Local Ecologies

Mapping Our Watershed

Rebecca Schultz at Council Rock

Mapping Our Watershed is a participatory art and community science project that aims to connect residents with the complex ecology of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania. Mapping is about creating a visual representation of a place; it is also a process of documenting the relationships and experiences of that place. Local residents will map their experience of the watershed by learning about its interdependent elements and translating their impressions of those elements into art.

Many Cheltenham Township residents are impacted by flooding, which is increasing in a hotter and wetter climate. A healthy watershed is able to absorb more stormwater runoff; it also supports greater biodiversity, which is critically important for ecological resilience. Mapping Our Watershed offers an opportunity to learn about what makes a watershed healthy and what we can all do to make our community more sustainable.

For this project, I am collaborating with the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) and Cheltenham Center for the Arts, who are co-producing six free, family-friendly workshops, which will take place from May-July 2023. Three workshops will be outdoor experiences at locations throughout the Township incorporating community science and observational art activities; they will be co-led by scientists and educators from TTF, the Department of Earth & Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Patrick Center for Environmental Research at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Each will be followed by a workshop at Cheltenham Center for the Arts where participants will make art using natural materials. Art produced in the workshops will be incorporated into a large mixed media work representing the watershed, which will be displayed at a community celebration at High School Park in August 2023.

To learn more about the project, check out my blog

Register for Mapping Our Watershed Workshops!
~workshop descriptions in links~

The Qualities of Water
Saturday, May 6th, 2023, 10am-12pm
Rebecca Schultz and Ryan Neuman (TTF)
Ralph Morgan Park

Capturing Water–FULL!
Sunday, May 14th, 2023, 2-4:30pm
Rebecca Schultz
Cheltenham Center for the Arts, print studio

Life Beneath our Feet: Learning About Soil
Sunday, June 18th, 2023, 10am-12pm
Rebecca Schultz and Dr. Alain Plante (UPenn)
Renninger Park

The Art of Soil
Monday, June 26th, 2023, 6-8:30pm
Rebecca Schultz
Cheltenham Center for the Arts, painting studio

Plants in our Watershed
Saturday, July 8th, 2023, 10am-12pm
Rebecca Schultz, Gloria Avila, and Noelle Raezer (Academy of Natural Sciences)
Ethel Jordan Park

Printing with Plants
Wednesday, July 12th, 2023, 6pm-8:30pm
Rebecca Schultz
Cheltenham Center for the Arts, print studio



Exhibition information to be posted soon