Table of Contents 

Partners in Planting

Outreach to Children/Access to Nature: Summer Enrichment

A Special Camp for a
Special Camper 

Snappy the Snapping Turtle Visits Riverbend!

Quick Links

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 Camp
 for children ages 4 -14! 

Some weeks of camp still have availability.
 For more information on Summer Camp click here or Contact
David Lowe at


Join Us for Family


Friday, July 15th and 

Friday, Aug. 19th

This is the perfect opportunity for families with first time campers to try it out while still close to home.  All you need is a tent and sleeping bags. Riverbend provides the food, fire and staff to help you through the experience. 

Pre-registration is required. $80/Family (Non-member) $70/Family (Family and Individual Plus Member or higher) For more information contact Stacy at or call 610.527.5234 x108

Family Fun Nights at the Park with Riverbend


This summer, Riverbend will host a series of Family Fun Nights at parks throughout Lower Merion Township.  Each program will include live animals, nature exploration, scavenger hunts, and fun for the whole family. The fee is   $10/family.  Please pre-register with Stacy Carr-Poole at 610.527.5234 x108 or


Sat., 7/9, 6-7:30pm  

South Ardmore Park

Sat., 8/27, 6-7:30pm        
Penn Wynne Park

Sat., 9/24, 6-7:30pm         McMoran Park 

Volunteer at Riverbend

Volunteers are integral to our success. If you want to make a difference for children, the environment and your community, we have an opportunity for you to help. Hours are flexible depending on availability. To find the volunteer opportunity that's right for you, click on this link or call Jeanne Angell at 610.527.5234 

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Around the 'Bend Quarterly Update

June 2011


Growing Greener Children

A Message from the Executive Director 



 Park Prescriptions


 I am curious. Has your child's pediatrician ever prescribed a walk in the park to prevent (or treat) a health problem? It seems that the medical community is beginning to promote the health benefits of nature by encouraging their patients to take a hike!



Dr. Robert Zarr, president of the DC chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, was quoted in an article in the Washington Post last month that said "there
are valid reasons for prescribing nature." Dr. Zarr's top reasons are the increasingly common childhood maladies of asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and childhood obesity. In DC, they are even working to create a database and rating system for local parks that doctors can use to match the right parks to the right families.



We are very fortunate to have an abundance of parks in our local Lower Merion Township community and in the Greater Philadelphia region. As suburban and urban dwellers, our parks and open green spaces are essential to our health and well-being. Today, 82% of the United States population now resides in cities, a sharp contrast to our great grandparent's generation when 80% of the population lived in rural or small town communities. If we are to teach stewardship of our natural resources to our children we need to make it relevant to them. Nature in our urban and dense suburban communities needs to be conserved and cared for so it is connected to our day-to-day modern lifestyle.


Invest in you child's (and your own!) well-being by getting outside and taking a hike or nature walk often this summer. Riverbend offers a wonderful respite from our busy lives. I am reminded of it every day when I am greeted by the sounds of birds and the trickle of the stream that flows through our property. I am surrounded by lush greenery. I often walk slowly from the parking lot to my office to really take it all in and appreciate the feeling of peace and well-being this beautiful place provides. 







Laurie Bachman
Executive Director 







Partners in Planting


Thanks to a generous TreeVitalize grant, Riverbend planted more than 400 native trees and shrubs on the grounds this spring, as part of our habitat restoration program. Trees are critical to the health of the environment at Riverbend.  Our trees manage storm water, 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! 


Responding to an alarming trend of the loss of trees in Pennsylvania's metropolitan areas, TreeVitalize is a public-private partnership that helps restore tree cover, educates citizens about planting trees as an act of caring for our environment, and builds capacity among local governments to understand, protect and restore trees.


The grant that we received from TreeVitalize is for the riparian buffer for Saw Mill Run, which runs across and alongside Riverbend's property.  A riparian buffer is a vegetated area along a stream which helps to take up excess nutrients that would otherwise flow into a stream, and filters out pollutants before they reach the waterway.  Forested streams have been found to remove two to eight times more nitrogen pollution than non-forested segments.  The trees that we are planting this year will not only improve the health of our stream, but also improve the water quality in the entire region.

Our new trees, purchased with this TreeVitalize grant, are part of the Plant One Million campaign.  A regional partnership of many organizations led by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the campaign seeks to plant one million trees throughout 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The goal is to restore the "tree canopy cover"-the area of land shaded by trees-in the Greater Philadelphia Region to 30 percent.

A big thank you to our volunteers!  We could not have accomplished this massive effort without your help.  The tree planting is hard work - in addition to digging holes and planting the trees, the project requires carrying heavy pots of trees up and down a steep hillside.  Most of the tree planting was done by corporate groups coming in for service days, including Centocor Ortho Biotech, Exelon Corporation, PECO, Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP, the Philadelphia Bar Association, Shire Pharmaceuticals, and NBC-10.  We also hosted a Family Service day in May, where parents and children worked side by side planting trees.  In addition, students from The Shipley School, Friends' Central School, Harriton High School, and The Crefeld School assisted with tree planting. 


We will be planting several hundred more trees and shrubs at Riverbend this fall. Mark
your calendars - our fall Family Service Day will be held Sunday, October 23rd.  Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Jeanne Angell at
  if you have questions about our tree planting program or if you would like to help out.





Outreach to Children/Access to Nature: 

Summer Enrichment


Science can be fun in every season, which is why we are really looking forward to a week-long summer enrichment program with the students in the Norristown Area School District.  From July 18th to 22nd, 36 3rd and 4th grade students will venture out of Norristown for field trips all over the region, as they learn all about what it means to live in a sustainable way.  Topics will include alternative energy, waste management, community supported agriculture, and land restoration.  The program will also include an overnight camp-out at Riverbend and a community service project.  This week-long program is made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.


This program is a wonderful extension to the Outreach to Children/Access to Nature programs that take place in the fall and spring at each elementary school in the Norristown Area School District.  Over the past five years, Riverbend has raised over $150,000 to support and enrich the science curriculum of almost 5,000 3rd and 4th graders.  We are proud of this partnership and so excited to be able to continue to serve the students of Norristown.

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Shiverfest is 
growing! New this year is the Shiverfest Design Home Gala to be held on Saturday evening, October 1st at Philadelphia Magazine's Design Home 2011. You will enjoy an elegant evening in a stunning, 1931 Tudor home in Haverford, fully restored by Waverly Custom Homes and featuring a breathtaking family room and kitchen addition that overlooks a magnificent pool and outdoor living space. Please join us!

Encore Shiverfest activities include the fun-filled, Halloween-themed family event to be held on Saturday, October 1st from 4 to 9pm. This year promises to be better than ever with lots of great activities (some new and some traditional favorites) you won't want to miss. Save the date!


The Shiverfest Program Book is an opportunity for local businesses, schools and other organizations to reach Riverbend's mailing list of 1,500 local homes and businesses. The book features everything you need to know about the Shiverfest family event and fun activities for kids. Please advertise your business with us! 

Shiverfest is Riverbend's largest fundraising event of the year. Your support is most appreciated!



A Special Camp for a Special Camper

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Even though Isabel Regueiro is only seven years old, this year marked her fourth
year coming to Riverbend's summer camp. While we have many enthusiastic campers, it would be hard to find a camper who matches Isabel's love and enthusiasm for Riverbend. Each summer, Isabel and her parents come from their home in Colorado to Gladwyne to visit Isabel's grandfather for two weeks. Isabel will tell you it is her favorite part of the summer, and that Riverbend is hands down, her favorite camp. When asked what she loves most about camp, Isabel mentions hiking, staying late and having campfires, and of course, the snakes. Reggie, the boa is her favorite. "I would take him home with me if I could," she says. Her mom, Moira, says that Isabel has been to many camps, both in Colorado and Philadelphia, but Riverbend is special. "Isabel just adores the people here, and she has so much fun. We've tried lots of camps and no other camp even comes close to the experience Isabel has at Riverbend. She's always sad when we have to leave to return home." For her part, Isabel is looking forward to a long future at Riverbend. "When I grow up, I want to be a counselor here!"




Snappy the Snapping Turtle Visits Riverbend!

Riverbend's ponds are known for green frogs, tadpoles, water striders and other aquatic insects, but turtles are a very rare sight.  However, that is what we have been seeing lately in the small pond in our Alec Williamson Bird Observation Area.  In particular, we have been seeing a very small snapping turtle, measuring only about 3-4 inches in length.  Likely, it will only live in the pond for a short time.  Snapping turtles, in this case, the common snapping turtle, grow to be the largest freshwater turtles in the world, and our small pond will not be able to support the dietary needs of the turtle for long. 


The Chelydra serpentine, or common snapping turtle, in one of only two species of snapping turtles alive today.  The other is the alligator snapping turtle, however, these turtles are not found in our region.  Snapping turtles are aquatic turtles and can spend a great deal of time underwater.  They lay in the shallow waters of ponds, lakes and wetlands, stretching their neck up for occasional breathing.  It has been observed that snapping turtles can spend three to four hours continuously under water.

Common snapping turtles are omnivores, which means they feed on plants and animals.  In the case of the snapping turtle in our pond, it is most likely eating tadpoles, macro-invertebrates, and wonderful variety of native aquatic plants in the pond.   They have powerful jaws, and can inflict harmful bites.  It is always best to avoid handling snapping turtles as they are very aggressive, even one as small as ours.

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