Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra A. McCarty joined students and members of the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools at Henry C. Lea Elementary on May 10 to celebrate five years of Green City, Clean Waters and the completion of a new schoolyard featuring three rain gardens, nearly two dozen new trees, and porous paving and play surfaces.
The green stormwater tools were funded largely through a $242,000 Stormwater Management Incentives Program (SMIP) grant from Philadelphia Water. (Read about the green infrastructure and the dedicated community members who made it happen in our blog about a volunteer planting day held in April.)
In addition to making Lea a greener, more vibrant place to learn and play, the green infrastructure tools manage over 58,000 gallons of stormwater runoff for every inch of rain that falls. The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by a play activity that highlighted the need to protect our rivers now and for future generations, and students held up a sign that read "Our Green School Yard Makes Otters Happy!"
Because Lea is located in the Schuylkill Watershed, area storm drains and sidewalks are marked with river otters to remind people that trash and pollution in the streets gets washed into the Schuylkill, were this video was filmed: