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orange-trail.jpgThe Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers (WRV) is dedicated to the restoration of the natural areas of the Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia.

WRV is a member-supported, volunteer-driven nonprofit founded in 1997 that actively protects and improves the natural environment within the nearly 2,000-acre urban park. Incredibly, more than 80% of the park is still forested.

But, the forest takes care of itself, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is "no," for the Wissahickon. Located in a city surrounded by millions, the forest shows significant signs of a degrading ecosystem. Lack of plant and tree diversity. Severe erosion problems along tributaries. Too few seedlings for a future healthy forest. Overabundance of deer herds, invasions of exotic plant species that choke out native vegetation, and human use that introduces water and air pollution, all contribute to a forest in need of our help.

WRV's Steering Committee and Field Director coordinate restoration efforts with the Fairmount Park Commission, guided by FPC's Natural Lands Restoration Plan. Relying on volunteers from our membership and partnering groups (schools, religious groups, service organizations, etc), we remove invasive vines and vegetation, plant trees and shrubs, repair trails, and remove trash.

WRV has partnered with more than 50 community groups from across the Philadelphia region, Thousands of individuals contributing tens of thousands of volunteer hours to accomplish our mission. Over the years, thousands of trees and shrubs have been planted, countless amounts of exotic invasive plant species have been removed, and our work has only begun.

To accomplish our ambitious goals, your membership support is critical. Our members help us purchase more trees or tools, and fund WRV staff to coordinate the hard-working volunteer groups who help restore the Wissahickon.

You can also help by volunteering! To volunteer in the forest check out our calendar for descriptions of WRV volunteer opportunities. To schedule a group contact or volunteer in the office contact WRV Field Director, Susannah Beckett, at susannahb@rhd.org or (215) 951-0330 x2175.

We look forward to seeing you in the wonderful Wissahickon!