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Watershed heroes: Meet Angela Padeletti, Operations Director of the Partnership of the Delaware Estuary
Water

Watershed heroes: Meet Angela Padeletti, Operations Director of the Partnership of the Delaware Estuary

Padeletti talks about the organization, climate change & healthy waterways

What’s your name and job title?

My name is Angela Padeletti and I am the Operations Director at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary in Wilmington Delaware.

What does the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary do?

Our goals are healthy waters, healthy ecosystems, and healthy communities.

Ultimately, we try to get people to work together – whether it be from connecting farmers with people who can put green infrastructure onto their properties or if it’s connecting scientists who are getting samples in one place to get samples from other places so we can better know what’s going on in our estuary. We’re that connecting point, but we also do our own engagement with different communities as well as “on the ground” science.

How has COVID affected the estuary and the environment?

It definitely threw us for a loop initially, especially because we do some much of bringing together different people. We definitely can’t do river cleanups or storm drain markings with large groups of people or students, which is really sad for all of us, but we’ve found ways to send out individual kits to people through an app in Philadelphia. Also, for on-the-ground fieldwork, luckily, we work in the rivers and the streams and the wetlands, which are huge, so we can send small crews out as long as we have our COVID forms and everyone’s staying healthy.  

What do you think the biggest issue facing the estuary is right now?

The biggest is climate change, and how we all have to come together to rethink how we’ve been doing things and what our plans are.

I work with a lot of farmers: I have family as farmers, and doing the same thing works until it doesn’t and I’m not just talking about farming I’m talking about urban planning and stormwater runoff and experiences with creeks and streams and hot days for our community members. We need to get our heads out of the sand and really start coming together.

That’s why I love working for this organization. Its strength is bringing people to the table even when they have opposing views and finding common ground to say, ‘even if we can’t get 10 steps, let’s take 2 steps together’ The best part of working in Philly and the Delaware Estuary is almost everyone’s willing to talk and work together, and that’s just awesome. I know that I’m creating a better world for the Delaware Estuary and my 4-year-old daughter. It’s simultaneously alarming looking at the new data and uplifting to know that okay, we’re getting new data, we’re finding a path forward together.

You’re working on a few different projects right now. Which one do you think is the most urgent?

We work with the Schuylkill Action Network, a large group that pulls people and organizations together. We also have a sister organization called RACL down in Delaware. The most important thing is getting everyone from the homeowner to the city manager to the state representative to the EPA to get on board. Continued communication is what we need in climate change and everything, really.

If we just talk to each other, we’ll find common things. I’m always talking to new partners and community members and connecting people. My big philosophy is don’t reinvent the wheel. If somebody out there knows something, go ask them because we want to get further than the wheel together.

What advice would you give to those who want to live more sustainably?

Start small. Look at the plastic you’re using every day, whether it’s bags or microplastics coming off different fabrics. Start small in your own house: look around, change one thing once a month, and see how far you can go.


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Caroline Dooling is a Junior advertising major at Temple University. She enjoys cooking, playing board games with her family, traveling, and reading. View all posts by Caroline Dooling

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