Scrapbook Photo 01/24/21 - 6 Stories: What REAL Environmental Leadership Looks Like In PA:
The Power Of Seeds And Water To Connect People To Place-- Learn More About Becoming A Master Watershed Steward In Philadelphia At Feb. 19 Open House

Penn State Extension and the Philadelphia Water Department are hosting an online Open House on the Master Watershed Steward volunteer program in Philadelphia on February 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The Open House will introduce potential volunteers to the program, opportunities for service to the community and the upcoming Master Watershed Steward Training being held this spring.

Master Watershed Stewards volunteer to protect our environment, by:

-- Organizing educational events,  workshops, and community walks

-- Planting trees and restoring streams

-- Sampling water quality and

-- Monitoring wildlife

-- Hosting stream and trash clean-ups

-- Working towards clean waters and environmental justice

-- Designing demonstration rain gardens

-- And more!

Click Here to join the February 19 Open House online from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Click Here for more information on the Master Watershed Steward Program in Philadelphia. Questions should be directed to Mike Skuja by sending email to:

Want to see how someone like you got involved?  Read on....

The Power Of Seeds And Water To Connect People To Place

Keith Monahan remembers from an early age how gardens can transform a life. When he was 12 years old growing up near Collingswood, New Jersey he first started working in gardens.

This activity went hand in hand with composting, sparking a life-long passion for food, seeds, and sustainable natural systems.

Gardens also served as his home base for local volunteerism, leading him to work with Sustainable Collingswood, the Tri-County Sustainability Alliance, and the Oaklyn Green Team.

When Keith moved across the river to the Kingsessing neighborhood of Philadelphia, he took his Master Gardener’s hat with him and used his background and skills gained to work all over west and southwest Philadelphia.

Serving on Penn State Extension’s Master Gardener Speaker’s Bureau for Philadelphia County, Keith gets do his favorite thing in the world: speak to the public on the value of hyper-local access to food.

One of the key tenants to Penn State Extension’s work is co-creating with the community through collaboration, working in a specific area only if the community invites the expertise.

“But how are communities to even know what is out there in the Master Gardener world if there aren’t people doing outreach to spread the word?” Keith explained.

This is where the Speaker’s Bureau comes in; while some folks may shirk at the idea of public speaking, Keith sees it as a crucial component to growing Master Gardener programming and interest in urban agriculture.

He even has hopes for a mentor program where other Master Gardeners can shadow members of the Speaker’s Bureau on events and increase their own speaking abilities in service of public education.

Recently Keith entered Philadelphia’s first Master Watershed Steward training class and he is now the first dual appointment ‘Master Gardener-Master Watershed Steward’ in the County for Penn State Extension.

For him the journey of water has the same power as gardens to connect people to their locality, and this is partly why he entered the program.

Green stormwater infrastructure like bioswales serve as a poignant public awareness tool when they are placed correctly and educational opportunities for watersheds abound.

Goals for 2020 volunteerism in the ‘water world’ are many for Keith, but a pet project would be using a kayak or canoe to do an ‘on-the river’ cleanup in Philadelphia.

Penn State Extension is grateful for volunteers like Keith who champion the value for both horticulture and watershed conservation in public arenas.

We hope his long-term commitment through these two programming tools will inspire more Master Gardener and Master Watershed Stewards to come.

Master Watershed Stewards In Other Counties

Penn State Extension has information sessions coming up on the Master Watershed Steward Programs in other counties--

-- Cumberland County: January 14, 7:00 p.m. Click Here to RSVP

-- Cumberland County: January 28, 7:00 p.m. Click Here to RSVP

-- Dauphin County: January 14, 7:00 p.m. Click Here to register

-- Lancaster County: January 21, 7:00 p.m. Click Here to register

Don’t see your county?  The Master Watershed Steward Program is active in a growing number of counties, including-- Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Wyoming and York counties.

Contact them to find out more through your local Penn State Extension Office or learn more by visiting the Master Watershed Steward webpage.  Questions can be directed to Erin Frederick at 610-391-9840 or send email to:

Click Here to subscribe to a variety of Penn State Extension resources.

Other Volunteer Opportunities:

-- PA Master Naturalist Program

-- PA Trout Unlimited -- Coldwater Conservation Corps

-- PA Senior Environment Corps

-- Master Well Owner Network

-- Tree Tender Program -- Penn State Extension, Tree Pittsburgh, PA Horticultural Society

-- PA Parks & Forests Foundation - Volunteer, Friends Groups

-- Master Gardener Program

-- Master Food Preservers Program


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[Posted: January 14, 2020]


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