May 13, 2010
toads in spring 
 Around the 'Bend
Quarterly Newsletter of
Riverbend Environmental Education Center
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  Growing Greener Children

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Time and Talents--
 a Thank You to our Volunteers

A healthy native ecosystem plays a vital role in providing the best possible educational experience for the school students and camp kids that come to Riverbend to learn about nature.
Unfortunately, invasive exotic plant species have taken a toll on Riverbend's habitat. Aggressive species such as Mile-a-Minute (Persciria perfoliatum) and 5-Leaf Akebia (Akebia quintata) have taken over large areas of our site and prevented native plants from flourishing. To combat this problem, we have instituted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) regimen to control the populations of these plants. 

The most vital component of our IPM program is our dedicated volunteers. Over the past several years, community volunteers have made it possible for us to make great strides forward in restoring the native habitat at Riverbend. This spring, we have had nearly 70 volunteers donate their time. These individuals have helped us plant 500 native trees and shrubs, removed over an acre's worth of invasive exotic plants, helped us maintain the Alec Williamson Bird Observation Area, and prepared the property for the spring and summer seasons. Their efforts represent nearly $5,000 of labor that has been donated to Riverbend. Without their help, none of this would be possible. 

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The entire staff at Riverbend would like to thank everyone that has come out and lent us a hand. We would also like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering to please contact Chris Wales, habitat manager, at 610.527.5234 x110 or There is much to accomplish this season, and we cannot do it without your help!  

Be Part of Friday Night Unplugged!

On Friday, June 4, Riverbend will host its annual fundraising event, Friday Night Unplugged at the Villanova School of Law.  It will be an evening of great music, amazing food, and a live auction.  Tickets are $150/pp, and corporate sponsorships are still available. 
Call Angie Maher at 610.527.5234 x104
 for details or to purchase tickets.

Thank you, Sponsors!

Riverbend would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the sponsors of
Friday Night Unplugged on
 June 4th.

peco logo

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Gwen & Dennis Bianchi
Beverly & Lu Galloway
Jeffrey & Christina Lurie
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F.L. Bissinger, Inc.
Jim & Doris Brogan
Bryce's Catering
Bryn Mawr Trust Company
Littleton Contractors
Nancy H. McCahan
Eric & Megan Milby
MINI of the Main Line
Mr. & Mrs. William B. Read, III
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph W. Rogers, Jr.
Shreiner Tree Care Specialists, Inc.
Waverly Real Estate Company
Lisa & Lars Williamson
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A Note from the Executive Director
Many people, including me, find spring to be their favorite season of the year. Perhaps this is because it follows winter, when I have spent too much time inside. If that is true, then this spring is especially sweet! I have thoroughly enjoyed all opportunities to be outside and have especially enjoyed observing our third grade school groups from Norristown Area School District learn about watersheds. It reminds me why all the meetings we have, grants we write, and other tasks we perform "behind the scenes" are so important.
Children learn from computers and books and in classrooms, but opportunities to explore nature and ecology in context, guided by an expert on the subject, can leave a lasting and meaningful impression. Often, it is the unexpected discovery in nature that makes the experience memorable and provides the opportunity for the educator to seize a "teachable moment." I recently read a research article
on real vs. virtual field trips.
Author Maria C.R. Harrington states:

"If a community is fortunate enough to have school science programs that incorporate natural and local resources into the curriculum, those experiences can become personally meaningful to students. These events can become powerful learning experiences, part of the children's information and ecological knowledge base. A science lesson in the field can empower a child to know more about the plants, animals, and interacting dynamics found, for instance, in their local parks. These 'backyards' then become rich in information, to be shared with friends and family afterward; moreover, they may provide important access points for the creation and development of 'islands of expertise' particularly in science."
Thanks to the expertise provided by our talented education staff, I am certain that the children lucky enough to enjoy a "real" fieldtrip this spring will create some great memories and learn a lot, too!
I would also like to publically welcome our newest staff member, Angie
Maher. On board for just over a month, Angie is our development and marketing manager. She brings many years of non-profit marketing expertise, a talent for "getting things done," and has quickly become part of the "Riverbend family." We are happy she is here!
Lastly, I invite you to join us on June 4th for our annual fundraising party, Friday Night Unplugged. If you did not receive an invitation in the mail and would like to find out more, please click here. Villanova University will be recognized as our 2010 Environmental Leadership Award recipient, and the evening promises to be fun, delicious and beautiful, as it is being held in Villanova's spectacular, brand new L.E.E.D. certified School of Law. And don't forget, this is a party with a purpose! All proceeds help make it possible for Riverbend to bring powerful environmental education programs to children. I hope you will join us!
With sincere regards,
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Laurie Bachman, Executive Director
May Connects Thousands of
Children to Nature
May is a magical time at Riverbend.  Each day brings busloads of excited children to discover and learn about the natural world.  The ponds are full of tadpoles; there are toads in springplenty of bugs to be found; and of course, the stream is the perfect place to splash and explore.  This May, about 2,500 students from over 30 local schools will enjoy a nature field trip. To help us handle all of these students, Riverbend has partnered with Natural Lands Trust and the Peace Palace Mission to provide two additional natural areas in Gladwyne for field trip destinations.  Students will be exploring the wonders of nature at Saunders Woods Preserve and the Woodmont Estate.  These two beautiful sites have allowed Riverbend to serve almost 1,000 more students than our site alone could handle.  Thanks to these wonderful partners for this great opportunity!
Stream Stomps, Bamboo Forest, Sharks and Minnows... Summer Camp is Almost Here!
Of all of the wonderful things that Riverbend has to offer, summer campers most often remember the stream, the Bamboo Forest, and playing games in our field, includingcamp walk Sharks and Minnows.  So, of course, all of these things are on the agenda for this summer as well, but they are just the beginning of the fun.  Campers will explore in our beautiful bird area, looking for birds and a wide diversity of insects.  Campers will discover frog metamorphosis by visiting our ponds and watching tadpoles grow into frogs and toads.  Campers will learn about the needs of living things, both plants and animals.  Campers will also gain a love of nature that will stay with them throughout their whole life.  
If you want your child to experience all of this, and so much more, consider signing them up for a week of summer camp this summer. Spaces are still available during most weeks.  For more information click here, or call David Lowe at
610-527-5234 x106.

Riverbend's New Deck
We are "under construction" here at Riverbend...and in a few more weeks, we will be enjoying a beautiful stone entry into and mahogany deck overlooking the Alec Williamson Bird Observation Area. Adjacent to the Snider Barn, this project reflects the culmination of efforts from many dedicated and generous individuals who have contributed to making this project a reality.
We are deeply indebted to Mr. Ed Snider, whose generous support of our Master Site Development plan projects has once again contributed to a most significant improvement to our site. In addition, this project would not have been possible without the leadership, expertise, and generous donations of time and other resources provided by our Property Committee. Special thanks to Wick Littleton of Littleton Contractors, Lisa Thomas of Glackin Thomas Panzak, Steve Shreiner of Shreiner Tree Care Specialists, Rob Lambert of Site Engineering Concepts, Michael Haines of Waverly Real Estate Company, Emily Crane of French and Crane Architects, and Fred Fromhold of Fromhold Jaffe & Adams. We would also like to thank Think Green for the design and a host of sub-contractors who turned it into reality. This deck is located within challenging site conditions and it required a lot of ingenuity, thoughtful problem solving and collective efforts to build this beautiful space. 
We are almost there!
Here is a picture of the deck progress.
new deck
We look forward to sharing photos of the finished product. Or better yet, stop by Riverbend and enjoy the view in person!
Our Mission:
Riverbend Environmental Education Center teaches environmental principles to children in southeastern Pennsylvania through a direct connection with nature, inspiring respect for our natural world and action as aware, responsible and caring citizens.
For more information about Riverbend and our many educational programs, please visit our website:  

Click here to make a donation to Riverbend!