters of acceptance on parchment sealed in red wax, mysteriously delivered to their bedrooms or windowsills “by Owl.” One young camper was so excited that he posted his letter on Instagram. Upon arrival, campers chose wood for their wands (all thirty different types of wood offered were taken from branches cut within the Arboretum), which they then shaped, sanded, and finished; were sorted into their Houses—Pukwudgie, Thunderbird, Wampus, and Horned Serpent (all based on Native American mythical creatures), went into the forest to “capture” their owls; and started classes.

Potions classroom

Classes were offered in Potions, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. On any given day, you might see campers puzzling out the images in tea leaves, making slimy goo, magically unlocking doors, making soothing salve from plants, or causing objects to sail through the air. In the afternoons, the campers played Quidditch, racing about the field with a variety of balls, with brooms clamped firmly between their legs.



The week ended with final exams, naturally, as well as a practical test of their skills as they battled a Gorgon (they had to use mirrors and a blanket to approach it, since they couldn’t look at it directly without turning to stone), figured out which potion to drink to find an answer to a problem, rescued their kidnapped Housemates, and deciphered messages written in ancient runes. They also had to unmask and subdue a Dark Witch in their midst who had been sending them threatening messages all week.

Campers with their owls

At the end of the day on Friday, with their protective charms and wands and owls in hand and their newly awarded certificates of completion and learner’s wand licenses, they cast some final spells and talked about how much they had enjoyed camp. A girl who had been silent and nervous the first day was beaming and chattering nonstop. Two boys who had never met before camp had their arms around each other’s shoulders, pledging to return the next summer for their second year at Ilvermorny. The moment was, well, magical.

Building a matchless fire for Wilderness Survival camp

Registration for Awbury Adventure summer camps is ongoing. In addition to the Harry Potter camp (ages 8-12), there are three other offerings: Camp Katniss, (ages 8-12); Get Cooking in the Cope House Kitchen (ages 9-13), and Advanced Wilderness Survival Skills (ages 10-14). There is an Early Bird discount for those who register and pay before March 1 (hurry!), and camp scholarships are available. There will also be an Open House for camp on Sunday, April 29. Come to meet counselors, former and current campers, and to experience a taste of the camp experience.

Click here for more information or to register for camp.

Awbury Garden Tours

by Nancy Pasquier, Field Studies Director

Curious about the family that lived at Awbury last century? Appreciate the Victorian landscape design and want to learn more about it? Looking for ideas for good native plants to grow in your own yard? Consider taking a tour! The Arboretum now offers staff-led tours for groups. The experience begins with a PowerPoint presentation that introduces visitors to the Cope Family and English Picturesque landscape design, then continues with a walking tour of the property. Click here for more information and pricing on guided tours.

If you prefer to go it alone, visitors are always welcome to walk the property free of charge and can pick up a walking tour in the Arboretum office in the Cope House Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm. On Saturday and Sunday, you can visit the Arboretum but there is no access to the building. You can download a walking tour map from the website by clicking here.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please email .

Welcome New Staff

Jesse Bilger—TLC Farm Manager/Educator

Urban farmer Jesse Bilger started volunteering at Awbury’s Agricultural Village after attending the Fall Fest in 2016. After working all year as a volunteer for the Teen Leadership Corps (TLC), designing and building such projects as the palatial wooden coop for TLC’s flock of chickens and turkeys last May, he joined the staff in November of 2017, where his job is to manage the day-to-day TLC farm activities: soil amendment, planting, harvesting, and taking care of the aforementioned chickens. He works as a team with Anna Herman, who oversees the teens side of TLC.

Originally from Bucks County, Jesse got his B.S. from Temple University in Environmental Science, worked as an urban farmer for Lutheran Settlement House for 4 years, and started and ran a CSA (community supported agriculture) out in Bucks County for 2 years. He eventually decided he wanted to move his work back closer to his home neighborhood of Germantown. He likes that Awbury is “close to my house—it’s part of my neighborhood.” He enjoys managing young urban farms: “I love to help people design new spaces.” He is looking forward to going through all 12 months with TLC: in winter they have a skeleton crew of 6-8 teens, but by spring they’re at full capacity, with 15-20 teens involved at the farm on a regular basis. He is a bit of an entrepreneur as well: this spring, he hopes to open a business selling kombucha and hard cider.

Capital Improvements Around the Property

by Branda O’Neil, Administrative and Facilities Manager

If you visit the Cope House for an evening event, you’ll notice our recently installed lighting along Cope Lane and Station Road.  These energy-efficient LED lights are used during supper clubs, weddings, and other night-time events, easing guests’ walk to overflow parking and making the area safer at night.

This year, instead of touching up the dark brown paint on our entry floors as we usually do, we restored the original wood!  Thanks to the expertise of Oak Heart Wood Floors, the 158-year-old oaken floors in our parlors, foyer, and reception room were completely sanded and refinished, and are looking the best they have in a century. Next time you’re here, be sure to stop in to Cope House to admire the satiny, glowing rosy sheen of the past underfoot.

Landscape News

by Karen Flick, Landscape Manager

Aerial view of newly installed bluestone terrace

Dancing on the terrace ©Cheyenne Gil

After a much appreciated mild winter last year, the Awbury staff was able to install a 40’ by 60’ bluestone terrace behind the Cope House, designed by Brian Haynes, Landscape Architect. The area is now transformed from a passive garden walk-through to an active space for catered events, outdoor learning, and yoga or art classes—possibilities abound! Moreover, the gardens surrounding the patio are now being expanded by over 4,000 square feet. These gardens are a reflection of both native plants and Historic Germantown plants, based off the Edwin Jellet records from 1914. Plantings include highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum), an array of peonies (Paeonia ssp), St. John’s wort (Hypericum kalmianum), both black and red chokecherries (Aronia brilliantissima & melanocarpa), oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia), and winterberry hollies (Ilex verticilata). Watch the terrace area continue to transform through the seasons and as the next phases of the design are carried through.

In the fall of 2017 Awbury Arboretum launched its self-guided Heritage Tree Tour. We have been working to create a multi-map system to provide visitors a diverse experience. This endeavor began with our self-guided Historic Tour. As the second map developed, the Heritage Tree Tour provides guests with the approximate location of twenty-five Heritage Trees throughout the Historic Landscape. A Heritage Tree is one considered to be exemplary in size or structure, to have significant wildlife value, or to be noteworthy for historic and cultural reasons. All of the trees listed on our tour encompass these traits. Each tree has a minimum trunk girth of two and a half feet wide at four feet above the ground, making them stand out among their surroundings.

American linden, “Tilia americana”

Two of our most notable trees are an American linden (Tilia americana) in the English landscape, and a river birch (Betula nigra) in the wetlands. Our American linden is a landscape in itself: the multi-stemmed trunk creates numerous pockets, hollows, and mounds. While it stretches upward, the massive branches flare out before swooping back down to engulf the visitors below.

One of the Pennsylvania State Champions, our river birch’s stout trunk and massive limbs are unrecognizable as a river birch to most visitors—that is, until the viewer pays close attention to what is growing over forty feet about them: there, the young branches grow straight up out of the massive winding branches like a landscape of river birch saplings growing out of a heavy old log. The older branches with coarse, dark bark do not lack strength as they hold up the young river birch branches which displaying the species’ familiar peeling bark.

The Heritage Trees are an ideal introduction to Awbury’s tree map system as we welcome first-time and daily visitors to become acquainted with the many aspects of Awbury Arboretum’s historic landscape.

Annual Appeal 2017 Results

by Beth Miner, Grants Manager

The results of our 2017 year-end appeal are in, and we are happy to report that support for Awbury continues to grow. The appeal generated just shy of $40,000 ($39,580 to be precise). A total of 164 individuals contributed to the total amount. Funds generated through the appeal are vital to the care of Awbury’s landscape and the continuation of our many programs and events. We are so grateful for our generous community of partners — we couldn’t do what we do without you!

If you missed the appeal or are new to Awbury and would like to join us in our work through a donation, we’ve made the process quick and easy! Simply visit our giving page here, and let us know how you’d like to contribute, and what you’re most interested in about Awbury.

AdventureWoods Playground reopening soon

by Hideko Secrest, Leaflet Editor

Making s’mores

Building fairy houses

On Saturday, September 24, 2017 the long-awaited AdventureWoods Play-ground opened with a lively celebration in Awbury’s Secret Garden. The playground, inspired by designs created by Studio Bryan Hanes and three years in the planning, was constructed by Awbury landscaping staff of all natural materials found within the Arboretum.

AdventureWoods features three main areas: the Weft and Weave, where large looms are set up for children to weave grasses, leaves, and bark into temporary works of textile art; the Woodlot, where piles of logs, tree trunks, stumps, branches, and tree “coins” are arranged in piles, patterns, structures, and shelters for children to climb up, clamber over, jump from place to place, hide in, and balance on; and the Willows, where willow branches have been woven into huts (to be replaced by living willow saplings this spring) for children to play in, and tables and chairs cut from trees felled at Awbury provide a place for child-sized picnics and tea parties.

The Weft and Weave

The Woodlot

The Willows








Events for the AdventureWoods opening included the construction of fairy houses from natural materials, cooking and eating s’mores over a campfire, making crowns from willow branches and wildflowers, and snacking on treats provided by Awbury chef Gail Hinson from a food cart set up in the Secret Garden.

AdventureWoods is currently closed for the winter, but will reopen on Saturday, March 31. It will be open to the public on Wednesdays from 9am-3pm and Saturdays from 10-2 (spring through fall). It will also be open for certain Awbury-sponsored events and for visiting schoolchildren who come for our Field Studies program. The playground is available to rent for private parties or by special arrangement with Awbury. Click here for more information and maps.

Board Member Spotlight – Adam Hill

Tell us a bit about yourself: where are you from, and how did you end up in Philadelphia?
I actually grew up in Germantown. I went to school at the University of Pittsburgh and spend some time abroad in Mexico, doing some research there into farming practices. After I came back I moved to South Philadelphia. [Since then,] me and my wife moved into our new house in Germantown in October. It’s just a block away from Awbury!

Were you aware of Awbury before you joined the Board?
I’ve got a long history with Awbury: I remember going on field trips here when I was a student at Greene Street Friends School. I have some good memories of Awbury when I came back from Mexico; I got really involved in agricultural internship at the Weavers Way farm right after I returned.

Can you tell us a bit about your work outside of Awbury?
I manage the City Harvest program at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society: we help support about 150 urban and community farms around the city. We run five greenhouses (one at Awbury), plant 250,000 organic seedlings per year, give out compost and organic pest control supplies, do workshops and education. All the farms are either donating to food cupboards or selling [produce] at low-cost farmers’ markets. It’s about combating food insecurity. We also run a farm- and reentry-training at the Philadelphia County Prison system on State Road called Roots to Reentry. Former prisoners learn farming, [though lately] the work is more focused on landscaping skills, because that’s where the jobs are.

Adam Hill with organic seedlings

Has your work benefited from and/or been influenced by your work at Awbury?
For sure. It has changed since I got on the board in November of 2015. I make better connections with Awbury’s partners; I know more of what’s going on.

What do you think makes Awbury a unique place in the City of Philadelphia?
For me, it’s kind of how it’s integrated into the community, how it’s blended seamlessly into that neighborhood. It’s a better place to connect with than other “destination gardens.”

What is your vision for Awbury 10, 20 years down the road?
I would like to see it more financially sustainable, [while still] building on what makes it unique. I hope it can continue to bring people in to connect with nature. Because of my background and what I do, I’d like to see more connection to the ag side; I’d like to see Awbury be more of a partner and less of a landlord. Awbury is really a special and unique place that brings together so many different and amazing agriculture- based non-profits in Philadelphia. [It] has the opportunity to be a true hub for urban agriculture innovation.

© Alyssa Maloof Photography

Awbury wins Wedding Wire Couples Choice Award for Third Year in a Row!

Check out our reviews and Pinterest page to see why.

The Cope House is a unique venue that offers both indoor and outdoor party areas surrounded by nature and history.  Proceeds from our rental program support Awbury’s mission of providing our urban community free access to nature and history 365 days a year!

Questions? Contact Branda O’Neil at or (215) 848-2855 x10.

Warning from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture:

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly, nymph and adult forms

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, an invasive planthopper, has been discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is native to China, India, Vietnam, and introduced to Korea where it has become a major pest. This invasive insect has the potential to greatly damage crops and trees. Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania forests and agriculture.

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses on tree

If you find any eggs, adults, or nymphs of the spotted lanternfly, you should destroy them and place them in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of them.  A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to

If you can’t take a specimen or a photograph, call the automated Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189 and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information. Click here to read the Dept. of Agriculture notice and to find more information. Do your part to help keep this invasive and destructive pest from spreading!

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