Community at the Center

The Center strives to be a responsible member of the community, assisting in its economic and social revitalization and positive environmental health and well-being by providing opportunities for education, connection to nature and habitat stewardship. We endeavor to mutually build capacity of individuals and organizations and share decision-making through relationship building and true collaboration.

The Center has been deeply involved and committed to the Camden City and Philadelphia Communities through numerous programs and partnerships. We focus on youth and families, their connections with the environment and opportunities to learn and enjoy all of the benefits of the natural world.

Here are just a few of our efforts to explore:

Youth and Families

The Center believes that education is a means to help young people and communities improve, learn, and thrive, and that every person has a right to a quality science education.

The C.A.U.S.E. (Community Urban Science Enrichment) Program was created in 1993 and designed to address the needs of youth of color who are under-represented in the science and education workforce and to provide a quality science education through a comprehensive K-12 positive youth development program.

Our Charter School Network Partnership provides students in k-12 with integrated environmental science, technology, engineer and design experiences. Being embedded in the school during school hours and in afterschool clubs provides a consistent and cohesive project- and place-based learning experience for students.

For families, PISEC (Philadelphia-Camden Science Education Collaborative) was formed to research, develop and deliver inclusive programming for families in Philadelphia and Camden. This effort is a collaboration between the Center, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Philadelphia Zoo along with a dozen community-based organizations.

Through the Nature, Play, Share! project, the Center has been able to support parent-child co-learning literacy opportunities for families with young children ages 3-8. Emergent literacy skills are as important as science enrichment. Aspects like curiosity, inquiry, discussing ideas and observation are just as critical and relevant in science as they are in literacy.

Recreation and Conservation Stewardship

Aquatic ecosystems and the environment are necessary for the planet’s health and therefore human health. At the Center we aspire to instill a sense of life-long learning, environmental awareness, and engagement with the watershed. One of the most impactful ways to connect with nature is to enjoy the outdoors and be active protectors of the land and water.

RiverQuest is focused on engaging youth in middle and high school grades through in-class and kayaking experiences on the Cooper River and Delaware River Back Channel, as well as through conservation service projects and career exploration. RiverQuest also invites families and individuals to kayak the scenic and thriving Cooper River with us! Visit our Community Calendar HERE for kayaking dates!

Camden, a city of water, has 14 miles of waterfront. The Camden Waterfront Trail Engagement program leverages the extensive walking and biking trails to bring fun, hands-on activities on our WaterCycle bike that explore the Delaware River watershed and encourage the protection of nature on a personal and community level. Visit our Community Calendar HERE for upcoming WaterCycle’s city park programming locations and dates!

The Center is dedicated to the enjoyment of the Delaware River watershed by leveraging partnerships. The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River (AWE), of which the Center is a member, is a network of 23 environmental centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. It aims to provide education and recreational opportunities that inspire personal conservation action, improve water quality, and increase access to trails and waterways.

Another partnership, the RiverWays on the water consortium is a collective of organizations currently funded by the William Penn Foundation that are actively promoting awareness of the environment and increasing access to and stewardship of local waterways, through fun and immersive educational opportunities. This group is sharing resources and expertise while developing new programming and safety protocols through their respective and collective programs. and to advocate for the protection of its source.

Finally, the Urban Water Partnership is a collaborative of several local organizations working together to address water quality issues in the Camden City area. The partnership has formed a strategic alliance that provides awareness education, and trains local youth and volunteers to collect and monitor water quality data leading to community driven stewardship of the local Camden waterways and the encouragement of environmentally friendly practices in waste management.