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Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Neighborhood Champion
Philly

Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Neighborhood Champion

These nominees have made and continue to make big differences in small-scale settings. Their tremendous efforts in our neighborhoods deserve to be honored.

Join us on August 8th at WHYY for the SustainPHL Awards as we celebrate the nominees and announce the recipients!

SustainPHL 2019 Neighborhood Champion Nominees

  • Heidi Grunwald
  • Kyle Shenandoah
  • Vivian Vanstory

Heidi Grunwald

“Youth learn the importance of volunteering, contributing, and stewarding the space. They socialize with other youth not to litter, to share bikes, and to support one another.“

Heidi is the board President and co-founder of the Philly Pump Track. They are in their sixth season of providing a free pump track (bike park) for youth and families of Philadelphia. In particular, they serve youth who ride from Parkside, Mantua, Wynnefield, Wynnefield Heights, Powelton, Belmont, and Carroll Park. On average, they serve 4,500 youth and family members from May to October. Some of the programs that Philly Pump Track run are:

  • Women, Trans, Femme Only mornings:  Safe and supported spaces are provided for people to learn how to ride the track.
  • 5 and Under Only
  • Dig a Ride: Every Wednesday, volunteers work on the tracks, and no one sits on the bench

They do not have a dedicated water source, so they capture water from the top of the re-used 40 foot steel container with gutters and direct it into a 300 gallon rain barrel. They do not have electricity, so they use a Honda generator to run a water pressure system to water the tracks and provide music for families while they are at the track. The tracks were designed to handle storm water as they are natural surface tracks. There are 3 rain gardens inside the tracks that help water perk into a drainage system that flows to a 12′ rock well under the steel container. In addition, we use reclaimed billboard signs to cover the track to protect it from rain, snow and sleet. The forty foot steel container contains a fleet of donated bikes and helmets so youth and families just have to show up, sign in (a waiver) and can ride. 

Kyle Shenandoah

“No matter what stage of advocacy everyone lies, building with community through open conversation is essential for everyone to benefit and progress.”

As vice president of the Grays Ferry Civic Association, Kyle actively works to reduce poverty through equitable development, effective sustainability efforts, and accessible infrastructure. Along with his bigger initiatives, he also pushes smaller scales efforts such as regular neighborhood cleanups, community events, and frequent town halls. Earlier this year, he was a speaker for TEDxPhiladelphia where he shared effective revitalization tactics that are inclusive and equitable to the neighborhood.

One of the greatest impacts they have made as an organization is the reopening of Lanier Playground. The park had a tumultuous history in Grays Ferry and lied dormant for decades. However, utilizing partnerships with Parks & Recreation, The Public Land Trust, and small community organizations, they reopened the 4-Acre Park in August 2018. For the first time in history, Grays Ferry now has a dog park, an active friends group, regular community programming, fitness zone, and green infrastructure. The Park now has regularly over 500 visitors a week and with new green infrastructure filters 106 million gallons of storm water a year.

Vivian Vanstory

Vivian is the founder and CEO of Community Land Trust Corporation, a Community Housing Developments Organization (CHDO). The organization works to build a sustainable approach to land management, community stewardship, and environmental Justice in an urban setting. They have managed ten vacant parcels of land with fruit trees and nut trees in the Green Hills section of North Philadelphia. Her motivation behind her work stems from the neglect of housing stock, and need to manage vacant land.

In addition, Vivian is an award winning gardener, who has won 1st prizes for flower garden from the Philadelphia Horticultural Society in 1983, 1989, 1992, 1993. 


Join us at SustainPHL on August 8th to find out who will become the 2019 Neighborhood Champion award recipient!

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Sarah Jang
Sarah is a junior at the University of Michigan studying Public Health and Chemistry. She hopes to pursue a future that intertwines her interests in education and public health. Her favorite way of learning is by listening to a good podcast (anything NPR). You can almost always find Sarah with a cup of her favorite beverage, tea. View all posts by Sarah Jang

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