While most Penn students were still sleeping Sunday morning, a small group of them headed "into the streets" to make Philadelphia a more beautiful city. The 20 volunteers were participating in Into the Streets, a program coordinated by Baltimore Avenue in Bloom and UC Green, a University-led initiative to improve the landscaping of University City. Along with several neighborhood residents, the students planted bulbs in a flowerbed in the Woodland Triangle between 39th and 40th streets. The project, designed by local resident Michelle Murphy, began on September 18 and was completed on Sunday. The plantings, situated beside a SEPTA trolley facility, were made possible by donations from local arboretums and nurseries, as well as purchases by UC Green. "We're planting exotic flowers and trees from around the world," explained Mike Hardy, a Baltimore Avenue in Bloom official. "Last year we planted Native American plants on the other side of the building, so this should be a great contrast." Work on the area lasted from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., relieved only by a brief lunch break. The Penn volunteers -- mostly students from Kings Court/English College House and La Casa Latina -- said they found the experience tiring but worthwhile. "Beautifying the landscape changes our mental impression of the city and makes living here more comfortable," College senior Andrew Zitcer said. "It also happens to be a lot of fun." Into the Streets has ambitious plans for future projects in the Philadelphia area. More plantings have already been scheduled for next Saturday at Lea Elementary School and Cedar Park. On November 20, volunteers will place a garden in an abandoned area near the corner of 45th and Sansom streets. The projects will continue indoors through the entire winter before returning outdoors in spring. "Our overall vision is to turn University City into a beautiful garden village," said Esaul Sanchez, Penn's director of neighborhood initiatives and the UC Green coordinator. "But more importantly, we also bring people together and create new friendships with the community."Comments powered by Disqus
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