Day 8: Friends of the Wissahickon tell us where the water goes…

Today’s reaction from passerby to YERT yelled at our car : “Yin’s terrorists?”

Before leaving Pittsburgh, we drove downtown for B-roll, then hit the Friends of the Wissahickon as the rain started down. The “friends” we spoke to were LOVELY and we suddenly wished that we had a few more days. We learned that the Wissahickon is a 1800+ acre bit of wilderness with the greater (?) Park, and that the Park itself was designed to protect Philadephians’ drinking water! Apparently, 30-40% of Philadelphia water comes from the aquifer beneath this park. The biggest problem the Park is experiencing, and the issue to which the most time is devoted, is the problem of flooding, and runoff into the Park’s valley, which drains into the aquifer below. The Park workers confirmed that in the last few years there have been many more heavy storms than in years past and feel strongly that evidence is pointing to climate change. In fact, there were 2 “hundred year floods” within 3 weeks of each other last March. The reason that flooding is so detrimental is that the Park drains into a basin, and all of the paved roads, driveways, concrete sidewalks, and manicured lawns provide basically a slide for the water to speed its way down the valley where the little basin cannot manage the chemicals/detriment that are being picked up along the way. Neighbors are being encouraged to consider planting their yards with native flora and fauna which might catch more of the rainwater and help ease the burden on the Wissahickon. But some people love their grass.

If only we had found them when we first got here!
sigh. it is hard to find everything on the internet. Seems like some of the very most interesting things we get from people that we meet once we’ve been in the city a little while…which doesn’t always leave us enough time to explore them before we leave.

As the sun got low in the sky, we repacked Rachel Carson, said goodbye to Meghan, Clara, and neighbor, Molly, and drive off for Media, PA, to find out what it means to be the “nation’s first fair trade town.” I will leave you to wait for the video to find that one out. 🙂

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