By Christina Catanese
One of the most rewarding parts about working in the environmental field is getting out of the office and having the chance to talk to people about what I do. And getting to do it in a unique, creative way that inspires others to make a difference in our communities? Even better.
This year, EPA Region 3 employees will present a Park(ing) Day site in Philadelphia, an event that embodies this unique blend of outreach and creativity in urban public spaces.
Park(ing) Day is a national event held on the third Friday in September. This annual event converts metered parking spaces into temporary parklets throughout the city. Park(ing) Day re-imagines the possibilities of 170 square feet of public space, celebrates parks and public spaces nationwide, and raises awareness of the need for more pedestrian-friendly spaces in urban areas.
I look forward to Park(ing) Day every year, because I can’t wait to see what people come up with in their mini-park displays. I love seeing parks that use old or conventional materials in a new way. Some advocate for a cause or particular issue, while others simply provide a place to sit, catch your breath, and watch the hustle and bustle of the city go by for a bit. A number of my colleagues and I were so inspired by what we saw, we just had to join in for this year’s event.
EPA’s parklet will focus on highlighting the diversity of careers and people who pursue them in the environmental field, especially careers at EPA. Our site uses a stylized form of a branching river to demonstrate the different paths an environmental career can take, as well as actions that people in any career can take to help protect the environment.
But I can’t give away too much… you’ll have to come see our parklet for yourself! Find us at the southwest corner of 34th and Walnut Streets in West Philadelphia on Friday, September 20th between the hours of 8am and 4pm. And check out this interactive map to find other parklets throughout the city!
Have you experienced Park(ing) Day in Philly, or somewhere else? What other ways can we re-imagine our urban spaces?
About the Author: Christina Catanese has worked at EPA since 2010, in the Water Protection Division’s Office of Program Support. Originally from Pittsburgh, Christina has lived in Philadelphia since attending the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Hydrogeology. When not in the office, Christina enjoys performing, choreographing and teaching modern dance.