“Coming Soon to 56th Street”
This article appeared in the print edition of our special issue of the July Southwest Globe Times
Coming Soon to 56th Street
Have you heard? A new Ecosystems Education Center and Freshwater Mussel Hatchery will be built at Bartram’s Garden within the next few years.
Native freshwater mussels are not the kinds of mussels that we eat, but each adult mussel can filter up to 20 gallons of water per day while creating a nutrient-rich riverbed to help prevent erosion and support healthy conditions for other plants and animals. Thanks to regulations, scientific research, and dedicated residents throughout the region, rivers like the Schuylkill and the Delaware are now healthy enough to support a range of plants and animals, including native mussels. The new hatchery, led by Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, will raise up to 500,000 mussels per year to be restored throughout our local streams, wetlands, and waterways, where they can then use their natural filtering to help clean the water even further.
The adjacent Ecosystems Education Center will create a new home for hands-on, year-round learning, making, and sharing at Bartram’s Garden thanks to a teaching kitchen and flexible indoor and outdoor classroom spaces.
A collaborative team of local leaders, staff members, and Board members from both organizations selected the Philadelphia-based architecture firm WRT Design to design the new building. These initial renderings were shared at a public Zoom meeting on June 1 and will continue to be refined this year.