Looking to volunteer? Here is your solution.

Mounties volunteer to clean up trash at Wissahickon Valley Park


Olivia Forti

Olivia Forti, Cece Funchion, Elizabeth Dolich, Kate Kelly and Campbell Donovan went on a beautiful sunny morning during winter break to collect trash around the trails near Forbidden Drive and in the park grounds near the surrounding roads.

If you’re a part of the Mount community, there’s a good chance that you have heard of Wissahickon Valley Park, a series of trails only two minutes from the Mount.

Wissahickon Valley is a beautiful park and home to a large variety of wildlife; however, this habitat has recently been threatened by the increased amount of single use trash on and around the trails. This has been exacerbated since the start of the pandemic as more people have been visiting the park as a safe way to get out of the house.

The Friends of the Wissahickon, an organization that facilitates the volunteer clean-up program, is a 2,600-member nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to restore historical park structures, eliminate invasive plant species, monitor watershed management issues, and restore trails throughout Wissahickon Valley Park.

They rely on member and volunteer support to help care for the 1,800-acre park, which is why it’s so important for people to get involved.

Recently, Mounties Olivia Forti ‘22, Cece Funchion ‘22, Elizabeth Dolich ‘22, Kate Kelly ‘22 and Campbell Donovan ‘22 took the initiative to volunteer through Friends of the Wisahickon. The sign up process only takes a couple of minutes through the Friends of the Wissahickon website and volunteers are able to choose any day or time that works for them.

Volunteers are provided with kits consisting of a pair of gloves, two trash bags, and even a Friends of the Wissahickon mask, that can be picked up at the Cedar House Cafe right in the entrance to the park.

“It was a really fun experience and so nice to know that I was helping the environment,” said Cece Funchion. She described the experience as a great chance to talk with your friends, walk around the park and be surrounded by beautiful nature.

Along with the fun, it was also COVID-friendly— they were all outside, socially distant, and wearing masks. Right now, it can be hard to find volunteer opportunities, but by going out to clean the Wissahickon either by yourself or with a few friends, you are guaranteed to have a safe volunteer opportunity.

“It is such an easy way of helping out our local environment and staying safe during the pandemic,” said Campbell Donovan ‘22.

“Giving back to the community and taking care of the Earth is an incredibly important part of the Mount’s mission statement. Since I am passionate about helping to save the environment, this experience made me feel amazing,” said Olivia Forti ‘22.

Even if you only have time to volunteer for 20 minutes, every piece of trash picked up is an accomplishment. You and your friends can sign up in just a few minutes here.


In total, Olivia Forti, Cece Funchion, Elizabeth Dolich, Kate Kelly and Campbell Donovan collected two and a half full bags of trash in under two hours!