Audubon Society Fellow Tykee James on working in Strawberry Mansion

Every proud Philadelphian, whether you’re a new tenant in the neighborhood or a longtime homeowner, should consider themselves a steward for the environment of this city. Not just for the preservation of the natural lands, but for the conservation of our connected communities. As a Fellow for Audubon Pennsylvania, I have the pleasure of working in Strawberry Mansion, a neighborhood I’m happy to call part of my home in North Philadelphia. I look forward to providing environmental education as a community service through hosting lessons with the children at the Mander Recreation Center summer camp, as well as through free public bird walks I’ll be hosting throughout the summer. More information about the public walks can be found on the Strawberry Mansion CDC Community Calendar. They are free and I encourage you to come as you are! The first two walks will travel the Boxer’s Trail, and the last one will meet at East Park Reservoir: the site of the incoming Discovery Center, which will be the home for environmental education in North Philadelphia, immediately serving the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.
The Discovery Center will increase access to the trails surrounding the reservoir and serve as the in-house facility for both Audubon Pennsylvania and Outward Bound programming. From the groundbreaking that we can look forward to this September, to The Discovery Center’s grand opening currently planned for late 2018.

Audubon is dedicated to taking only collaborative steps to be sure that although our non-profit is housed in North Philadelphia, my neighbors and I in Strawberry Mansion can call the Discovery Center part of our home. For nearly a decade, Audubon has been working with community groups such as Strawberry Mansion CDC, Strawberry Mansion NAC and EPRA, as well as with many active and aware residents for feedback, guidance, and advice. Audubon intends to keep its relationships and programs around the city, and the Discovery Center in Strawberry Mansion will be critical in allowing us to emphasize our mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and Earth’s biological systems. Programs will include: in-school science lessons tied with community service projects, nature walks and other hands-on, outdoor environmental activities and urban gardening workshops. There will also be many volunteer opportunities such as helping to remove invasive plants, providing support for community and park cleanups, and planting pollinator gardens to help enrich the biodiversity of our green spaces.

I had never considered a career in the environment until being offered a job to educate the general public as a Docent at the Cobbs Creek Environmental Center when I was in high school. This opportunity lifted my ambitions and gave me a vision for a cleaner and greener Philadelphia that I know we can all look forward to someday. And I know it will be worth the hard work, worth the dedication, and worth compromise.

SM Community Garden gets a Green House

Greetings Strawberry Mansion Residents, Gardeners and Friends,

Construction has begun on our Community Garden Greenhouse at 32nd & Ridge Ave. The greenhouse construction is the latest phase of improvements on the garden. The initial phases included installing over 40 beds for resident  gardeners and the Culinary Arts Program at the Strawberry Mansion High School as well as installing a water line. The garden has successfully brought together a cross generation of residents who take pride in their plots and share their harvests with the community. The greenhouse will allow the Strawberry Mansion Community Gardeners to nuture their vegetables and herbs throughout the year. Space has also been allotted for an outdoor gazebo which will serve as an outdoor classroom during the growing season. Most excitedly, JOBS  have been created by this venture. Four (4) Strawberry Mansion residents are receiving training to work with the residents at the greenhouse year round with hopes for more opportunities to come. Great news for our community!! Special thanks to PA Horticultural Society PHS, East Park Revitalization Alliance EPRA, Strawberry Mansion High School, SMNAC & SMCDC for helping to make the garden a success. Stay tuned for the greenhouse ribbon cutting ceremony.!

Community Land Care in Strawberry Mansion

From April thru October, the SMCDC

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will be cleaning 200 hundred lots throughout the neighborhood.Lots that qualify must NOT have the wooden ranch style fencing. Although we have designated our 200 for the 2013 season, if you have an unfenced lot that you need assistance with please email us your contact info and the address and we’ll make a plan for its cleaning. Let’s Keep Our Neighborhood Clean!

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Community Garden Adds More Beds!

Getting your hands dirty can be really fun, especially when you get to eat the fruits of your labor. Strawberry Mansion’s Community Garden added additional beds to accommodate more gardening residents and students from Strawberry Mansion HS. On June 8th members from the US Attorney General’s Office, EPRA, SMCDC, SM High

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School and a host of resident volunteers expanded the garden. All generations were represented and everyone really enjoyed sharing their stories and expertise. Check out the coverage from WPVI Channel 6 at this

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want to learn more about gardening from the most talented and friendly experts around, come join us on Tues from 4pm-7pm. at the garden located on Ridge Ave near Dauphin ( the site of the old Hampton Hotel) Spread the word!


Strawberry Mansion Community Update (tgraham)

Are you ready for the summer? These are exciting times for Strawberry Mansion. I’m going to

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give you a list of a few things that are happening in and around the neighborhood.

  • SUNOCO IS OPEN! Be sure to stop by the brand new SUNOCO gas station and minimart on 33rd and CB Moore. It’s open 24 hrs, seven days a week. They’ll begin to serve hot food and breakfast sandwiches soon. Good luck to our community hirees! Look for the grand opening soon.
  • JOBS JOBS JOBS! Common Market is looking to hire a Customer Outreach Manager and Procurement Manager. Check the job posting on and
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    check out Common Market’s website for more info.

  • PHA is auctioning another batch of its blighted properties on July 16. Check the SMCDC calendar for place and time. This auction is for individuals and investors alike so if you want to own a piece of Philly, get your bid ready.
  • SUMMER LUNCH PROGRAM resumes at the SMNAC Office at 2829 W Diamond St. Make sure your kids eat health this summer.

There’s more to come. Remember to contact us on face book or leave a comment or event that you

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want us to post. Let’s keep spreading the word!

Internet Access in Mansion

Ok, so the SMCDC has this lovely site which highlights Mansion’s historic markers, beautiful housing stock, commercial and residential developments and resourceful community center, SMNAC, and guess what; a large number of Mansion residents will have an issue viewing it because of a lack of internet access. Well for those of us who do have internet access, I need your help informing our Mansion residents who are challenged with internet access about computer centers in the neighborhood. Let’s start the list with these three:

The Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center, Lenora Jackson-Evans, Executive Director, located at 2829 W. Diamond Street. The SMNAC is a Philadelphia Key Spot ( Free internet access daily and computer instruction on site. Contact the SMNAC for instructor’s schedule at 215.235.7505.

The Strawberry Mansion Learning Center Kevin Upshar, Chairman


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(, located at 2946 Dauphin Street. Services include internet access and computer classes for youth and seniors and much more. Contact the center for programs and hours

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at 267.639.4613.

Free Library Widener Branch located at 2808 W. Lehigh Ave. Contact the library for hours and programs at 215.686.5322.

Inform them they can use these technology resources to sign up for a free email account, do a job search, write a resume, post a comment on our website, etc. Are there more options in the Mansion? Leave a post with the info. Each one teach one. Let’s get all our residents connected!

SM High School Saved

MANSION, WE DID IT! Through our numerous strategy sessions, community meetings, rallies and testimonies to save our schools, our voices and were heard by the Philadelphia School District. Strawberry Mansion High School WILL REMAIN OPEN! Strawberry Mansion High School is the only public high school in the community that meets the

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educational needs of our youth and it is an important beacon in the neighborhood. Because of its importance, many residents were inspired to get involved and various community based organizations collaborated on behalf of our youth. In appreciation of their strong presence and commitment to the school, The Strawberry Mansion High School in association with the Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center (SMNAC) and various community based organizations (The Strawberry Mansion CDC, Philly Rising, US Attorney General’s Office, East Park Revitalization Alliance, Townwatch Integrated Services, 28th Ward Committee Persons & Community Activists) is hosting a Community Appreciation Day on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 10am- 2pm. It will be held in front

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of the Strawberry Mansion High School located at 32nd & Ridge Avenue.

Strawberry Mansion High School will need our continuous support in the coming school year. Let’s share our plans and ideas on how we can enhance/increase programming (academic, vocational, athletic, support services, youth employment etc.) to make it one of the best public high school options in Philadelphia. Go Knights!


Greetings Strawberry Mansion, welcome to our site. After much hard work, we’re finally on the Worldwide Web! First, I would like to thank

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the Preservation Alliance of Neighborhoods for funding this project through its Pride of Place grant. Second, I want to give kudos to the team at Pinnacle Performance Partners for helping us establish our web presence through this lovely site which is easy to navigate and is full of goodies. Lastly, I want to thank the Strawberry Mansion residents, businesses, educational and religious institutions, civic organizations and municipal partners for allowing us to serve on your behalf. We are excited to provide you with information about our historic neighborhood, resources available throughout our community, and a forum to express our thoughts,

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concerns, happenings and most cherished Mansion memories. We invite you to responsibly post your old and new pics, leave comments or even contact us to be a guess writer on our blog “Mansion Speaks.” So explore our site, add it to your favorites, like us on Facebook, and join the conversation. Spread the word that the SMCDC is Preserving Our Past and Investing in Our Future by launching its’ site!


So what do you think about the site?