SPHS Arboretum won a $1000 grant at Stake #6

South Philadelphia High School Arboretum

1. Describe the project a STAKE Grant would help you accomplish (100 words):
A STAKE Grant would enable the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association to develop an arboretum on South Philadelphia High School’s campus. This arboretum would include native grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other perennial species, feature informational signage about these species and the wildlife they will attract, and provide seating for visitors. The signage will be researched and created by students and the arboretum will be open for the entire community to enjoy. By providing both an outdoor classroom and a unique urban park in a neighborhood lacking in both, this project can be a platform for future sustainable initiatives in our community.

2. How will you use the grant toward the realization of your project? $750 is your imaginary budget (50 words):
We will use $450 to purchase plants from local sources, such as Bartram’s Garden Nursery and small fencing to protect plants from foot traffic and dogs. The remaining $300 will go towards seating, to emphasize creating an inviting public space for the neighborhood.

3. A little about yourself and what led you to your current creative goals. This may include a previous project of yours, ways it both succeeded and failed (this can be entirely unrelated to your proposal) (100 words):
This project has grown from our continued success working with South Philadelphia High School – First, by creating an orchard and more recently by establishing a vegetable garden that has engaged students, teachers, staff and neighbors in the entire process. The overwhelming support of all parties involved has been very encouraging and has led us to this next project. After tree plantings and vegetable gardens, an arboretum open to the public filled with native plants to attract native wildlife is an ideal next step in empowering our community around sustainability and creating an inviting green space in our dense, urban neighborhood.

4. Why is this project important? How will it benefit the community? (100 words):
Neighbors who pass by our gardens continually remark on how happy they are to see some “green” in their community – such spaces are few and far between in our neighborhood. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response to the gardens, we believe an arboretum is an ideal way to connect our residents and the school community to their natural environment. An arboretum at this location is relevant and important because it will transform this highly urbanized area into an inviting public space that will create an opportunity for people to enjoy a slice of native natural oasis, right on Broad Street.