Welcome To April: The Riverguides’s Investigation Into Plastic Pollution In The Delaware River Continues!

We kicked off April with a Saturday community event at Lardners Point Park. These events are always open our friends, volunteers, community and all PWBF stakeholders. Come join us! Our next events will be in mid-June.

The April event took place in the shadow of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge arc, where several students led our volunteers in an effort to record data from the plastics they collected while participating in a shoreline cleanup.

The youth we work with often identify teaching others as a key way for them to cement their own skills, and understand their own styles of learning.  Our volunteers provide a collaborative audience for our Riverguides to engage with.  Thank-you PWBF volunteers!

Orquidea, Pineapple, Cashmere, and Alex talked about the effects that plastic pollution can have in aquatic environments, and that while part of the solution is to remove these pollutants from the water and its surrounding ecosystems, another crucial part is to get information from what we recover. The most common items we’ve consistently found included Styrofoam fragments, beverage bottles, and bottlecaps, and more analysis will come over the next few months as we begin moving into analysis. Once the spring trimester starts next week, we will allot some time to learning more about ways to make sense of our data, create visuals out of it, and make some cool maps to put some geographic context to the issue of plastic pollution in our local river. We’re excited for this next challenge, and want to thank 11th Hour Racing for their support of this project! In the meantime, we’ll leave you with some words from one of our amazing young people, who goes by Pineapple, speaking on how their journey learning about marine plastic pollution has helped her with teaching others about it.

“What I learn here I take out with me. So for example, something small like littering; before if I had a juice it was out the window, if I had a wrapper it was on the ground. But now when I’m out and I have trash…I know what happens to it. So when you put litter on the ground… it goes right out into our oceans and fresh water. So you are basically dirtying up our oceans and it can kill animals in the ocean, you know they can eat it, they can get caught in it… I didn’t know about this stuff so I didn’t care… So it’s nice to go out, like when we do river cleanups and we’re down at the river and strangers are like ‘well what do you guys do?’… and I inform them about water and how to keep it clean. I notice that most of the people we talk to are like ‘wow! That’s so good! I never knew that!’ so I feel like people aren’t doing it on purpose to hurt the environment, they just don’t know about it. So I feel like I am applying those skills to the community to inform them about what’s going on… and I enjoy doing that!”


Factory on Focus at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Please be our guests as we celebrate of the work of our teenage apprentices on Sunday March 3, 2017 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Our apprentices will be offering interactive drop-in workshops in wooden boat building, and showcasing Atlas, one of our student built Factory One Design sailboats.  Please click on the images below for more details.

Contact Nicole@woodenboatfactory with questions.

See you there!!!


Riverguides In Winter

The Riverguides kicked off 2016-2017 with a great first three months! We started off the fall spending every day on the river, first learning how to get our boats on the river and row, and working up to performing a water sampling protocol which involved net tows for plankton and microplastics, water collections for chemical analysis, seining, and land-based trash surveys. We also contributed data to the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, surveying the shores of Palmyra, NJ for mussels. As part of this project we learned how to identify different types of mussels, their roles in aquatic ecosystems, and went through dissections to see aspects of their anatomy. In November, we moved upstream from the Delaware River to one of its tributaries, Tacony Creek. Here we continued our water sampling regimen, and coordinated a cleanup of Tacony Creek with our neighbors, Tookany-Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, a conservation group serving our watershed and community! We also cannot forget about the work we did with the Delaware River City Corporation. Led by their project manager Jim Fries, we continued our work at Lardners Point Park, removing invasive plants while planting some native wetland species and breaking ground on a rain garden to be installed in spring.

In December we shifted our focus indoors to set up for a two-night event showcasing everything we had learned and done over the previous two months. Both our Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday cohorts decided on transforming the whole 2nd floor of the building into a Delaware River ecosystem to provide as close as possible an interactive exhibit. We opened up these exhibits to the community and showed our visitors everything we know about the Delaware River and its health. A popular activity included a guided rowing station combined with a sense of rowing through and among the litter in the river. Our students used this as an opportunity to talk about how litter gets to the river from land, the effects it has on the ecosystem, how they’ve been researching how much is in the water and on its shores, and what each of us can do to prevent litter from entering the river.

This trimester our focus remains for now indoors, and though it may be winter, we are definitely not dormant. We’ve been preparing ourselves to provide science activities and demonstrations that coordinate with middle school science curricula. We will eventually be taking these exhibits into different middle school classrooms to supplement what teachers are already teaching and show how science can be fun! We’re finding ways to link every one of our activities back to the Delaware River, its watershed, and boats, so that come spring we can invite these same students onto the river with us to experience the water up close!