The Woodlands closing gates this Tuesday for Spotted Lanternfly management

June 24, 2019

                     Spotted Lanternfly

The Woodlands Cemetery will be closed all day tomorrow, Tuesday, June 25 for tree work related to spotted lanternfly management. The USDA will be on the grounds performing the work.

Despite the gates being closed, The Woodlands staff will be in the office on Tuesday, so if anyone is visiting family buried there, please call 215-386-2181 for assistance.

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species native to East Asia. It causes serious damage to trees. It was found in Pennsylvania in 2014, and has since spread to 14 counties, including Philadelphia. These 14 counties are now quarantined to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. A few adult lanternflies were spotted at The Woodlands last summer, according to executive director Jessica Baumert, and nymphs were spotted this summer.

For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly and what to do if you spot it, check out this Spotted Lanternfly Alert.

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Nature Nights at The Woodlands kick off this Friday with Firefly Night

June 20, 2019

Nature Nights, the annual family-friendly event, is returning this week to The Woodlands. The first event in the popular series, Firefly Night, will be held Friday, June 21, to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

The night surely promises to be entertaining: you not only get a chance to spend time at the historic cemetery grounds after dark and watch for fireflies, but you can also enjoy ballet and acrobatic performances.

BalletX will be kicking off the evening at 6:30 p.m., and Tangle Movement Arts will follow them up with a firefly inspired aerial performance around 7:30 p.m. Sweet treats will be served by Lil Pop Shop. Also, don’t forget to pack a picnic and a flashlight!  Continue Reading

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‘Tide Field’ and ‘River Rooms’ help us ‘read’ the Schuylkill River

June 29, 2018

Artist Stacy Levy hopes that while you’re sweating the lack of parking spots or that missed bus, you will sit for a beat to notice the massive natural force that’s as big as the moon, the sun and the sea, unfolding daily in your midst.

Her installations, “Tide Field” and “River Rooms,” aim to help Philadelphians to connect to the tides that push water up and down Schuylkill River every day.

You may have noticed the clusters of buoys near the boardwalk along the river, near the Art Museum or at Bartram’s Garden. Those are part of “Tide Field.” The basic idea is to show you the tide, that mostly invisible rise and fall of the river that brings the forces of the sun and moon on the ocean into the city every day. The Schuylkill’s tide changes up to six feet daily.  Continue Reading

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Nature Nights kick off Thursday at The Woodlands

June 19, 2018

Folks of all ages are invited to The Woodlands at 40th and Woodland to celebrate the official start of the summer. The annual Nature Nights series will kick off this Thursday (June 21) with a Firefly Night. The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. and will include some educational and fun activities.

This is a chance to spend some after-dark time inside the gates learning more about this important urban ecosystem and the creatures who call it home. Tangle Movement Arts will return to the Woodlands with their firefly inspired aerial performance. Snacks will be served by local Lil Pop Shop.

The event is free and open to all, just bring your flashlights pack a picnic and  The performance by Tangle Movement Arts will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Stay tuned for information on more Nature Nights in July and August.

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Birding zine release party, urban wildlife walk this week at The Woodlands

May 21, 2018

If you dig birds, here’s some good news. Local birder Victoria Sindlinger and illustrator Jess Ruggierio have teamed up with The Woodlands to develop a guide to birds at the cemetery. And it’s a zine!

A release part for the Guide to Birding at The Woodlands is scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at The Woodlands (40th and Woodland). The zine will be available for sale at the event. Sindlinger will also be hosting bird walks at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

A few days later, on Saturday, May 26, The Woodlands is hosting an “Urban Wildlife Walk.” This includes birds, snakes, salamanders and other critters that call The Woodlands home. It gets underway at 7:30 a.m. rain or shine and is “pay what you wish.”

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Mussels in the Schuylkill? Local organizations to establish Aquatic Research and Restoration Center

April 11, 2018

Photo via

A species in decline, the once-abundant North American freshwater mussel is one of the bedrock animals of our local aquatic ecosystem. Last year, a combination art exhibit, educational facility and working mussel hatchery opened at the Fairmount Water Works. Building on the success of the hatchery, several prominent local organizations including the City of Philadelphia, Bartram’s Garden, The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Drexel University and the Independence Seaport Museum are joining forces to establish an Aquatic Research and Restoration Center (ARRC). 

The Center will be dedicated to the restoration of local aquatic ecosystems in general, and specifically the reintroduction of freshwater mussels and river shad (a kind of herring) to the Delaware Estuary, including our own Schuylkill River. Why shad? Mussels require shad and other host fish in order to breed. Though the shad don’t get anything out of it, we do: Mussels are filter-feeders, and a single mussel can filter waste out of enough drinking water for anywhere from a dozen to two dozen people a day. Considering that the source of Philadelphia’s drinking water is the Schuylkill, which is also where local sewage treatment plants dump their treated effluent, more mussels and therefore more filtration seems like a pretty good idea.

The ARRC program kicks off May 3rd at the Fairmount Water Works (640 Water Works Drive) when a memorandum for the development of the ARRC will be signed.

Mike VanHelder

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