Meet our Amazing FOMP Volunteer: Alexis Franklin

“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what a meaningful life is – living not for oneself, but for one’s community.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?

I love seeing results. Over time this derelict space became the jewel of the East Falls neighborhood. Restoration and preservation was always what the group, later to become The Friends, had in mind. And now, 30 years later, the legacy of that transformation is apparent. In addition, it is always great to see neighbors working together for a common cause. We were always happy to collaborate with various groups as well: Tree Keepers, Power Corp., The William Penn Charter School, the Boy Scouts of America, Thomas Mifflin Elementary School, East Falls Tree Tenders, Bartram Gardens, PHS, Philly Tree, Parks on Tap, Jefferson University — even when it was Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science and then Philadelphia University — and we can never forget the Women’s Medical College & Hospital (MCP).

What volunteer moment are you are most proud of?

I have many proud moments: One year, I received a generous donation from Home Depot of 60 bags of mulch. They even gave me a truck to drive the bags from Plymouth Meeting to McMichael Park. As I headed down Ridge Pike I questioned whether truck driving was on my bucket list. I made it to McMichael Park safely but what I did not know was exactly how dump trucks worked. I thought you pushed a button and the back of the truck lifted and dumped. Not the case! The truck had to manually have each side removed and bags of mulch had to be individually unloaded. As I looked up in the heavens confused and in despair, it started to rain. My helplessness must have been obvious because several park side neighbors came out of their houses and started helping me unload. We were done in 15 minutes. Spontaneous and impromptu teamwork. This is the essence of our Friends and Neighbors. Right there. Always.

In 1994, Hilary Langer donated an evergreen tree from his back yard. We transplanted this three footer in front of the War Memorial, replacing a tree that had died. Today it towers over 30 feet. This was one of the early plantings of trees that the FOMP were able to provide to keep the McMichael Park canopy green.

In 1996, the East Falls Community felt very strongly about having a historical marker dedicated to memory of our namesake Morton McMichael. We had applied to the Commonwealth, but sadly it was determined he was too local. The Community stepped up and decided to fund our own, which is installed at the corner of McMichael Street and Midvale Avenue. Working together, always. It made it easier to accomplish what we needed, and volunteering for a cause is a great way to bring people together.

Alexis Franklin (right) with then Mayor Edward G. Rendell and the Union League Glee Club. Morton McMichael was one of the founders of the Union League of Philadelphia. Photo: October 1996
There was quite a turn out for the unveiling that October Day…Mayor Edward G. Rendell, and Councilman Michael Nutter. East Falls Community Council President, George Magnatta, East Falls Business Association President, Roberta Ginsburg, Pastor William De Heyman from Redeemer Lutheran, Alice Reiff from Friends of Inn Yard, Julie Camburn from the Fallser Newspaper and Mimi Winder Halloway whose garden still stands at this same corner.

I am also very proud that I was able to conceive and bring together Commonwealth Classic Theatre productions. “Free” theater in McMichael Park started in 2008 with William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Always hard to gauge what kind of attendance this was going to bring, but I thought it was worth taking the chance. People came from all sections of the city. Families, church groups, friends, neighbors, Shakespeare buffs, actors and theatre aficionado’s. Picnics, lawn chairs, and strollers were part of the night too. When I saw children leaving at the end of the show repeating the dialogue, I knew we had reached the neighbors and friends. Proud that we could offer these free productions. Through grants and fundraising, not the Globe, but pretty close to the original intent to provide free theatre to all people.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?  

As coordinator of The Friends of McMichael Park, I have endeavored to supplement McMichael Park’s needs; but there are some always elements and situations that are over and above what we can do as a Friends group. The restoration of the War Memorial took some time with advocacy and grant writing. Major tree removal or large limb pruning are just two areas that are very challenging. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) is not always funded or has the available resources to do the work either. One arborist. One machine. Critical and sometimes urgent work is wait listed unless they are deemed dangerous. I must constantly advocate for challenging park work that becomes a time consuming process.

How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?

I have been volunteering in McMichael Park since the very beginning. And these 30 years have gone by so quickly. My community service begins before that, as I served as the Treasurer of the East Falls Community Council for 10 years. I moved on to chair the inaugural East Falls Festival and first East Falls Flea Market. At the time, McMichael Park was NOT getting “any” city services. As a matter of fact it was a visual and environmental eyesore. When a “drug buy” went bad, ending up in a fatality, I decided to focus on one thing: McMichael Park. I was joined by two early advocates of The Friends, Tom Williams and Keith Shively. As I posted signs along the park that stated, “The Turtle needs a friend.” We set a meeting date and 95 people showed up at the meeting. Others recognized the “green” potential of McMichael Park, and the neighbors became Friends, volunteered, donated, and got their hands dirty! We got the grass cut regularly and trees pruned through various grants. We sold daffodil bulbs, tee shirts, raffled baskets, sold tote bags, and ultimately I created the very successful, Love Lights. I met lots of neighbors, friends, and their children … and now their grandchildren. It is always wonderful and endearing to have family participation. Giving back is a nurtured experience and must be taught and learned.

What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?

Commit! Don’t just watch and sit on the sidelines. The Commissioner challenged the neighborhood recently: batter up! Be a part of the team. No need to start another team, this is the team, and there is only one victory: the preservation of McMichael Park. My volunteer efforts were not done alone. One thing I’ve learned and espoused is that it takes not only a village but many, many neighbors to step forward over time and as a resident of this community “pitch in” “contribute” “get involved” . I firmly believe it is a lot more fun when you get that sense of camaraderie.

When you volunteer “all together.”

Meet our Amazing FOMP Volunteers: Carla and Ron Bednar

Carla and Ron just celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary at home in East Falls….they have been a valuable asset to McMichael Park over the years. Cheers!
“Service is the rent we pay for living.” – Marian Wright Edelman



What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?
Volunteering is FUN!  We enjoy meeting up with old friends and new neighbors to rake, plant, prune, and keep McMichael Park the jewel of East Falls, that it is.   

What volunteer moment are you most proud of?
We are proud to see the spirit of community, as folks of all ages and backgrounds come together in service of our beautiful park.  Personally, we love taking care of the holly and feel a sense of accomplishment in its yearly cleaning, pruning, and tending to. 


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?
The biggest challenge as park volunteers has been to keep up the pace and intensity of activity as we become older.  It’s great to see students, young professionals, and families get involved!
 

How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?

We haven’t kept track of our volunteer time; perhaps it’s been a decade, or two, or three.  We love the sense of community spirit that volunteering brings – we get back much more than we give!


What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?

To friends and volunteers in East Falls and beyond – it takes a village to keep McMichael Park beautiful.  Thanks to all who do!

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

Meet our Amazing FOMP Volunteers: Robert Rabinowitz and Donna Boling


Whatever you can do, or dream you can… begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
— Goethe 

Robert Rabinowitz in McMichael Park/northeast corner where he adopted and tends his garden bed.

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?

I made McMichael Park more personally mine by adopting a space on the northeast corner of the park as an area that I would plant and maintain. That was made more personal when the small stone blocks were donated to the park and assembled by the Friends into a circle around the plot. Frankly, now I look at what is becoming somewhat overgrown and, with a shrug containing resentment and personal loss, walk past. I suspect though that, now being an old dog, the new trick of ignoring what needs tending will lose to what has become both a meditation and habit.


What volunteer moment are you most proud of?

The transition from building 12, section B, apartment 2C in New York in 1968 to a single 3 story West Mt Airy home with a fruit bearing apple tree in a spacious backyard, and then to East Falls immediately wedded me to open space and greenery. So, with Gabrielle at 18 months of age and committed to putting most things in her mouth, running wildly until she tripped and fell, and wanting to pet every dog in sight, though only from the rear which made the dogs constantly spin and turn until they tired of what was perceived by them as a new game, we began by following her lead and then transitioning to building fairy houses, learning the names of the dogs, throwing and sometimes catching balls while, unerringly, causing me to run since, no matter how pure her motives, the toss always went to where I wasn’t. As a family we often walked through and sat in the park and never tiring, at least I didn’t, of commenting on the unbelievability of living where we did (do).

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?  

We moved to Coulter Street when almost every house had a basketball hoop without the presence of any domiciled teens to use them. McMichael Park had begun to become the tranquil green space that it is today, sorrowfully though not for long, yet was still, kindly put, a rough presence. One problem with the McMichael Street side of the park was that the late night activities left lots of glassine envelopes scattered along the curb in the morning. That changed dramatically when the junior Rendell entered Penn Charter and the circling marked and unmarked police cars did, at a minimum, reduce the curbside trash. 

How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?

When, in 1992, when Donna, Gabrielle, and I moved from Indian Queen Lane to Coulter Street, a move of several blocks and an equal number of attitudinal light years regarding the presence of a child of color, an attitude that thankfully has shifted away from secretly scheduling Halloween Trick or Treat Night when only we and our children would come knocking.

In short order, and I don’t recall whether it was under direct threat from Alexis or perhaps a more generous charitable motive that propelled both Donna and me to become, both with small and capital F’s, (f)Friends of McMichael Park. The word “propelled” in the last sentence gives some inclination that the motivation to begin working in and with the park was not totally an internally motivated decision. Once started, however, McMichael Park became a sacred place. To me, it was never a passive green space. The maintenance activity of planting, raking, digging, sawing and concern for the park, made me one of keepers of something between a neighborhood space and an eden; though it is possible to make the expulsion from the latter a metaphor for the snake offering planned changes to a truly an idyllic space, a symbolic apple. And, as an afterthought, whenever a “real” playground was desired, and this did happen on some weekends, we had ample choices. 

What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?

I think sometimes of the neighbors and (f)Friends who have moved away or died, of the time with and in the park and smile and of what might possibly have been the last time for throwing Valentine lights over tree branches while hoping that the ladder doesn’t slip out from under me. It has been a wonderful trip.  

Robert (seated 2nd from right) and Donna Boling (standing 4th from right) joining the Friends of McMichael Park on Love Your Park day in May 2014. Photo was for the Fallser newspaper which was celebrating their 20th anniversary. #FOMP30

Our amazing Friends of McMichael Park volunteer: Rich Lampert

Rich Lampert – FOMP volunteer for 27 years. Grant Writer. Tree Planter. “Tell me what you need.”

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?

It’s gratifying to see neighbors coming together behind rakes, wheelbarrows, and the like to accomplish some shared tasks that improve our park. 


What volunteer moment are you most proud of?
Working with Alexis in a meeting that resulted in funding from our State Senator for a safer electrical box we can use for events in the park. 


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?  
Making sure I completed grant applications on time, helping to fund events such as Theater in the Park.


How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating?
I’m going on 27 years as a volunteer. I keep going because I pass by the park almost every day and it’s always satisfying to see that park remains beautiful and well maintained.


What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?

It’s simple: Show up and pick up whatever tool you’re offered — a pruner, a rake, whatever — and work with your neighbors. Repeat every time there’s a call for volunteers to work in the park, and then it becomes an enjoyable habit. If you like to work, you’ll fit right in. 

Our Amazing Friends of McMichael Park Volunteer: Betty Miller

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -The Lorax
    Dr. Seuss

What did you love about volunteering in McMichael Park?
I volunteer in McMichael Park to do something to enhance our neighborhood and make it a better place for all. By working side by side with other neighbors one gets a sense of teamwork, camaraderie and pride.

What volunteer moment are you are most proud of?

Happy to help where and when ever I can.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome regarding being a park volunteer?  
As a senior member I am happy that I am still physically able to plant, cut or simply pick up sticks.

How many years did you volunteer in McMichael Park and what inspired you to keep participating. 
I have been a volunteer since it’s early days. I volunteer to better our community, make new friends, environmental reasons and basically help to preserve our treasured park.

What advice do you have for other friends/volunteers?
I would encourage all for……
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not” …….The Lorax  by Dr. Seuss.
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

The Lorax -Dr. Seuss

Turtle News – March 2020 “Where’s the Batter?”


“Where’s the Batter?” 

by Alexis Franklin / Coordinator Friends of McMichael Park (1990-2020)

As The Friends of McMichael Park celebrate 30  years of volunteering, we look ahead to additional volunteer participation in our neighborhood during the 2020 calendar year and beyond.

Maintaining the Park has been a labor of love for The FOMP community members, and our efforts over 30 years at rehabilitating and maintaining a pristine green park in Philadelphia have obviously brought McMichael Park to the attention of all levels of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the greater City of Philadelphia. 

Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell and Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. are now completely committed to building a playground in the park, an endeavor that would never have been initiated had McMichael Park not been elevated to the status and outstanding condition it has achieved. All solely and diligently thanks to The FOMP group. 

McMichael Park exists because of the volunteer commitments of the members in The FOMP group.  It has been restored to its original design and has become a respite from city strife and the core and epicenter of neighborhood activities. Noticeably absent from volunteer activities are those individuals who support a playground. The FOMP has always and regularly promoted open meetings, service days, theater, children’s events and clean-up activities. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited to participate. 

The volunteer events hosted by The FOMP are open to all, and are always prominently advertised as such. The FOMP has made multiple attempts to include playground supporters in volunteer events, but the loose assemblage of individuals have not participated, or moved away.  Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has been unable to provide a local point of contact for this group. 

This is very disconcerting.

It not only speaks volumes to the commitment level of these neighbors, but also because Commissioner Ott Lovell in her presentation at a recent neighborhood East Falls Community Council meeting in January stated: “You must be committed 100 percent. So ‘batter up’ and participate.”

Where is the batter?

As much as The FOMP has sought to include playground supporters in volunteer activities, this group has consistently and repeatedly failed to show up to help.  “Where is the batter?” is an oxymoron for this group.

They are not even in the ballpark.

The FOMP has hosted between five to seven volunteer events on an annual basis. These include the popular Lovelights — the annual fundraiser now in its 21st year. An event that sees The FOMP group light the Anniversary Tree in a spectacular array of red lights for Valentine’s Day. There are multiple park cleanups, bench paintings, summer story readings for children, the annual Shakespeare in the Park theater performance, pet adoptions, and summer movie nights.   

These events take time, talent, energy and money. 

The FOMP estimates that in its 30 year history it has invested the equivalent of $1.5 million USD in time, talent and energy; volunteer work in lieu of compensation, like kind contributions of sweat and creativity. In addition, The FOMP members have donated thousands of dollars consistently and without reservation to the upkeep of the park. 

The FOMP has a 30-year history of not only “stepping up to the plate,” but “knocking it out of the park” with our volunteer events, every time at bat. The Commissioner was not referring to the existing Friends of McMichael Park!

The East Falls Community Council measures support for the  playground by the clapping of hands at their meetings. This is not a popularity contest. Who from that group is stepping up to the plate?  Who is in the dugout?

The FOMP group, most recently stepped up to the plate again for the upcoming Lovelights celebration on February 14, 2020 (Valentine’s Day) and they are planning Love Your Park Activities  for May/June 2020.

Again, we look forward to your participation and invite you to get in the game. 

Visit the Friends of McMichael Park page on Facebook to keep track all upcoming events in McMichael Park: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfMcmichaelPark/

As part of our Thirty year celebration: please connect with our page highlighting our individuals with reflections from our humble beginnings. #FOMP30  https://mcmichaelparkturtlefriends.com/
Save the Date! Love Your Park Week
May 9 – 17, 2020
Love Light/2020 Volunteers raised $1200.00 with generous donations from our community.(l-r) Peter Logan, Christina Kistler, Robert Robinowitz, Alexis Franklin, Beth Gross-Eskin and John-david Franklin
Love Your Park starts planing now!
Mark your calendars as events are starting in McMichael Park during this year’s Love Your Park Week! Need some inspiration? Check out past events here that were held in McMichael Park and other parks.  Stay tune for more information to follow in the coming month. 

Registration for Park Friends will open on March 2nd.

Please join in for the next PFN meeting on March 11th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, 100 N. Horticultural Dr (click here for map). As always, up to three members of your Friends Group are invited to attend! If interested in attending…Contact Alexis Franklin: Lexy3904@gmail.com

We will be serving dinner at 5:30 and start the meeting promptly at 6:00, covering several important topics, including:Love Your Park Week | May 9 – 17!PFN Registration 2020 RecapPreview of new Love Your Park WebsitePark Friends Activity Report raffle*We will provide a free shuttle to the Horticulture Center, leaving from 1515 Arch Street at 5:15pm and returning to the same location afterwards.
WHEN 

Wednesday, March 11th
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

WHERE
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
100 N. Horticultural Dr 
Philadelphia, PA 19131

Treemendous LOVE lights McMichael Park – Feb. 1, 2020

Love Lights have shined annually in McMichael Park for the past 21 years. Supported by the generous community to benefit the work done by the Friends of McMichael Park

Since 1999, The Friends of McMichael Park have lit a tree in McMichael Park to raise funds for the “well-loved” McMichael Park. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Friends of McMichael. The Park will be glowing the week of February 10th remembering all the loves of your life. See the acknowledgments below and thank you for all who supported this event. With Admiration and Appreciation from the Turtle.

Lovelights: 2020

A Love light shines for… With Love from….

Marie Anne Spedding Gibbs

With all his adoration, appreciation & love. Your adoring husband, Steve

Harriet Soffa: Mark & Kris Soffa

Brian Love you more: Christina

Sabrina Love you: Mom and Dad

Wally and David: Daisy, Brian and Christina

East Falls Pack Walk: Thanks for the treats, Daisy

Friends of McMichael: Congratulations on 30 years of service to East Falls!

“ For LOVED ones”: Betty Miller

Happy 30th Anniversary to the Friends of

McMichael Park: An old Parkside neighbor who appreciates all the volunteers over the years.

In honor of our retiring board members:

Paul Furlong, Susan Kretsge & David Breiner: East Falls Historical Society

Nancy: Don Donaghy

My husband Dwight

“The Love of my Life.”: Chris Martin

In memory of Jim and Betty Wilkinson: Betsy Wilkinson

Joe Leube: East Falls Historical Society

For Cathy, the love of my life…: Peter Logan

I memory of Vinni Abate: Charlene Brock

It is the Community that makes East Falls

special to me,

& all the volunteers that put in

so much of their own time

into making this a great place to live.: Gayl Henze

Andrea Vogel – I miss you girl: Cathy McCoy

Valentine B.D. Marvin Hobbs: Chris Martin

Dot and Sir Donaghy: Nancy and Don

In memory of Mike and Mary Wilkinson: Betsy Wilkinson

Tessa, my dear sister: Peter Logan

In memory of Michael Bauman: Geoff & Charlene Brock

Friends of McMichael Park: Gayl Henze

Jack Slawson, the best work buddy: Cathy McCoy

Best to All!: Tom Williams & Keith Shively

Friends of the Falls of Schuylkill Library: Gayl Henze

Dear Amber: Chris Martin

In memory of Ed and Sarah Byrns: Betsy Wilkinson

Ann and Bill Rodenberger: Nancy and Don

In memory of Ken Hinde: East Falls Historical Society

Peter Logan, the love of my Life.: Cathy McCoy

Friends of McMichael Park: Anonymous

Guenevere, who I miss everyday: Peter Logan

In memory of Gerry Schweiger: Geoff & Charlene Brock

Charlie, my sweet, sweet doggie

Who is my best buddy.: Love you. Mommy

East Falls Community Council: Gayl Henze

In memory of Timothy Johnsen: Betsy Wilkinson

Our Park!: Chris Martin

Dan and Kristin Donaghy: Nancy and Don Donaghy

Bumble, GOOD DOG!: Cathy McCoy

In memory of Alex Montanez: Dr. Charlene Brock

Eli, my adorable, loveable & huggable grandson

You are the joy of my life!: Love Bubbie

East Falls Village: Gayl Henze

Power Corp for their recent help: Friends of McMichael Park

My three wise men: John-david, Zachary & Sam: Alexis

Brigid, Fionn, Tug, Rory and Molly Donaghy: Nancy and Don

The Turtle, who always speaks the truth: Peter Logan

In memory of John Geoghegan: Betsy Wilkinson

In memory of Romaine Patterson: Geoff & Charlene Brock

My daughters, Danielle & Hannah

Love you with my whole heart.

Grateful for our special bond: Love, Mom

Neal, my sweet, funny & silly son-in-law.

Wonderful husband & dad: Your favorite mother-in-law

East Falls Historical Society: Gayl Henze

Julie H. C. Rocco: M.J. Fullam

In loving memory of Peter Kishinchand: Cynthia and Kumar

In memory of Mary Wilkinson Hargadon: Betsy Wilkinson

For the love of my life, Beth: Bill Epstein

East Falls Tree Tenders{ Cynthia & Kumar Kishinchand

In memory of Antea Vece: Geoff & Charlene Brock

Liz Donaghy and Jamie Mullen: Nancy & Don Donaghy

Luna and Scout, happy together: Sam and Erica

In memory of Ed and Lucille Byrns: Betsy Wilkinson

Thomas Mifflin School Staff and Students: Cynthia & Kumar Kishinchand

East Falls Presbyterian Church: Gayl Henze

Friends of McMichael Park: Bill Hoffner & Frances Bourne

in blessed memory of Stephanie: Bill Epstein

In memory of Maryanne McGlynn Leauby: Betsy Wilkinson

First Presbyterian Church Germantown: Gayl Henze

with love to Angela, Matt, Miles, Ben & Josie: Dad & Pop-pop

Dolores and Jim Mullen: Nancy and Don

In memory of Patrick Quinn: Betsy Wilkinson

Judi and Bill Morrow: Nancy and Don

The Turtle and His Friends: Cynthia & Kumar Kishinchand

St. Bridget’s Church: Gayl Henze

Gayl and Herb Henze: Nancy and Don

In memory of Michael Wilkinson: Betsy Wilkinson

AnnMarie, Adrien, Henry and Marcus Knowles: Nancy and Don

For Members of East Falls Town Watch: Anonymous

Manuela and Gerd Kulage: Nancy and Don Donaghy

Alexis & Kris, my dear friends who share

The same love & passion for preserving

& nurturing open green space. Love you both! Beth

In Memory of Joan Newhall: Joe Terry

In memory of my son, David Hayes: Gingie Hayes

“Leading Lady”: Don Donaghy

In memory of Jack Alexander: Betsy Wilkinson

In memory of Eleanor Tompkins: Louanne Stratton

In memory of my husband, Cappy Hayes: Gingie Hayes

With love to Amanda, Pepe, Gabe and Carolina: Dad & Pop-Pop

In memory of Alice Cary: Joe Terry

Friends of McMichael Park: Frankie Jueds

Finn, thank you for being the light in our lives.

We miss you and we’ll always love you: Meredith and Georg

To honor my son, Christian Hayes: Gingie Hayes

In memory of Delores Buzniak: Joe Terry

Remembering Robert: Nicole and Sandra

To Bubi: Love, Eli

In memory of Joanne Timmons: Joe Terry

My darling wife, Donna, my best daughter,Gabrielle,

and my furry grandchild Cora: Robert

In loving memory of dear husband

and friend, Bill O’Callaghan: Allison O’Callaghan

In loving memory of dear parents,

Ralph & Loraine Hirst: Allison O’Callaghan

In loving memory of dear neighbors,

Leigh & Sally Marsh: Allison O’Callaghan

In loving memory of dear neighbors,

Sedric & Vicki Melidosian: Allison O’Callaghan

In loving memory of dear friend,

Tom Horne: Allison O’Callaghan

In honor of lifelong friends,

Mary Lee Horne, Roland & Mary Kriese Allison O’Callaghan

In honor of dear neighbors,

Hal & Kitty Commons: Allison O’Callaghan

Friends of McMichael Park:  Connie Gellespie 

FOMP…Thanks for all you do:  The Paganos

Turtle News – December 2019

Celebrating 2019: Another year of open green space, volunteering and making the year an important part of so many memorable gatherings. Happy 90th Birthday McMichael Park.We’re looking ahead to 2020!

Tree planting with Girl Scouts.JPG
Love Your Park – Fall 2019
Planting of the Redbud LYP 2019.jpg
Love Your Park – Spring 2019:

We look ahead to a new decade!  The 30th anniversary  celebration of the Friends of McMichael Park. But for a moment: Imagine it is 1990 and a small flyer posted in McMichael Park states that the Turtle “needs a friend.” If interested come to our first meeting.  No internet.  No mailing. No East Falls newspaper.  And, 95 friends and neighbors showed up! All recognized that McMichael Park needed attention.  The grass was sky high.  The trash cans were overflowing.  There were sofas and car tires dumped throughout the park.  You could not see the Turtle from the street. If you dared walk through the park the needles and drug paraphernalia were everywhere.  The Friends of McMichael Park (FOMP) received their first donation of $10.00 at that meeting from David Kurtz.   A bank account was opened.  Other donations started to come in.  Volunteers came to the park with lawn mowers and pruners, rakes and shovels.  This is how the FOMP began.  The transformation of McMichael Park did not take thirty years and it did not happen over night.  Some of those initial volunteers are still committed to maintaining McMichael Park.  Watch our Facebook page as we highlight our various volunteers over the past thirty years. Join the conversation on Facebook.  FOMP Click here.

Volunteers rock:anniversary tree McMichael.JPG
Volunteer tree and garden bed celebrating the anniversaries of The Friends of McMichael Park and East Falls Tree Tenders. 

 
 Rewind &  Recap 2019: We planned these events:  -Pop-up-Play, Annual Pet Adoption, Movie Night of “Moana,” Story time with Falls of Schuylkill Library, Qigong, Parks on Tap, Memorial Day Celebration, Annual Community Hymn Sings, Annual Summer Free Theater, the Dog Pack of East Falls commences their walks, EF Flea Market

Fundraising and Grant Writing:  Both the Lovelights and Parks on Tap brought in over $1,700.00 for McMichael Park.  Activity Grants from Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and Program Grants from PP&R brought in an additional $2,000.00.  Pride chairs were also donated to McMichael Park by a generous neighbor. Maintenance: -Love Your Park:  Two organized service days in McMichael Park for spring and fall.  Over 30 volunteers at each.  Trees planted.  Garden beds cleared and mulched.  Spring bulbs planted. Hundreds of brown debris bags filled!

Maintenance: -Love Your Park:  Two organized service days in McMichael Park for spring and fall.  Over 30 volunteers at each.  Trees planted.  Garden beds cleared and mulched.  Spring bulbs planted. Hundreds of brown debris bags filled!

Entrance Signs & Beds:  Thanks to our FOMP volunteers who adopted the garden beds at our entrances.  Beth Gross-Eskin (Henry & Midvale) Deborah Thorp (Henry & Coulter), Rob Rabinowitz (W. Coulter & McMichael) and Christina Kistler (Winder garden at McMichael & Midvale)  

Doggie Bags:  Funded, restocked and reordered by FOMP volunteers Logan/McCoy. 

 –Continued Stormwater runoff:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/gedDr11mW2HKNsrDA  We hope to resolve this problem with funding through Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. 

Turf Work:  PP&R was able to get to 70 percent of the turf restoration in McMichael Park this past fall.   Thirty percent still to be tended which is on the Henry Avenue side of McMichael Park.  Their plan is to return in the spring 2020 and finish the aeration/seeding and top soil.  

Power Corp volunteers did an end of the year tree mulching project organized by Jason Mifflin of PP&R.

Friends enjoying nature (1).JPG
Nature inspires curiosity
Donaghy family.JPG
Family Reunions
Story time with Ms Meredith in McMichael Park 2019.jpg
Summer Story Hour coordinated with the Falls of Schuylkill Library
Pet Adoption (1).jpg
Annual Pet Adoption organized with FOMP volunteer Mike Andrews and Benny!
image004.jpg

The annual meeting of the Friends of McMichael Park will be on Tuesday, January 7th at 6:30 pm at the Falls Presbyterian Church (lower level)Meeting is open to all.  Let us know if you can attend.  rsvp: Lexy3904@gmail.com


Happy New Year! Welcome to the ’20’s! In this age of misinformation and consternation, shouldn’t it be easier “bein’ green?”

THE FRIENDS OF MCMICHAEL PARK: MAKING A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO OUR COMMUNITY