Hey folks! I'm Allen. I may not look it, but I'm 46 years young. I ran many many races for many years till my body could no longer take the abuse. All the sweat kept my skin young. I have a chronic illness called gastroparesis that makes it very hard for me to eat many things and causes a lot of pain. I have an unprovable theory that my condition started from pollution I encountered far, far away from Philly. I'm doing what I can to protect others in my weird kind of nature preservation way :-) Thanks... [more]

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  • Love Your Park

  • Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders

  • Love Your Park Week 2021

  • Love Your Park Fall Service Day 2021

  • Second Saturdays

  • Impacts

    Wynnefield Weekly Volunteer Workday

    Today I got a little lost again finding the new volunteer location. Ed asked the few volunteers that came today to go to help out at the Horticultural Shed. I went to the shed and the volunteers there told me I missed the 5pm rush. It was pretty quiet. I was not feeling great, so I grabbed a garbo grabber and made up a carry around litter collecting bin. I cleaned up the whole parking lot and around the shed. There were a lot of littered masks, so I guess it hadn't been cleaned in awhile.

    I asked Ed if I could leave early to work on a personal project. Somebody splattered a glass liquor bottle near the Fairmount Waterworks under the MLK bridge by the top of a hill. it was sprawled all over for at least three days. I went home, got my dustpan and brush, then came back and cleaned it all up. I got three kind thank you's and one and a half $@#k you's (mentally ill people I suspect). Lastly, I moved a 10 to15 pound large orange road construction sign that was thrown over a JFK Blvd ramp railing into the handicapped/biker ramp path. I did my part for Philly today... I love my parks and I am trail steward if I say so myself.

    Gave 2.00 hours on 05/11/2023 with Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders, Love Your Park
    Wynnefield Weekly Volunteer Workday

    There were only a few of us today. Yeah, the weather was on the chilly side and mostly cloudy. Attendees included the Arcadia Women's Ice-Skating Team and a new resident recently moved from California. Mr. Howie came and cheered everyone up. This nature area seems up and coming. Week 1 was weeding and litter cleanup, but I am hoping we start recovering the lost trail.

    Gave 2.00 hours on 05/04/2023 with Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders
    Steps to the Mann - Weekly Volunteer Workday

    It was an unseasonably for April colder weather. Yeah, a whooping 59 degrees and mostly cloudy. Brrrrr! It felt cold. Nevertheless, I was not alone feeling this way because only four volunteers came out for the event. My favorite moment was when a woman was dropped off from a car by our steps thinking it was an entrance to the Mann Music Center. In my opinion, it should be restored to one of them. She asked me after walking to the top how she could get in. Eduardo had to deliver the full bad news at the bottom. Walking up the hill to the proper entrance was not a good idea due to speeding driver traffic going up the nearby hill to the Mann entrance. With only four of us there, I felt more extraverted and started socializing a little more with the volunteers. All four of us volunteers were pretty worldly, and it was great and interesting hearing some of Eduardo's backstory. That's one reason I volunteer - hoping to meet interesting people once in awhile. I won't be close to any of these people, but the stories they shared makes me feel prouder I came out to today's event, feeling like I'm around different, but like-minded people.

    Gave 2.00 hours on 04/27/2023 with Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders
    Steps to the Mann - Weekly Volunteer Workday

    I have a upper respiratory infection, but I still came out last minute decision Ironically, I felt more strength sawing down the invasive mulberries than I did the last two weeks. I walked to the top of the steps, disappointed the beautiful steps lead to a barbed wire gate to the Mann at the top. I wish the city would make something nice here. Even a nice hiking trail would be lovely. These steps have a lot of potential for a good nature spot and adventure.

    Gave 2.00 hours on 04/13/2023 with Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders
    Steps to the Mann - Weekly Volunteer Workday

    It was an atypical hot weather at a hot time of day for an April volunteer session, but definitely a satisfying experience. It was easier for me the second time because I know what I am doing now. I met a couple volunteer leaders in training that were very nice. I spend a lot of time hand sawing young invasive mulberry trees. I got a nice blister forming on my thumb because I didn't stop myself. I got there early and talked to Edwardo a little about life, the universe, and everything. He gave me the first bump at the end. I talked more than I usually do at these volunteer events, so that's a good thing. I enjoyed saying TIMBER multiple times as I took down mulberry trees. I hope I am healthy and blister-free for next week's steps at the Mann session.

    Gave 2.00 hours on 04/13/2023 with Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders
    Steps to the Mann - Weekly Volunteer Workday

    I love seeing progress. We made a lot of it fast. I burned out after half an hour, but hung in there with the gang getting the job done. I'm hoping I will have the strength to help out again next Monday. Edward gave me a fist bump at the end. It made it all feel worth it.

    Gave 2.00 hours on 04/03/2023 with Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders
    Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders

    Every time I have entered my park in 2023 I see the same drug needles on the stairs on the way down to the river. I found a leaf and some dirty covid mask and safely took care of the hazards. I miss the pre-covid days when these needles were not littered so openly in my center city neighborhood. Litter removed - nature improved :-) I'm still active in our city cleaning up the most offensive litter. I cannot help it. It's ingrained in me :-)

    Gave 0.25 hour on 01/12/2023 with Love Your Park
    Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders

    I had my heart on getting back out there to a litter patch near the Fairmount Dam I have not cleaned up. I did it. I cleaned the grass by the dam itself and the area leading up to it. It looks great now for the time being. I wonder how long my beautification will last. Someone cleaned up some of the glass bottle that was lobbed at me last week. It's still hurts a little in my mind thinking about the experience. It looks like three or four more glass bottles were smashed there after the incident, but they were mostly gone today. I fine tuned some of the glass cleanup. Litter removed - park improved :-)

    Gave 1.00 hour on 10/20/2022 with Love Your Park
    Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders

    I got back out there 48 hours or so after the bottle was lobbed at me. It was a Miller High Life clear beer bottle. I cleaned up a little of it. The glass bottle is smashed in many pieces. I got a thank you right in the beginning of my litter cleanup. I overheard other park users saying, "yeah, that's the same guy." MLK Drive near the city is starting to look really clean, better than it has most of the year, if I say so myself.

    Gave 1.00 hour on 10/15/2022 with Love Your Park
    Natural Lands Volunteer Leaders

    Gabbing About Garbage Tuesday October 11, 2022
    (In memory of John Politis)
    Tonight I went out for my fourth time recently cleaning up MLK Drive. It’s one of my favorite places with no traffic, our roaring Fairmount Dam and great views of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Our weather has been autumn great and I have been grounding myself and my nausea by trying to make our world a little bit better by improving our nature. Hey, cleaning up parks may not work for you, but it helps me a lot: physically and mentally.
    Today was the peak of our warm wave. I wore my oversized grey Philadelphia marathon volunteer hoodie outside do to the litter pickup again. I received several thank you’s from passerbys, dog walkers, bikers, and runners alike. A simple thank you makes me feel really good and a little more connected to society.
    Near the end of my "shift" I heard a glass bottle break behind me. I did not flinch. This has happened before. I’ve had people throw litter right out of their vehicles practically at me upon seeing me cleaning it up nearby. I am sure this behavior is the mentality of a fraction of the earth’s population. I kept going on my way continuing my route back and forth from the trash can. I am protecting my frail injury-prone body by loading a reusable shopping bag to make myself take a break and enjoy some scenery. After I heard the bottle break and I did not see it when I returned, I thought that maybe someone threw it on the nearby Interstate 76 and the sound just traveled. I’m an anxious person afterall.
    It was around 6pm and I was finishing up. On my last trip to the trash can, a motorcade of pop-a-wheelie riding ATV riders came their way on MLK Drive. I was on my scooter with a bunch of trash including a damaged park sign. Nobody got hurt. All the pedestrians, bikers, and runners looked uncomfortable. The pop-a-wheeliers were weaving between the bikers and runners in the street like it was nothing. I was carrying a damaged park sign on my electric kick scooter with some litter bags on the way to the trash can. Nobody said a thing and we all continued as if the behavior was normal and okay. Maybe it is… I don’t know… there is so much unrest out there… riots are the voices of the unheard… I don’t know how to justify the recklessness of it all.
    I came back to the Boathouse Row overlook I cleaned maybe 10 minutes previous. I was surprised to see that all 20 or so of the dirtbiker/ATV riders were overwhelming the overlook. I thought they would at least flee after recklessly driving in a pedestrian/bicycle only area. I don’t know. Maybe my electric scooter, a self-propelled device that tops out at 15 miles per hour should not be there as well? All of the riders appeared to be younger than 20 and none were my complexion. They did not start any trouble with me. I stupidly walked right on the trail through their bikes. On my way home I found another broken bottle in a spot on the MLK bridge I just cleaned an hour ago. Now there are two broken glass bottles in the road.
    What happened here this afternoon on MLK Drive? A power play, a series of random coincidences, a cowardly message to me not to come back and clean up??? Maybe I am making much to do about nothing. I am upset that my work at one of my peace park places was violated. Doesn’t everyone, homeless, drug addict, model citizen, average park user hate litter? I know that sometimes I interfere with homeless and drug activity. Litter can make a good cover and I believe I may have inadvertently foiled some of the dealer location signals during my time cleaning MLK Drive. I do not understand the appeal of breaking glass bottles on the ground. Why do you want to give a bicyclist a flat? What’s the appeal of intentionally causing suffering to someone you don’t know?
    Well, thanks for reading my vent/musings. Just another day of city life I guess. Soon something else will happen and take this off my mind. If I did not find the thrown/shattered glass bottle in roughly the same path I took the to trash can behind me, I probably would have never wrote these thoughts out.

    Gave 1.50 hours on 10/11/2022 with Love Your Park