Turtle News – April 2020 Many Ways to Stay Connected

by Alexis Franklin

CoVid-19 Bench


Over the past few weeks, our country, state and city have monitored the Covid-19 pandemic.  This has been an unstable situation where we are learning new things each day. As of Now, the Friends of McMichael Park have planned a number of upcoming events which we sincerely hope can go on.  However, cancellations may occur as this health crisis unfolds.  Please stay connected to our various sites and The Friends of McMichael Park will keep everyone updated. 
          -Love Your Park:  To date, Love Your Park week is still on as planned: May 9th -17th.  Our McMichael Park is registered. How would you like to help? Send me an email and let me know what you can do.  Volunteering is free!  AND AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE IN OUR COMMUNITY!  Lexy3904@gmail.com
     -Not available May 9-17th? Other days can be added for various projects which we can gladly provide assignments based on your availability. There are many projects on the schedule and the Friends of McMichael Park openly and transparently allow for participation in any and all projects.  Lexy3904@gmail.com
    -Shakespeare Live is planned for June 2020.  This summer, we are please to present a new production company, ShakespeareNJ.  This summer’s performance will be something appropriate and timely; a new production especially for us of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar.” Dates are set for Tuesday June 2nd with a rain date of Thursday, June 4th. (please note this is earlier than prior years so save the date.) This Shakespeare Live performance should run approximately 70 minutes and will be followed by a post-show discussion with the cast!  As we have invited everyone in the past 12 years, open air theatre, free, of course, and we encourage picnics and lawn chairs. This is the most popular of William Shakespeare’s plays  and suitable for the entire family. The Friends of McMichael Park proudly sponsor our 13th summer of free theater in McMichael Park. Thanks to FOMP/Bill Hoffner for his efforts to get this production in McMichael Park. 
     –Parks on Tap will be returning to McMichael Park in August 2020. Parks on Tap is Philadelphia’s traveling beer garden that gives back! With a partnership between Philadelphia Parks & RecreationFairmount Park Conservancy, and FCM Hospitality, Parks on Tap brings a beer garden to various parks throughout the city all summer long. Each location provides fresh food, beers on tap, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages in a festive outdoor environment with comfortable chairs, hammocks, and clean restrooms. Parks on Tap is family-friendly. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Parks on Tap kicked off in 2016 as a way to engage the Philadelphia community and give back to the neighborhood parks. A portion of all proceeds are donated to The Friends of McMichael Park to help restore and maintain our open green space.

Here are Thirteen additional ways to stay connected with McMichael Park and beyond: 

1. We have a BRAND NEW blog called McMichael Park Turtle Friends  – https://mcmichaelparkturtlefriends.com/ – Highlighting our 30 years of volunteering in McMichael Park. #FOMP30

2. Check out all updates on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfMcmichaelPark/Click Here

3.  Or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/friendsofmcmichael/?utm_source=ig_embedClick Here

4. Take a walk: Research shows that spending 20 minutes in nature can reduce stress levels. Enjoy the fresh air in your park! (Please note that Philadelphia Public Playgrounds and basketball courts are closed as of March 25th.) 

5.  Take note of your favorite nearby tree. Download the iNaturalist app and start to identify the plants and wildlife in your community! 

6.  Accepting Proposals!  Philadelphia’s community-based groups embarking on creative projects & activities that are free and open to the public are invited to apply for grants through our Creative Avenues initiative. Deadline is Friday, April10th –  http://creativephl.org/ca/

7. Explore a fun, interactive map for kids on different cool trees around the world.

8. Learn about a project in Jersey City where participants tweet for the trees for the trees have no phones.

9. Learn about the life of a tree alongside the young people in your life.

10. Watch the documentary Symphony of the Soil on Kanopy (a free movie watching service for all Free Library card holders).

11. Read or listen to Ecologist David Haskell tell the story of smells from eleven trees.

12. Watch live streams of the animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the Osprey Cam from San Francisco Bay.

13. From the Philadelphia Park Alliance/Alex Doty: Think of your favorite park. What is your favorite thing to do there? Now write it down on our new Parks and Rec Defender shield

When you’ve printed out the shield and added your favorite park and activity (feel free to add some art), please post on social media with the hashtag #PPRDefenders. Be sure to tag Parks Alliance, City Council, your Councilperson, and anyone else you would like to know how much you love your park. You can also send any pictures to photos@philaparks.org or text them to 267-404-3010.

When you share this, you are letting City Council know how important your parks and rec centers are to you and to your community.

Be Safe in McMichael Park Practice Social Distancing aka Social Caring

Turtle News – March 2020 “Where’s the Batter?”


“Where’s the Batter?” 

by Alexis Franklin / Coordinator Friends of McMichael Park (1990-2020)

As The Friends of McMichael Park celebrate 30  years of volunteering, we look ahead to additional volunteer participation in our neighborhood during the 2020 calendar year and beyond.

Maintaining the Park has been a labor of love for The FOMP community members, and our efforts over 30 years at rehabilitating and maintaining a pristine green park in Philadelphia have obviously brought McMichael Park to the attention of all levels of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the greater City of Philadelphia. 

Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell and Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. are now completely committed to building a playground in the park, an endeavor that would never have been initiated had McMichael Park not been elevated to the status and outstanding condition it has achieved. All solely and diligently thanks to The FOMP group. 

McMichael Park exists because of the volunteer commitments of the members in The FOMP group.  It has been restored to its original design and has become a respite from city strife and the core and epicenter of neighborhood activities. Noticeably absent from volunteer activities are those individuals who support a playground. The FOMP has always and regularly promoted open meetings, service days, theater, children’s events and clean-up activities. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited to participate. 

The volunteer events hosted by The FOMP are open to all, and are always prominently advertised as such. The FOMP has made multiple attempts to include playground supporters in volunteer events, but the loose assemblage of individuals have not participated, or moved away.  Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has been unable to provide a local point of contact for this group. 

This is very disconcerting.

It not only speaks volumes to the commitment level of these neighbors, but also because Commissioner Ott Lovell in her presentation at a recent neighborhood East Falls Community Council meeting in January stated: “You must be committed 100 percent. So ‘batter up’ and participate.”

Where is the batter?

As much as The FOMP has sought to include playground supporters in volunteer activities, this group has consistently and repeatedly failed to show up to help.  “Where is the batter?” is an oxymoron for this group.

They are not even in the ballpark.

The FOMP has hosted between five to seven volunteer events on an annual basis. These include the popular Lovelights — the annual fundraiser now in its 21st year. An event that sees The FOMP group light the Anniversary Tree in a spectacular array of red lights for Valentine’s Day. There are multiple park cleanups, bench paintings, summer story readings for children, the annual Shakespeare in the Park theater performance, pet adoptions, and summer movie nights.   

These events take time, talent, energy and money. 

The FOMP estimates that in its 30 year history it has invested the equivalent of $1.5 million USD in time, talent and energy; volunteer work in lieu of compensation, like kind contributions of sweat and creativity. In addition, The FOMP members have donated thousands of dollars consistently and without reservation to the upkeep of the park. 

The FOMP has a 30-year history of not only “stepping up to the plate,” but “knocking it out of the park” with our volunteer events, every time at bat. The Commissioner was not referring to the existing Friends of McMichael Park!

The East Falls Community Council measures support for the  playground by the clapping of hands at their meetings. This is not a popularity contest. Who from that group is stepping up to the plate?  Who is in the dugout?

The FOMP group, most recently stepped up to the plate again for the upcoming Lovelights celebration on February 14, 2020 (Valentine’s Day) and they are planning Love Your Park Activities  for May/June 2020.

Again, we look forward to your participation and invite you to get in the game. 

Visit the Friends of McMichael Park page on Facebook to keep track all upcoming events in McMichael Park: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfMcmichaelPark/

As part of our Thirty year celebration: please connect with our page highlighting our individuals with reflections from our humble beginnings. #FOMP30  https://mcmichaelparkturtlefriends.com/
Save the Date! Love Your Park Week
May 9 – 17, 2020
Love Light/2020 Volunteers raised $1200.00 with generous donations from our community.(l-r) Peter Logan, Christina Kistler, Robert Robinowitz, Alexis Franklin, Beth Gross-Eskin and John-david Franklin
Love Your Park starts planing now!
Mark your calendars as events are starting in McMichael Park during this year’s Love Your Park Week! Need some inspiration? Check out past events here that were held in McMichael Park and other parks.  Stay tune for more information to follow in the coming month. 

Registration for Park Friends will open on March 2nd.

Please join in for the next PFN meeting on March 11th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, 100 N. Horticultural Dr (click here for map). As always, up to three members of your Friends Group are invited to attend! If interested in attending…Contact Alexis Franklin: Lexy3904@gmail.com

We will be serving dinner at 5:30 and start the meeting promptly at 6:00, covering several important topics, including:Love Your Park Week | May 9 – 17!PFN Registration 2020 RecapPreview of new Love Your Park WebsitePark Friends Activity Report raffle*We will provide a free shuttle to the Horticulture Center, leaving from 1515 Arch Street at 5:15pm and returning to the same location afterwards.
WHEN 

Wednesday, March 11th
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

WHERE
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
100 N. Horticultural Dr 
Philadelphia, PA 19131

Amazing Friends of McMichael Park volunteer: Geoff Brock

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?
Sense of community.  Interacting with my neighbors. Seeing results as the condition and beauty of the park continued to improve.
What volunteer moment are you most proud of?
Keeping Alexis from murdering Mike DiBerardinis, then Recreation Commissioner, even though he deserved it.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?
Aside from getting older, none.  But we do need more young folks to receive the torch.  Those that come out now are an encouragement.
How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?
Since the 1980s.  This is our community.  While the City has responsibility for it, we know that for many reasons, the City will not provide satisfactory services for maintaining this space.  The photos I took in 1984 convincingly make this point.  Nothing is sustainable without on-going commitment of creativity, materials and labor.  This is what we, together, bring to this park.  I occasionally look at the old photos and get encouraged by the current condition of the park.  There’s still more to do, though.
What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?
First, go into the park often and enjoy it. Communicate with each other about what you see.  This could be something positive you wish to share or a sprig of poison ivy that needs to be pulled out.  Get on the social media sites for the park.  Back when the park was somewhat of an unmaintained hell hole, people tended not to go in there. Consequently, it attracted dumping, sketchy characters (including a murder), etc.  With community members regularly in the park, it tends to discourage abuse.  And while you’re there, feel free to pick up a few fallen branches and place them by a trash can.  

McMichael Park – 1984. Grass was sky high. The bushes around the War Memorial required the FOMP volunteers to prune and maintain annually. Eventually they were removed.

Geoff continues to volunteer in McMichael Park.  Photo from Spring/2019 Love Your Park Service Day.
McMichael Park – 1984. Trash cans were overflowing which attracted rodents. The FOMP pruned all trees twenty feet from the base for safety reasons. Park usage increased as the Friends continued to maintain.

Turtle News – December 2019

Celebrating 2019: Another year of open green space, volunteering and making the year an important part of so many memorable gatherings. Happy 90th Birthday McMichael Park.We’re looking ahead to 2020!

Tree planting with Girl Scouts.JPG
Love Your Park – Fall 2019
Planting of the Redbud LYP 2019.jpg
Love Your Park – Spring 2019:

We look ahead to a new decade!  The 30th anniversary  celebration of the Friends of McMichael Park. But for a moment: Imagine it is 1990 and a small flyer posted in McMichael Park states that the Turtle “needs a friend.” If interested come to our first meeting.  No internet.  No mailing. No East Falls newspaper.  And, 95 friends and neighbors showed up! All recognized that McMichael Park needed attention.  The grass was sky high.  The trash cans were overflowing.  There were sofas and car tires dumped throughout the park.  You could not see the Turtle from the street. If you dared walk through the park the needles and drug paraphernalia were everywhere.  The Friends of McMichael Park (FOMP) received their first donation of $10.00 at that meeting from David Kurtz.   A bank account was opened.  Other donations started to come in.  Volunteers came to the park with lawn mowers and pruners, rakes and shovels.  This is how the FOMP began.  The transformation of McMichael Park did not take thirty years and it did not happen over night.  Some of those initial volunteers are still committed to maintaining McMichael Park.  Watch our Facebook page as we highlight our various volunteers over the past thirty years. Join the conversation on Facebook.  FOMP Click here.

Volunteers rock:anniversary tree McMichael.JPG
Volunteer tree and garden bed celebrating the anniversaries of The Friends of McMichael Park and East Falls Tree Tenders. 

 
 Rewind &  Recap 2019: We planned these events:  -Pop-up-Play, Annual Pet Adoption, Movie Night of “Moana,” Story time with Falls of Schuylkill Library, Qigong, Parks on Tap, Memorial Day Celebration, Annual Community Hymn Sings, Annual Summer Free Theater, the Dog Pack of East Falls commences their walks, EF Flea Market

Fundraising and Grant Writing:  Both the Lovelights and Parks on Tap brought in over $1,700.00 for McMichael Park.  Activity Grants from Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and Program Grants from PP&R brought in an additional $2,000.00.  Pride chairs were also donated to McMichael Park by a generous neighbor. Maintenance: -Love Your Park:  Two organized service days in McMichael Park for spring and fall.  Over 30 volunteers at each.  Trees planted.  Garden beds cleared and mulched.  Spring bulbs planted. Hundreds of brown debris bags filled!

Maintenance: -Love Your Park:  Two organized service days in McMichael Park for spring and fall.  Over 30 volunteers at each.  Trees planted.  Garden beds cleared and mulched.  Spring bulbs planted. Hundreds of brown debris bags filled!

Entrance Signs & Beds:  Thanks to our FOMP volunteers who adopted the garden beds at our entrances.  Beth Gross-Eskin (Henry & Midvale) Deborah Thorp (Henry & Coulter), Rob Rabinowitz (W. Coulter & McMichael) and Christina Kistler (Winder garden at McMichael & Midvale)  

Doggie Bags:  Funded, restocked and reordered by FOMP volunteers Logan/McCoy. 

 –Continued Stormwater runoff:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/gedDr11mW2HKNsrDA  We hope to resolve this problem with funding through Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. 

Turf Work:  PP&R was able to get to 70 percent of the turf restoration in McMichael Park this past fall.   Thirty percent still to be tended which is on the Henry Avenue side of McMichael Park.  Their plan is to return in the spring 2020 and finish the aeration/seeding and top soil.  

Power Corp volunteers did an end of the year tree mulching project organized by Jason Mifflin of PP&R.

Friends enjoying nature (1).JPG
Nature inspires curiosity
Donaghy family.JPG
Family Reunions
Story time with Ms Meredith in McMichael Park 2019.jpg
Summer Story Hour coordinated with the Falls of Schuylkill Library
Pet Adoption (1).jpg
Annual Pet Adoption organized with FOMP volunteer Mike Andrews and Benny!
image004.jpg

The annual meeting of the Friends of McMichael Park will be on Tuesday, January 7th at 6:30 pm at the Falls Presbyterian Church (lower level)Meeting is open to all.  Let us know if you can attend.  rsvp: Lexy3904@gmail.com


Happy New Year! Welcome to the ’20’s! In this age of misinformation and consternation, shouldn’t it be easier “bein’ green?”

THE FRIENDS OF MCMICHAEL PARK: MAKING A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO OUR COMMUNITY