Turtle News: August 2020 Summer Days Keep Drifting Away…

Day lilies ready to bloom at our entrance sign at Henry & Midvale Avenues during the heat wave of 2020.
A heatwave has certainly hit Philadelphia this past month. Park users find a respite in the shade. Picnics, scooters and just plain lounging have been what folks are searching for in our McMichael Park open green space.
Conference Calls are much better in the park with furry friends. A recent park bench was listed for repair and a sycamore tree dropped some major branches was reported and inspected.

Looks like the Ladybugs win this one! Tic-Tac-Toe for Two created in McMichael Park for all to enjoy. Pop up – FUN!

Our McMichael Park Turtle celebrated its 55th birthday this year. Back in 2015 we had cake and celebrated with our 200 person audience as we offered our annual “free theater” in McMichael Park. Hopefully, we will be able to offer summer productions (and birthdays) in 2021.

Fort building….creative play evolves everyday from our young park users.
Meetings and picnics all happening with a social distance in mind. McMichael Park summer 2020.
We had a “hammock” day in McMichael Park in July. Enjoying the shade…drifting away…oh those summer days.
Our FOMP “masked men” who spent most of the summer thus far watering the three Anniversary Trees in McMichael Park. Special thanks to Robert Rabinowitz (left) who allowed the garden hoses to run from his home to provide the necessary 20 gallons per week per tree. Geoff Brock is one of our 30 year volunteers. Much appreciated. Photo credit: Christina Kistler

FOMP: 30th Anniversary Masks…get one while they last!

Friends of McMichael Park Volunteers, Frances Bourne (left) and Bill Hoffner (right) sporting their masks as part of the 30th year of stewardship!

As part of the 30th Anniversary of the Friends of McMichael a new accessory was created which is sign of the times. Our masks in green (of course) with our custom turtle logo is being sported around the neighborhood. A limited number of masks are available for sale. ($12.00 each plus S&H) When the masks are sold out then they are gone. If interested in purchasing, please contact lexy3904@gmail.com. Proceeds go the Friends of McMichael Park. Stay safe where ever you are….Thank you.

Turtle News: IT’S A WRAP!

by Alexis Franklin

Love Your Park @Home 2020 — McMichael Park saluted the 30th Anniversary Celebration of The Friends of McMichael Park with a nine-day Love-fest. Our daily videos, self taped by our volunteers were one-of-a-kind and ones to remember. Unique, AND different!

All of us learned so much … Cuts … Edits … Lighting … Sound … Retakes … iMovie!

We appreciate those Friends and volunteers who got involved and glad our stay at home readers got a big kick out of the videos too.

Audience reach was more than 1,000 on some days, and we’ve received many supportive comments from our readers. Peter and Cathy certainly missed their “Monty Python” calling. And there were sightings of Mark Anthony at the Acme. Christina took us back for some Park history related to the War Memorial and then she and husband Brian brought us a glimmer of hope as we look ahead to Parks on Tap … maybe? Robert and Beth reminded us of how easy it is to adopt a garden bed, and how simple it is to work independently in our current situation. Our gifted reader Jay Fogarty — grandson of 30 year volunteer Betty Miller — mesmerized us with his voices for “The Lorax.” Yes, Danny Devito, you should be concerned. If you missed the dailies then take a look at the links below and see what everyone is talking about.

McMichael Park, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy all have certainly been elevated this past week. We’ve all noted more people using McMichael Park, and all of the Park patrons should be commended on the social distancing practice and creative play in McMichael Park during this time. Yoga, family picnics, sidewalk chalk designs and much more.

McMichael Park as is … is certainly a joy to all at this time.

The City of Philadelphia budget for fiscal year 2021 has been recommended by Mayor Jim Kenney, and is awaiting a vote from the City Council. The proposal includes a massive 20 percent cut to PP&R’s annual budget. Click here to read the proposed budget.

Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell has asked Friends Groups around the city to do “more.” Volunteering will be the only way that the Park system can and will survive. Children need to be fed. Pools will be closed indefinitely. Recreation Centers and public libraries will have limited hours, if they open at all. Seasonal maintenance associates will be drastically cut. The new normal will require more time, talent and energy from its volunteers and Friends’ groups.

The Friends of McMichael Park stand ready to support the City of Philadelphia and PP&R in any way it can, as this determined and diligent group has done for the past 30 years.

As we look ahead, planning will need to be creative.

Our McMichael Park series celebrating Love Your Park @Home 2020 week is a step in that creative process.

FOMP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfMcmichaelPark

FOMP Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/friendsofmcmichael/

Nancy asks that you stay six feet apart

April 24th: Today was a Meaningful day – FOMP provide lunches for the 39th Police District

Practicing Social Distancing and Ready for lunch from Le Bus – East Falls. The 39th Police officers with FOMP coordinator, Alexis Franklin

Friday, April 24 — The Friends of McMichael Park volunteer group provided lunch to the Philadelphia Police Department 39th District to thank officers for their help and service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friends of McMichael Park — a community-led organization celebrating 30 years of service and volunteer work this year —partnered with local East Falls neighborhood restaurant Le Bus to come up with a lunch meal to cover three overlapping shifts for the 39th District officers.

Facing a global pandemic, instead of celebrating 2020 with events in the one-square-block of green space that is McMichael Park, all planned anniversary events and gatherings have been cancelled indefinitely.

Recognizing that the current pandemic meant many health professionals and first responders in Philadelphia would be called to maintain their duties in spite of “stay-at-home” orders for the general populous from both Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia, the group instead chose to donate where it could to thank those that were protecting residents in the city of Philadelphia during such a difficult time.

“We are obviously disappointed we cannot hold events in the park, especially this year when we have so many in the community to thank for supporting the Friends of McMichael Park group over these past 30 years,” said Alexis Franklin, coordinator for the Friends of McMichael Park group. “But those that are keeping us safe during this time, they should be supported where possible. And we wanted to support both a local business like Le Bus, and the officers of the 39th.”

FOMP supporting a Local restaurant and providing lunches for the 39th Police District.

Meet our Amazing Volunteers: Marie and Steve Gibbs

” Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

Furry park buddies, Molly on left and Sage on right standing in for their owners Marie and Steve Gibbs. McMichael Park is a dog and people friendly place.

We appreciate being included in the 30-year celebration. Steve and I can’t take credit for the dedicated work that these wonderful people have done for so many years in McMichael Park. Our role over the years has been on an informal basis since the park is literally right outside our front door.

Steve had been picking up trash and debris in the park before I even knew him.  I can tell you there have been so many times when we were going out in the car and he would spot a piece of trash in the park and he would stop the car and get out and pick it up.  I’d have to keep hand wipes in the car at all times; otherwise, we’d have to return home so he could wash his hands.  I also picked up trash and debris when I saw it.  Steve’s knees have gotten worse over the years and it would be risky for him to do that now because of the unevenness of the ground in the park.  After falling last year and fracturing my hip (not in the park) I haven’t been going over there as much.  A few weeks ago, however, I was over there tidying things up a bit.  I have to say that the park has been looking really good in recent years and I know that is because of the FOMP.

In past years whenever we would spot some activity that looked very questionable and clearly problematic, we would call the police and follow up to make sure they came and checked things out.  I remember going over by myself to stop some students who were attacking a park bench. I have been known over the years to go up to someone who didn’t pick up after their dog and offer them a bag after telling them it was wrong.  Honestly, things have seemed so much better in recent years.  I rarely see people walk their dogs and not pick up.  I think people are better now at using the available bags.  Also, we haven’t seen questionable or loud activity in quite a while.

I remember raking up leaves in the park with a bunch of FOMP people.  I really enjoyed it. I really liked the pumpkin labyrinth.  I thought that was a lot of fun.  I actually looked forward to going out to buy my pumpkins.  I love the Valentine’s Day lovelights.  So beautiful! I love the peaceful simple beauty of the park most of all.  We have the Friends group to thank for that!

Thanks for all you do!
Take care and stay safe during this difficult time for our country.

Turtle News – April 2020 Many Ways to Stay Connected

by Alexis Franklin

CoVid-19 Bench


Over the past few weeks, our country, state and city have monitored the Covid-19 pandemic.  This has been an unstable situation where we are learning new things each day. As of Now, the Friends of McMichael Park have planned a number of upcoming events which we sincerely hope can go on.  However, cancellations may occur as this health crisis unfolds.  Please stay connected to our various sites and The Friends of McMichael Park will keep everyone updated. 
          -Love Your Park:  To date, Love Your Park week is still on as planned: May 9th -17th.  Our McMichael Park is registered. How would you like to help? Send me an email and let me know what you can do.  Volunteering is free!  AND AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE IN OUR COMMUNITY!  Lexy3904@gmail.com
     -Not available May 9-17th? Other days can be added for various projects which we can gladly provide assignments based on your availability. There are many projects on the schedule and the Friends of McMichael Park openly and transparently allow for participation in any and all projects.  Lexy3904@gmail.com
    -Shakespeare Live is planned for June 2020.  This summer, we are please to present a new production company, ShakespeareNJ.  This summer’s performance will be something appropriate and timely; a new production especially for us of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar.” Dates are set for Tuesday June 2nd with a rain date of Thursday, June 4th. (please note this is earlier than prior years so save the date.) This Shakespeare Live performance should run approximately 70 minutes and will be followed by a post-show discussion with the cast!  As we have invited everyone in the past 12 years, open air theatre, free, of course, and we encourage picnics and lawn chairs. This is the most popular of William Shakespeare’s plays  and suitable for the entire family. The Friends of McMichael Park proudly sponsor our 13th summer of free theater in McMichael Park. Thanks to FOMP/Bill Hoffner for his efforts to get this production in McMichael Park. 
     –Parks on Tap will be returning to McMichael Park in August 2020. Parks on Tap is Philadelphia’s traveling beer garden that gives back! With a partnership between Philadelphia Parks & RecreationFairmount Park Conservancy, and FCM Hospitality, Parks on Tap brings a beer garden to various parks throughout the city all summer long. Each location provides fresh food, beers on tap, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages in a festive outdoor environment with comfortable chairs, hammocks, and clean restrooms. Parks on Tap is family-friendly. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Parks on Tap kicked off in 2016 as a way to engage the Philadelphia community and give back to the neighborhood parks. A portion of all proceeds are donated to The Friends of McMichael Park to help restore and maintain our open green space.

Here are Thirteen additional ways to stay connected with McMichael Park and beyond: 

1. We have a BRAND NEW blog called McMichael Park Turtle Friends  – https://mcmichaelparkturtlefriends.com/ – Highlighting our 30 years of volunteering in McMichael Park. #FOMP30

2. Check out all updates on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfMcmichaelPark/Click Here

3.  Or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/friendsofmcmichael/?utm_source=ig_embedClick Here

4. Take a walk: Research shows that spending 20 minutes in nature can reduce stress levels. Enjoy the fresh air in your park! (Please note that Philadelphia Public Playgrounds and basketball courts are closed as of March 25th.) 

5.  Take note of your favorite nearby tree. Download the iNaturalist app and start to identify the plants and wildlife in your community! 

6.  Accepting Proposals!  Philadelphia’s community-based groups embarking on creative projects & activities that are free and open to the public are invited to apply for grants through our Creative Avenues initiative. Deadline is Friday, April10th –  http://creativephl.org/ca/

7. Explore a fun, interactive map for kids on different cool trees around the world.

8. Learn about a project in Jersey City where participants tweet for the trees for the trees have no phones.

9. Learn about the life of a tree alongside the young people in your life.

10. Watch the documentary Symphony of the Soil on Kanopy (a free movie watching service for all Free Library card holders).

11. Read or listen to Ecologist David Haskell tell the story of smells from eleven trees.

12. Watch live streams of the animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the Osprey Cam from San Francisco Bay.

13. From the Philadelphia Park Alliance/Alex Doty: Think of your favorite park. What is your favorite thing to do there? Now write it down on our new Parks and Rec Defender shield

When you’ve printed out the shield and added your favorite park and activity (feel free to add some art), please post on social media with the hashtag #PPRDefenders. Be sure to tag Parks Alliance, City Council, your Councilperson, and anyone else you would like to know how much you love your park. You can also send any pictures to photos@philaparks.org or text them to 267-404-3010.

When you share this, you are letting City Council know how important your parks and rec centers are to you and to your community.

Be Safe in McMichael Park Practice Social Distancing aka Social Caring