Schuylkill Center: Roxborough’s Backyard

Schuylkill Center: Roxborough’s Backyard

When you enter the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, it is easy to forget that you’re within city limits. Covering 340 acres, including 3 miles of hiking trails, it feels like you have been transported to another world, one without city buses, honking horns, and cracked sidewalks.

Founded in 1965, it is one of the oldest urban environmental education centers in the country, but many locals don’t know about the opportunities in their own backyard.

“We are a hidden gem in Philadelphia,” says Eduardo Duenas, Manager of School Programs at the Schuylkill Center. “It’s rare to have a privately owned but still public space. And it’s free!”

The Schuylkill Center operates in four main areas: environmental education, environmental art, land stewardship, and wildlife rehabilitation. The staff works to educate everyone from children to adults on not only the ecology of our own neighborhood, but our impact on the environment worldwide. They are also the facilitators of a true Manayunk/Roxborough experience: The Toad Detour!

Even though they offer their own summer camp at the facility, the staff at the Schuylkill Center will be regularly making the trek to North Light this summer, bringing along their love of nature and some creepy, crawly, and furry friends!

“We have a lot of exciting things planned for our time at North Light this summer,” says Eduardo. “We are going to be working with the students on everything from a garden revamp to climate change education.”

The programs will be tailored to the ages of the students, so no child will feel left out of the experience. Younger children will start by learning about different parts of a plant, while the older children will be getting their hands dirty alongside the staff to grow food, herbs, and even plant a pollinator garden.

“We want to teach the students that every little thing matters, something as small as turning off the water while you brush your teeth makes a big difference in the long run,” says Eduardo. “We want to educate this generation to be environmentally responsible adults. We want them to be ready for a changing future.”

To learn more about the Schuylkill Center for environmental education, visit their website. The North Light summer camp runs from June 28 to August 20. Spots are still available! To learn more and register, check out our website or contact Renee at

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