The summit featured 17 speakers from non-profits, corporations, and public agencies throughout the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond including: Mary Ellen Weber, Ph.D., NASA Astronaut; President and CEO of American Rivers, Bob Irvin, an expert in biodiversity conservation issues; Matt Rader and Glen J. Abrams of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; Chris Crockett , Vice President, Chief Environmental Officer for Aqua; Tylar Greene of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region; Marc Cammarata, Deputy Commissioner of Planning and Environmental Services at the Philadelphia Water Department, overseeing PWD’s Green City, Clean Water Initiative; Dr. Danielle Kreeger, science director, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary; Michele Adams, founder of Meliora Environmental Design; Dr. John Jackson of the Stroud Water Research Center; Patricia Johanson, known for her large-scale art projects that create aesthetic and practical habitats for humans and wildlife; Chris Streb, ecological engineer for Biohabitats; and Bill Kunze of The Nature Conservancy, addressing the integral connection between water, power and agriculture.

Habithèque was hired to lead the design and development of the Delaware Watershed exhibit, the Water Summit, informational brochures, as well as advise on integration of interpretive content for the PHS Entrance Garden and other Show elements.

Photography: Greg Benson, Rob Cardillo, and Gary Radin

Project Collaborators:

Sam Lemheney, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Gary Radin, GMR Design

Sharon Handy, Handymakes Studio

Stacy Levy

Nick D’Amico, Gallantry Media Group

Joe Palimeno, Palimeno Landscaping

Docents from the Alliance for Watershed Education


Project: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia Flower Show “Wonders of Water”

65’x50’ immersive exhibition “Windows on the Watershed”

Completed March 2018

An estimated 162,000 visitors in 10 days

Made possible through the support of the William Penn Foundation

Windows on the Watershed was a ten-day installation at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show that illuminated the ecological lessons and stories of the Delaware River Watershed through the endless cycle of water movement and filtration downstream, flowing across different but connected ecosystems. Through inspired design and content-rich interpretive signage, the exhibit revealed the quiet jewels of the ecosystem—from headwaters to confluence—that often go unnoticed, drawing our attention to the many ways that nature is designed to protect itself.

Visitors traced a path through plantings that highlighted ecological heroes in each type of habitat—the powerhouse plants and trees that play significant roles in helping to keep our rivers and streams healthy while supporting the biological needs of countless different species as the web of life unfolds. 

Windows on the Watershed tells a story of interconnection, creating an immersive experience that involves and implicates us in a complex natural web of local ecosystems, all reliant on rain replenishing our freshwater system over and over again. Iconic imagery (14’x6’) capturing a day in the life of the Delaware from sunrise in the mountains to sunset along the coastal plains, transported visitors out into the watershed. These extraordinary images served as literal and figurative windows within the exhibition. Above the walking path, a site-specific sculptural installation by Stacy Levy submerged visitors in a watery world. By meandering underneath the abstracted stream of Inventory: The Rain and the River, we joined in the cacophony of life (from microorganisms to megafauna) swimming in its flow. 

As part of its larger mission to help keep the region’s waters clean, The William Penn Foundation supported the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to convene the first-ever Philadelphia Water Summit. This one-day event aimed to engage leading environmental and industry experts from throughout the U.S. in an interactive discussion exploring the scientific, political and structural facets of clean water, an essential human right. The inaugural summit served as a gathering space for multi-disciplinary visionaries to share inventive ideas and conceivable solutions that will impact the future of clean water. Presented during the annual Philadelphia Flower Show, the summit connected with a long local and institutional history of ecological innovation, stretching from foundation of the Fairmount Water Works (one of the first municipal water treatment facilities in the nation) up to the PHS partnership with the Philadelphia Water Department’s pioneering “Green City, Clean Waters” initiative. Nestled between the Schuylkill River and the Delaware (the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi) the city of Philadelphia has long been sensitive to the relationship between healthy waterways and thriving, prosperous urban life. More than 200 people attended the event.

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