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Our 2011 Riverbend Sponsors 

Many thanks to our 2011 Riverbend Sponsors!!

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Bryn Mawr Trust logo

Lisa & Jeffrey Thomas

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Gwen & Dennis Bianchi

Join Us! 


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.


Summer Exploration Camp  

Riverbend offers 11 weeks of Summer Exploration Camps for children ages 4 -14!  

For complete details about the weekly themes, prices, and registration, click here! 


Year-Round Camp   

Spring Break II 

From April 18 - April 22nd, your children can spend their Spring Break at Riverbend!  We will explore all that spring has to offer during this session of Year-Round Camp.   

To learn more or to register your child(ren), click here.  

Spring Session of Nature Club 


Our next session of Nature Club will begin on April 4th and run through May 23rd.  If you have a child ages 2-6 who can't get enough of the outdoors, a Nature Club session is sure to please! 

Check out our website for complete details! 


toads in spring


Around the 'Bend Quarterly Update

April 2011



A Message from the Director 


Spring is certainly a call to get outside and play, hike, dig in the garden, or just be. Here at Riverbend, we are enjoying the long-awaited signs of spring as we undertake many outdoor clean-up tasks. We look forward to the increasing activity here -- children arriving by the busload for field trips, families coming out for a nature hike on the weekends, and volunteer groups here to plant hundreds of trees and shrubs.

We are always striving to preserve, protect, and enhance our outdoor classroom. Our conservation goals include improving the overall ecology of our land, reversing the damage caused by invasive plants, and over browse by white-tailed deer.  Our most significant improvement we have made to date is the new Alec Williamson Bird Observation Area. The finishing touch was made last summer with the addition of a handsome deck overlooking this beautiful native plant garden.

I am proud to annouBOAnce that this project will receive Lower Merion Township's 2011 "Go for the Green" Award for an organization. These awards are sponsored by the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and highlight environmental achievements located in the Township or Narberth Borough and recognize residents, businesses, organizations. The bird observation area demonstrates several environmental and educational accomplishments: restoration of the land from the negative effects of erosion and invasive plants; demonstration of multiple storm water mitigation strategies including a rain barrel, ephemeral pool, and pond; and provision of an interactive, immersive educational tool that engages children's minds and senses through direct interaction with and observation of the natural world.

Of significance, this beautiful interpretative garden has about 118 species of native grasses, ferns, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees. We have a comprehensive plant guide on hand that identifies all the native species so you can learn about the diverse array of plant life this special garden features. The Alec Williamson Bird Observation Ares is a delight to enjoy for a stroll, bird watching, or exploration with a child in your life.

Wishing you a wonderful spring!

Laurie Bachman
Executive Director

A Head Start on Connecting to Nature


Typically, winter is a quiet time at Riverbend...time to plan for the year ahead and catch up on things that were pushed down the list during the busy seasons.  However, this winter was very different.  Thanks to the generous support of Centocor Ortho Biotech, we were busy providing Riverbend on the Road programs for pre-school students at Head Start centers throughout Philadelphia.  This program, an expansion of our successful Outreach to Children/Access to Nature program, provided a four-part series on the animal kingdom to eight Head Start centers.  Once each week for four weeks, educators brought live animals, artifacts, and science fun to students. The topics included mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, and insects and invertebrates.  In all, we served 467 pre-school students this winter.

Centocor Ortho Biotech has been a long-time supporter of Riverbend's Outreach to Children/Access to Nature program in Norristown, and we are very thankful for their support of this new opportunity.

Tree Huggers Needed 


Thanks to a TreeVitalize grant, Riverbend will be planting several hundred trees and plants this year as part of our habitat restoration program.  Trees are critical to the health of the habitat at Riverbend.  Our trees manage stormwater, reduce erosion, protect and enhance the quality of the air and water on the property, provide food and shelter for wildlife, and make this place beautiful!

tree plantingWe need your help to make this transformation happen! We are looking for trained and untrained volunteers to help us plant trees this spring and fall.  There will be opportunities for one-day events as well as ongoing projects. If you are interested in helping us plant trees, please let us know. 

We are also interested in organizing a group of volunteers to start a Riverbend Tree Tenders Group.  Tree Tenders will participate in the 12-hour training program sponsored by the PA Horticultural Society.  Training will be offered in several locations this spring and fall.   Click here for more information about the training program or to sign up for training.

Jeanne Angell will be coordinating the tree planting effort and the Tree Tenders program at Riverbend.  Contact her at  if you would like to help out.

Have other skills you want to share?  To see the many varied volunteer opportunities available at Riverbend, visit the volunteer page of our website.


Ideas for Connecting Kids with Nature 


"Children have a natural affinity towards nature. Dirt, water, plants, and small animals attract and hold children's attention for hours, days, even a lifetime."

--Robin C. Moore and Herb H Wong

It's been a long, snowy winter, but we've finally rounded the corner, and spring is here.  In another week or so, the temperatures will be creeping up, and everyone will want to be outside enjoying the warmer weather. Spring is an exciting time to explore and discover in nature so we thought it was a good time to share just a few ideas that will help you foster a curiosity and sense of wonder in the young children in your life.

Keep in mind a few ground rules:
-    Be a Role Model: Show enthusiasm and interest in their explorations. Refrain form negative reactions if they get dirty or wet or touch a bug. Encourage imagination and creativity.
-    Make it Fun.  Add a few "tools," such as magnifying glasses, binoculars, and flashlights for night exploration, and suddenly, nature is a playground to discover! 

Things to do with young children:girl with magnifying glass
-    Look for signs of spring - budding trees and shrubs, animal, and bird tracks.
-    Lie down under a tree and look up through the branches. Listen to the sounds of nature.
-    Go on "theme walks" - color, bug, flower, animal, or other signs of spring.
-    Take a sock hike. Wear heavy socks over shoes and go for a walk - look at all the leaves and twigs you take home.
-    Watch worms in action. After a rain, look for worms on your driveway or sidewalk. Let your child gently pick them up and carry them back to a grassy area.
-    Provide a place for your child to dig in the dirt and play with water and shovels to make mud pies.
-    Play a game of alphabet scavenger hunt.
-    Fly a kite! 

Recommended books for children under 5 years of age:
Children of the Earth . . .Remember by Schim Schimmel
The Flower Fairy Books by Cicely Mary Barker
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor

Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

Box Turtle at Long Pond by William T. George

In a Nutshell  by Joseph Anthony

Flute's Journey by Lynne Cherry

* A special thanks to Children, Nature and You for some fun ideas and the book list.
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