2021 is the Year of Water at Awbury!


In recognition of our pond and wetlands renovation, we have declared 2021 the Year of Water at Awbury Arboretum.  Water is fundamental to existence, from providing drinking water to a city of over 1.5 million people to supporting the growth of an oak tree from a seed. It is without doubt a life-sustaining, precious resource.


If you have visited Awbury’s watercourse area, which is located on both sides of  Washington Avenue, you will know that it is one of the Arboretum’s ecological highlights. It includes a stream that is the last remaining above-ground portion of the Wingohocking Creek in Philadelphia.  In 1919, the Cope Family hired landscape architect Arthur Cowell to design two ponds and a bog, and today the watercourse includes a healthy stream, a Spring House, walking paths, picnic tables, two ponds and charming stone walls and bridges to cross the stream.

The completion of this much-awaited renovation is certainly cause for celebration. The area had been in a state of disrepair for many years, and we are now hopeful that our ponds will once again host turtles, frogs, waterfowl, fish, and innumerable aquatic invertebrates as they have in the past.  With the removal of invasive plants and the planting of natives, our riparian buffer can again support the health of our watercourse.

Fittingly, our first event related to the Year of Water will be the initiation of a Streamkeepers volunteer group. With the support of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc., we will train interested volunteers to monitor the water quality of our stream to help ensure that we maintain its health. No specific skills are required and the opportunity is open to both individuals and families. This will be the first monitoring project of the Wingohocking Creek in Philadelphia. Our data will be added to that being collected at 24 other sites along the watershed! 

Please check our weekly eblast and events page for other activities and events throughout the year. 

Year of Water Events:

❦  Saturday, March 20, 2021 – Streamkeepers Training

❦ Sunday, May 23, 2021 – Awbury al Fresco, honoring Julie Slavet


Past years:

2020 – the Year of Citizen Science

2019 – the Year of Natural Fibers

Corresponding article series: Awbury’s 2019 Series on Natural Fibers

2018 the Year of the Pollinator

Corresponding article series: Pollinators– from wasps to wind

2016 – Awbury Arboretum’s Centennial

Corresponding article series: The Country in the City: Natural History in Northwest Philadelphia