“The John Bartram Association’s mission is to protect and enhance the landmark Bartram’s Garden and House, advance the Bartram legacy of discovery, gardening and art, and inspire audiences of all ages to care for the natural world. The Garden is operated by the Association in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia.
Bartram’s Garden is a 45 acre historical and environmental education site on the lower Schuylkill river, which serves 10,000 students, and 40,000 visitors annually. A National Historic Landmark, Bartram’s is greatly expanding its recreational and educational access to the river in close partnership with Philadelphia Waterborne. This partnership has provided Philadelphia Waterborne with a base of operations for construction, river access, and incorporation into Bartram’s developing river program.”
Bartram’s Garden has roots going back to the early 1700’s, and is located on the west bank of the lower Schuylkill River, in southwest Philadelphia, just below University City. An extraordinary location for environmental education (both historically and in light of the existing gardens), the garden is also located on a lovely stretch of the Schuylkill River that is both ideal for safe student boating and within a short row of center-city Philadelphia. Bartram’s has an existing boat dock in place.
Philadelphia Waterborne began partnering with Bartram’s Garden in the spring of 2014, and launched its first two student-built boats there in June, 2014, as part of the Gardens’ annual community boat parade. Bartram’s has kindly allowed Waterborne to launch and store its boats on site, and to work on its boat kits on site during the warmer months. This relationship is ongoing, and longer term discussions include:
- Expansion of the docks to facilitate small boat launching
- Installation of boat-storage facilities near the docks
- Installation of a small boat-building/maintenance workshop, also near the docks
- A joint program with Outward Bound for week-long intensive camping/environmental-education/boat-building programs on site
- The development of on-water environmental education, to complement the Garden’s existing land-based programming
- A summer community-boating program
- Summer camp activities involving boats and boat-building