Community development, environmental restoration, and educational reform must go hand in hand.
We seek partnerships among advocates for each in order to combine forces and resources. We believe that youth have a crucial role to play in this process. This conviction comes from three decades of work in low-income communities on projects that simultaneously address issues of poverty, race, deteriorated neighborhoods, polluted water, and troubled schools.
West Philadelphia Landscape Project
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Aspen Farms Butterfly Garden
As part of the 1997 SMS-Penn Summer Program, middle school students from Sulzberger designed a new butterfly garden for Aspen Farms Community Garden, which they constructed with the help of volunteers from Aspen Farms. Provided below is a report by SMS student Justin Parish, documenting the project's design and construction.

Butterfly Garden And Pond

A report by Sulzberger Middle School student, Justin Parish, SMS '97

Construction of Pond

During the past few weeks our group has been working at Aspen farms, which is located at 49th and Aspen streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a community related garden for the Mill Creek community. We have been working on building a Butterfly Garden, which will provide shelter for many different species of butterflies. There will also be a small pond which contains some fish and frogs.


1. First we cleared the area (weeding, clearing rocks etc.)
2. Next we dug the hole (approximately 66 centimeters deep).
3. Then we lined the hole with carpet to stop any plants or rocks from penetrating the container.
4. Next we carried one ton of sand from the truck and placed it in the hole.
5. After that we put the container in the hole and made it level and stable.
6. Finally we filled our pond and added decorations.

Justin (Buck): "In the future I would like to see a section of the Mill Creek raised to a certain extent. I think it would be nice to see the the creek clean and flowing through a small portion of the Mill Creek community. The only problem would be the safety of the residents."

"Abdul (Mookie): In the future I would like to see areas around the creek where there are activities such as a Miniature Golf Course, a tour around the Mill Creek, a water show, Paddle Boats etc. Activities like these could attract tourists to our neighborhood. This could be a financial boon to our community."