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6 sustainable activities to try around Philly this summer

6 sustainable activities to try around Philly this summer

From recycled paper-making to a community seed exchange, ‘tis the season to create, learn, and cultivate. 

Summer in Philly means trips down the shore, water ice, and Parks on Tap

But alongside the usual suspects, a rotation of workshops and events with an emphasis on sustainability is making a splash. 

Whether you’re looking to dust off your green thumb or tap into your inner artist, the region offers abundant opportunities to make, take, and do good. We’ve hand-picked a few of our favorites worthy of a little space on your summer calendar. 

Philly Fixers Guild Mini Repair Fairs

When: Thursday, July 11 & August 8, 6-8pm
Where: NextFab North Philadelphia, 1800 N. American St., Philadelphia, PA
What: “Repair rather than replace” is the philosophy at Philly Fixers Guild, a group of volunteers that got their start a decade ago in Fishtown. Each month, they hold a mini Repair Fair where attendees can bring a broken item and partner up with a Fixer to troubleshoot it. Consumer culture hurts wallets and the environment, and the mini Repair Fairs offer a more sustainable path. The guild aims to educate participants on the repair process rather than simply fixing items on the spot, so you’ll leave with the skills needed to mend your well-worn belongings. Registration opens a week before each event.

Recycled Paper Making Workshop at Pulpery

When: Friday, July 12, 6-8pm (and regularly throughout the year)
Where: 56 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA
What: Pulpery, a woman-owned recycled paper studio in Old City, runs an assortment of sustainable art workshops each week that include zero-waste weaving, upcycled fabric bouquet-making, and pine needle basketry. But the bread and butter at Pulpery is paper-making. In this workshop, you’ll learn the craft, using a mould and deckle to create beautiful handmade pages from old paper. Workshop participants can experiment with making floral designs and colorful cardstock. The finished product is 10-15 sheets of your very own handmade, recycled paper. Not available July 12? Pulpery regularly runs a recycled paper making class in addition to private paper making parties for small groups.

Sow & Share: A Community Seed Exchange

When: Sunday, July 14, 10am-12pm
Where: Farmer Jawn – 1813 Beech Ave., Elkins Park, PA
What: Farmer Jawn and Cool Head Collective are teaming up to create an atmosphere of connection to Mother Earth. This summer event isn’t just about sharing seeds. It’s an opportunity to exchange stories, ideas, and energy. Gather with like-minded folks on a 128-acre urban farm to explore the potential for growth, transformation, and renewal–through seeds and community. 

Plantology On Tap: Eco-Friendly Gardens

When: Thursday, July 18, 6-7pm
Where: The Creamery, 401 Birch St., Kennett Square, PA
What: Want to make your garden a native plant haven? This Longwood at the Creamery talk will explore eco-friendly gardening and biodiversity. Amelia Burnett, garden manager at Stoneleigh, will lead a discussion on native plants and horticultural practices for home gardeners. Burnett will also share more about the plants and landscaping at Stoneleigh–a former private estate on the Maine Line that’s now a free public garden–while making sustainable, locally-oriented home gardening more accessible. 

Leaf Rubbings with Natural Oil Pastels with Parkway Pals @ Sister Cities

When: Tuesday, July 23, 11:30am-12:30pm
Where: Sister Cities Park, 210 N. 18th St, Philadelphia, PA
What: The Fabric Workshop & Museum is returning to Sister Cities Park for its family-friendly (and free) summer workshop series. Each activity is designed to spark creativity while centering sustainability. In this DIY workshop, you’ll draw inspiration from leaf patterns to create art using oil pastels made from natural materials. In just an hour, you’ll walk away with your own vibrant “leaf rubbings,” captured with natural oil pastels you created yourself. 

Intro to Low-Waste Living at SHIFT

When: Thursday, August 22, 7-8pm
Where: 252 Haverford Avenue · Narberth PA
What: Making the leap to zero-waste may sound daunting, but reducing your ecological footprint isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. As the dog days of summer come to a close, rekindle your commitment to sustainability with this beginner’s course on low-waste living. SHIFT co-owners Kimberley Bezak and Eleisha Eagle will break down the basics of reducing landfill burden by making a few small lifestyle changes. They’ll share tips on accessing local and sustainable options, introduce you to the “5 Rs” of low-impact living, and offer insight on navigating obstacles, drawing from their own experience. 

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Stephanie Ostroff loves exploring green spaces in and around Philly. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and has been published in National Geographic, Generocity, and Fathom. When she’s not writing, she works as a speech/language therapist at AIM Academy. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys getting lost in the Wissahickon, practicing yoga, and planning travel adventures. View all posts by Stephanie Ostroff
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