To the Editor:

As you’re out and about in Abington or Cheltenham Township this spring, you might notice people standing in the water, taking notes. It might be near the Glenside Library, Jenkintown Train Station or Wall Park. These Streamkeepers go out every month of the year, collecting data and making observations about the health of Tookany Creek and its tributaries, which begin in and run through both townships. Known as Tookany Creek in Montgomery County and Tacony Creek in Philadelphia, the stream empties into the Delaware River as Frankford Creek.

The volunteer Streamkeepers are with the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of the watershed by collaborating with its municipalities and leading its communities in education, stewardship, restoration and advocacy. The data they collect help measure the impact of stream restoration projects funded through the Delaware River Restoration Fund of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, established by the William Penn Foundation.

TTF volunteers also are busy marking storm drains throughout the watershed with decals reminding people that anything that goes down the storm drain ends up in the creek. Automotive oil, paints and household liquids that enter the creek are harmful to water quality and wildlife. TTF volunteers have installed hundreds of decals in Abington, Glenside and Jenkintown, as well as in Philadelphia.

Whether marking storm drains or monitoring Tookany Creek or its tributary, Jenkintown Creek, TTF volunteers have the opportunity to undergo free training in topics that include erosion, algae and eco-friendly backyards, to name a few. The public can participate in free nature walks, park and stream cleanups and rain barrel workshops, where property owners learn how to collect and store rain water for later use — to water gardens or wash cars or outdoor furniture, for example. This helps our creek by decreasing the impact of runoff and homeowners by saving money on tap water.

From Tookany Creek headwaters in the upstream communities of Abington, Cheltenham, Glenside, Jenkintown, Rockledge and Springfield in Montgomery County, to downstream neighborhoods in North, Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia, TTF volunteers are making a difference. They are knowledgeable and passionate about protecting the creek, so if you see one, ask about their work.

For more information about the watershed and how you can help, visit the TTF website at ttfwatershed.org or call 215-744-1853.

— David Bell, Glenside

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