Mapping Our Watershed Culminating Celebration
Arts, Hosted By Friends of High School Park
Took place on Thursday, August 24th, 2023 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
High School Park
Montgomery Avenue and High School Road, Elkins Park, 19027
Mapping Our Watershed, a participatory art and community science project taking place in Cheltenham Township, will culminate with a free community celebration and pop-up art exhibition. Mapping Our Watershed is led by Elkins Park-based artist and educator Rebecca Schultz. The project aims to increase residents’ connection to, and understanding of, the complex and interconnected ecology of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed. The culminating event will be held on Thursday, August 24th from 5:30-7:30pm at High School Park, located at Montgomery Ave & High School Road in Elkins Park. Working in collaboration with the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF), the Cheltenham Center for the Arts (CCA), and the Friends of High School Park, Rebecca facilitated a series of free, family-friendly workshops. Three workshops were held at Township parks, incorporating community science and observational art activities; Rebecca was joined by TTF staff and scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania. At the other workshops, held at Cheltenham Center for the Arts and High School Park, participants made art inspired by water, soil, and plants, often using natural materials. At the same time, Rebecca visited locations in the watershed that are prone to flooding and created a series of mixed-media maps, incorporating visual data, soil, and plants. Rebecca is combining her map pieces and the art produced in the community workshops to create a large-scale work inspired by the watershed in Cheltenham Township. In a time of intensifying climate change—including heavier rainfall and increased flooding—projects that connect humans with the ecosystems around them are an important way to shift awareness towards environmental sustainability and resilience. The immediate, sensorial and visceral experiences of outdoor education and artmaking offer ways for people to reflect more deeply on their connection to, and dependence on, the living world.