The Friends of Burlington Island was awarded funding to support an adventure in learning titled, “Where Does Trash Go in the Streets of a River Town?” Friends’ Trustee, Erica Shabert, a teacher and local Girl Scout leader, will utilize SWEP funding to identify, recruit, and support young women, 8th grade and older, who would most benefit from this experience.
During this intense, two-day excursion, participants will discover the science of water quality monitoring utilizing the island's 97- acre freshwater lake. They will learn to kayak, participate in a shoreline cleanup, hike the existing trails and witness many aspects of nature along the way. This will be a first for many of the girls who have never been on the lake or to the island. The Grants Committee is confident that the girls will come away with a renewed respect for the environment.
Get Fresh Daily (GFD) cultivates community wellbeing by integrating plant-based living experiences, farm fresh produce, and culturally empowering wellness education. GFD programs are based in West Philadelphia where the garden serves as a community connection in a neighborhood that has been deeply impacted by drug and alcohol use, gun violence and systemic racism; yet the neighborhood remains cohesive and home to multigenerational families.
GFD will utilize SWEP funding to support the launch of its “Growing + Glowing in the Garden After School Program.” This new program is an extension to their current Growing + Glowing Spring Camp for Girls where girls learn the basics of camping, engage in mindfulness experiences and acquire the skills to plant and tend a garden, all in preparation for the upcoming season. Funds will directly support staff fees and supplies for the after-school program.
West Mount Airy Neighbors (WMAN) is a member-supported, nonprofit civic organization that will use much-needed SWEP funding to reclaim and restore land at the Carpenter Lane Train Station. Adjacent to the regional rail line, this area has been turned over to WMAN’s stewardship. They plan to utilize the land to foster community engagement, education, biodiversity, and sustainable agro-ecology practices and will work with local schools/students, as well as other non-profit partners, to support and foster ecological literacy in the West Mt. Airy community.
Scholarship Winner: Christy Li, University of Delaware
Christy Li grew up in an area with the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay as her backyard. Her interest in watershed management was sparked by her concerns with toxic agricultural contaminants flowing through the watershed and into the Bay. She did extensive research as an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Earth Science and wrote in her SWEP scholarship essay about how this research led her to further studies and a career path in the environmental sciences. “The research I conducted as an undergraduate and working as a sustainable development intern raised my awareness of the threats to riverine systems and how to combat these environmental issues.”
The importance of Christy’s research is evident as written in a letter of recommendation from Professor Michael O’Neal of the University of Delaware. “Her research provides great insights into the nature and timing of anthropogenic alterations and contamination of our regional landscape, a topic of great importance that has proved difficult to evaluate.” Professor O’Neal further supported Christy’s application when he wrote, “Christy is, without a doubt, of the best Ph.D. candidates that I have encountered in my 17 years at the University of Delaware.” As with Zoe, Christy has a strong commitment to pursue her career goals and ends her application essay with this promise to us, “I am aspired to use my scientific knowledge and experience to assist water quality remediation in riverine systems and to educate the community regarding the toxic contaminants of regional rivers and their watersheds.” With support from SWEP, we have no doubt Christy will realize her aspirations.
Scholarship Winner: Zoe Kerrich, University of Pennsylvania
Zoe Kerrich’s goal is to pursue a career in environmental planning. She feels there is a strong connection between human welfare and environmental health and believes the thread that connects the two is linked by strong planning leadership. In her application essay she wrote, “Environmental planning provides a framework for tackling industrial legacies and environmental contamination to the benefit of both local communities and ecosystems.”
In a letter of recommendation, Zoe’s professor, Tom Daniels of the University of Pennsylvania, Weitzman School of Design, is certain Zoe will succeed on her career path and wrote, “She has the background, determination, and ability to become a true leader on environmental issues.” Zoe summed up her written essay with the following commitment, “It is clear to me from previous work and my current planning program that new solutions and approaches are needed now — and I am ready to take on that challenge.” After getting to know Zoe, the committee wholeheartedly agrees that she is ready to find solutions. We are confident this scholarship award will help her fulfill this commitment.
Odyssey Charter School’s Food Studies Program, guided by award-winning STEM teacher, Melissa Tracy, began implementing the Food Studies Career Pathway in 2019 where students enroll in programs that include Culture and Environment and the Hydroponic Learning Lab. Students consider why food matters and how they can act to support a healthier food system by participating in seeding, transplanting, harvesting, and distributing produce to be served in the school’s cafeteria as well as local communities. Annually, they grow and donate at least 3,000 pounds of leafy greens for people in need!
Get Fresh Daily will use grant funding to support a one-week camp for girls designed to “empower them with tools for self-awareness, confidence-building, self-care, and resiliency through deepened connections with nature”. Throughout the week, girls will discover the sustainable practice of using every part of a plant by participating in programming like DIY plant medicines and plant-based cooking classes. The girls will also be responsible for planning and tending the local garden.
SWEP GP awarded three Grants in 2021:
Grant Winner: Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
The Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, New Jersey was awarded $3,000. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of New Jersey’s wildlife and habitats through education, conservation, and rehabilitation. They educate 30,000 school children per year through field trips, school assemblies and scout programs. In addition to having trails, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge manages Pinelands habitat, and provides animal rehabilitation services. Their goal is to establish a “Girls and Wildlife” camp scholarship program that will support young girls that would otherwise not be able to attend camp. Young girls from underserved communities will have access to programs that satisfy young minds, expose them to STEM-based lessons related to wildlife and nature, and help to engage them in critical thinking, problem solving, and scientific discovery. The Scholarship program ensures that all students have equal access to high-quality educational opportunities that support and enhance their traditional education.
Grant Winner: Ursuline Academy
Ursuline Academy in Wilmington Delaware was awarded $1,000 to expand laboratory resources for environmental academic programs. Specifically, the grant will be used to purchase Finn Scientific Inquiry Lab Kits for the AP Environmental Science class that will introduce students to biological specimens in the lab while maintaining a population from which to generate specimens for study. Use of the lab kits nicely complements Ursuline’s participation in Delaware’s Adopt-a-Wetland program. Ursuline adopted Cool Spring Reservoir, which they not only help preserve but also use for educational purposes. Ursuline’s goals for the grant are to deliver an innovative and purposeful education within STEM fields and humanities.
Grant Winner: Camden City Garden Club
The Camden City Garden Club was awarded $500 in support of their Community Gardening Program and the Youth Empowering Watershed Education and Action Program, a part of the Youth Employment and Training Program. This program services adult area residents and at-risk, underserved youth. Fruits and vegetables grown at the garden benefit low-income/food insecure individuals and the Children’s Garden provides activities and educational program for children preschool age through 14. This grant will be used for youth education by pairing urban agriculture and environmental science instruction, and nutrition education with hands-on job skills training, employment, and open-ended staff support. Skills and knowledge gained through this valuable program facilitates graduation, post-secondary education and/or pursuit of employment and a practical route to autonomous adulthood.
SWEP GP awarded two scholarships in 2021:
Scholarship Winner: Nourhan Ibrahim, University of Pennsylvania
Nourhan Ibrahim was awarded a SWEP GP 2021 Graduate Scholarship for $3,000. Nourhan is a dual master’s degree candidate in Environmental Studies and Public Health. Prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania, Nourhan received her B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. She interned and completed her senior thesis at the Mpala Research Center in Laikipia, teaching primary and secondary school students about conservation issues. Nourhan served on the Board of the Princeton Conservation Society and completed a research project exploring the effects of pesticide use on crop yields and agriculture workers. She is working on her capstone project that explores sustainable food production and responsible management of pesticides. Nourhan hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy where she will strive to mitigate the impacts of environmental issues on community health. Her commitment to working intentionally, contributing something meaningful, and desire to break barriers and be a leader in this space is exemplary and inspiring.
Scholarship Winner: Anne Sharp, University of Pennsylvania
Anne Sharp was awarded a SWEP GP 2021 Graduate Scholarship for $3,000. Anne is a master’s degree candidate in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Sustainability at the University of Pennsylvania. Anne also received her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to taking graduate level classes, Anne works full time as an Administrative Associate at National Real Estate in Philadelphia. In her position she works with the Sustainability Committee to monitor and promote construction-related Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. Anne is also pursuing certifications in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and WELL Accredited Professional and is the Climate Leader Co-Chair at Penn where she oversees a board that connects climate-focused faculty, alumni, and students. Her goal is to broaden the sustainability efforts in her current position and create durable, joyful living spaces which encourage people to live in urban centers, combat suburban sprawl, and allow our natural areas and arable land to remain undisturbed. Additional experience in wildland firefighting, horticulture, and community gardening are commendable and further inform her studies and career aspirations.
Grant Winner (Watershed Institute):
We are pleased to announce that the Watershed Institute is one of the 2020 SWEP grant recipients! The Watershed Institute provides an educational program for female high school students that focuses on environmental advocacy, environmental field science, clean water, green architecture, stream science, and climate change. Through this program, the women will explore environmental careers alongside professors and professionals through hands-on activities while they engage in scientific techniques and conservation projects. SWEP is a proud sponsor of this amazing environmental program! Congratulations Watershed Institute!
Grant Winner (Odyssey Charter School):
We are pleased to announce that Odyssey Charter School is one of the 2020 SWEP grant recipients! Odyssey Charter School’s Girls Grow Greens (GGG) program provides K-12 students with hands-on and real-world opportunities to be environmental stewards of the planet and also explore how urban agriculture can be a viable solution for feeding an increasing global population. SWEP is a proud sponsor of this amazing environmental program! Congratulations Odyssey Charter School!
Grant Winner (John J. Tyler Arboretum):
We are pleased to announce that John J. Tyler Arboretum is one of the 2020 SWEP grant recipients! John J. Tyler Arboretum’s ‘Tylers’s Seeds of Knowledge Competition’ showcases environmental projects completed by female students in areas including soil conservation, water and energy conservation, and recycling. This competition is designed to inspire women and girls to pursue environmental careers by providing a platform to showcase their innovations and connect them to industry leaders. SWEP is a proud sponsor of this amazing environmental program! Congratulations John J. Tyler Arboretum!
Scholarship Winner (Ellen Heiman):
We are pleased to announce that Ellen Heiman is one of the 2020 SWEP scholarship recipients! At the University of Pennsylvania, Ellen is a Juris Doctorate (JD) candidate focusing on environmental law. She provides pro-bono work with the Youth Education Project, School Discipline Advocacy Services, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, and Environmental Law Project. As you will see in the video link below, Ellen’s has a strong passion for environmental justice and sustainable practices. We are excited to see the significant contributions she will make to the environment and our community! Congratulations Ellen!
Scholarship Winner (Emma Krampe):
We are pleased to announce that Emma Krampe is one of the 2020 SWEP scholarship recipients! She is a master’s degree candidate in Environmental Engineering and Land Management at the Polytechnic University of Milan. Currently, Emma is the standing Editor-in-Chief of the Freely Magazine and is the President as well as an International Project Lead for Engineers without Borders. As you will see in the video link below, Emma’s ability to continually expand her diverse project portfolio while maintaining academic distinctions such as a Temple’s Presidential Scholar solidifies Emma as an essential environmental professional. We are excited to see the significant contributions she will make to the environment and our community! Congratulations Emma!
GRANT WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT
The Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP) of Greater Philadelphia has selected the grant winners for 2019:
Guardians of the Brandywine, in support of their Sweet Water FLOWS (the Future/the Legacy of Our Watershed), was awarded $2,000. Their goal is to provide a 4-day “watershed science by canoe” program free of charge for girls in grades 9-12. The program will focus on watershed dynamics, the relationship between a community and its water resources, and water quality testing. The program will be centered at the Northbrook Canoe Company. Using the Sweet Water Ventures Learning Center located at the canoe company, along with taking canoe water quality research excursions. The girls will participate in understanding the dynamics of a watershed (elevation, tributaries, erosion, infiltration, etc.), the sciences of water quality (physical, chemical, biological), the communities dependent on clean water (plants, animals/people), canoeing, teambuilding, and, simply, the wonders of the natural world.
Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, in support of their nationally recognized Master Naturalist program, was awarded $1,000. This program focuses on training diverse women from multicultural audiences dedicated to inspiring and promoting an environmental ethic in their Philadelphia neighborhoods. The program objective is to bring environmental learning and stewardship to all neighborhoods of the Greater Philadelphia area and to provide professional development for women seeking further training in natural sciences and natural resource conservation as well as provides a forum for women to give back through volunteer service dedicated to conserving natural environments locally. The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist experience consists of three components: a 50-hour “core” training course, volunteer service, and continuing education, with a focus on natural resource conservation, climate change, energy conservation, storm water management, and natural sciences; and designing interpretive displays or signage for parks and museums.
The Camden City Garden Club, in support of their Youth Empowering Watershed Education & Action Program, was awarded $500 to fund the Field Trip for Youths component of the program. This program addresses four essential issues impacting at-risk, underserved youth: academic underachievement/high drop-out rate; unemployment; financial marginalization; and, food insecurity. The program consists of education, hands-on training, paid employment, lesson materials, field testing equipment, field trips, and on-going support. This program positively impacts student retention, future employment success, communication skills, leadership skills, self-esteem, motivation and several other hard and soft skills.
The Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP) of Greater Philadelphia has selected the scholarship winners for 2019:
Scholarship Winner: Hayley McCurdy, University of Pennsylvania
Hayley McCurdy was awarded a SWEP 2019 Graduate Scholarship for $3,000. Hayley is a Master of Science in Environmental Studies degree with a concentration in Energy Management and Environmental Sustainability candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania, Hayley received her BA in Political Science from Texas Christian University. She is the Co-Chair of the Wharton Energy Club, member of the Sustainable Business Coalition and the Academic Coordinator for the Graduate Advisory Board. Hayley’s most impressive achievement to date is the development a micro-loan program (in both English and Spanish) to promote the use of solar panels to generate electricity for rural consumers in the Dominican Republic.
Scholarship Winner: Jill Felker, Antioch University New England (in conjunction with The Pennsylvania State University)
Jill Felker was awarded a SWEP 2019 Graduate Scholarship for $3,000. Jill is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies candidate at the Antioch University New England. Prior to attending Anitoch University, Jill received her BS in Biology and her MS in Environmental Pollution Control from The Pennsylvania State University. Jill continues to serve as an adjunct instructor and lab manager at Penn State’s Berks Campus in Microbiology, Biology and Chemistry. Jill is also currently working in collaboration with the Nolde Environmental Education Center with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DNCR) to develop citizen science programs. She has also begun working on her PhD research project, a pilot project that assesses the antibiotic resistant microbial populations and the chemical characteristics of the Blue Marsh Watershed in Berks County. Jill resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children and embodies the challenge of work/life balance.
SWEP GP awarded a grant to the Darby Creek Valley Association ($2,000) to support their Community Environmental Education Series.
The 2018 Scholarships were awarded to Katie Lample ($3,000), Adrienne Donaghue ($3,000), and Elena Rohner ($1,500).
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