Since 2018, Richard Guffanti and Andrew Wheeler have organized weekly clean ups and maintenance of Cobbs Creek Park. Since then, they have engaged more than 200 volunteers and have facilitated an average of 36 clean-ups each year. They have collected more than 500 pounds of recycling and 200 bags of trash this year alone.
Despite their best intentions, Richard and Andrew realized their clean up strategy is not sustainable. They identified 3 critical sustainability issues: 1) Cobbs Creek Park is large and stretches over 5 miles in Philadelphia. Their current strategy of tackling different locations each week would mean they would revisit the same section once every 10 months – not frequent enough to have a sustainable impact. 2) The two of them were not from Cobbs Creek and engaging regular volunteers from within the same neighborhood was critical and would make the cleanups more representative of the surrounding community, thereby increasing local engagement. 3) Ownership of the cleanups needed to be shared with other people so that the responsibility did not only fall on them.
THE SOLUTION: The Cobbs Creek Ambassador Program. The goal of the program is to engage volunteers, preferably Cobbs Creek neighbors, in adopting sections of the park to clean up according to their own regular schedule and with their own team, which they would recruit.
The ambassador program was launched Summer 2020 with our very first Cobbs Creek Ambassador, Temwa Wright. She has been facilitating Power Hour Clean Ups every Wednesday morning from 8 – 9 am. She has an average of 7 people attend each week and her team has collected over 500 pounds of recycling and 40 bags of litter.
We want to grow the ambassador program. We feel that engaging multiple ambassadors to adopt sections of Cobbs Creek is the most sustainable approach to creating a safe, clean, and welcoming environment at Cobbs Creek Park.
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (March 2021)