PennRainworks Presents Growing Together: A Community-Based Initiative for Greening and Nutrition

September 21, 2021
1:30pm - 4:30pm
Zoom & In-person 1:30 PM - Zoom presentation (PennRainworks & Netter Center)
3:30 PM - Volunteer work at Andrew Hamilton School
5640 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139
growing garden

Join PennRainworks and the Netter Center to learn about a live student-led environmental justice project, specifically green stormwater management at Andrew Hamilton School (A Netter Center Partnership School). The session will be organised in person at Hamilton School. This will include a quick presentation by the staff, faculty, students from Penn on the project, and its relevance to climate change resilience. It will also include a tour of garden and volunteering with the garden manager. We will also discuss the work we are doing with Penn’s Environmental Innovations Initiative.

1:30 PM - Zoom presentation (PennRainworks & Netter Center)
3:30 PM -  Volunteer work at Andrew Hamilton School
5640 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139

Organization(s) Description:

About PennRainworks
An interdisciplinary collaboration between students interested in environmental science, engineering, education, design and more to develop a green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) design for the annual EPA RainWorks Challenge. Our 2020 pilot project partnered with the Netter Center for Community Engagement and the Philadelphia School District to create GSI for the Andrew Hamilton School, a K-8 school in West Philadelphia. The Hamilton Garden project combines increased green space and pervious materials with edible, native plants and vegetable gardens to provide fresh produce for the students and surrounding community. Join us and get involved with education, gardening, design, and more as we continue to partner with other University-Assisted Community Schools. 



About Netter Center
The Netter Center develops and helps implement democratic, mutually transformative, place-based partnerships between Penn and West Philadelphia that advance research, teaching, learning, practice, and service and improve the quality of life on campus and in the community. The Netter Center works with and serves as a model for other higher education institutions across the United States and around the world.



Anna Balfanz Headshot

Anna Balfanz

Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) Coordinator Netter Center for Community Partnerships

Anna Balfanz works at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships as their  Academically-Based Community Service (ABCS) Coordinator. In her previous role as an Emerson Fellow at the Netter Center, she coordinated and supported environmental health and environmental justice partnerships between the University of Pennsylvania and University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS) in West Philadelphia. Anna graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Studies.

(Angelique) Noëlle Raezer Heasdshot

(Angelique) Noëlle Raezer

Master of Environmental Studies ’22 School of Arts & Sciences

Noëlle is a graduate student in the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania concentrating in Environmental Biology. She currently works for Longwood Gardens on the Land Stewardship & Ecology team completing invasive species management and conducting various research projects for ecosystem health, including benthic macroinvertebrate sampling and lepidoptera monitoring. She previously worked at the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County completing land management and conservation activities as well as at Florida State University’s Campus Recreation leading outdoor trips and teaching sustainable, Leave No Trace principles. Her career goal is to combine recreation and ecology in a way that encourages others to take part in the outdoors while also learning and engaging in best management practices.

Mrinalini Verma Headshot

Mrinalini Verma

Dual degree Candidate- Master of Environmental Building Design/ Master of Landscape Architecture’ 21 Weitzman School of Design

Mrinalini Verma is a graduate student at Weitzman School of Design pursuing master's degrees in environmental building design and landscape architecture. She has worked for PennPraxis, Ian McHarg Center, and Thermal Architecture lab in the past on research and design projects. She is currently interning at OJB Landscape Architecture. She also co-leads Penn Environmental Innovations Initiative for a GSI project in a K-12 school in West Philadelphia. She is a recipient of a Water Center Student Research Grant award for her research on water autonomy for net-zero floating structures. Mrinalini holds a BArch from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India.

Corey Wills Headshot

Corey Wills

Dual degree Candidate- Master of Environmental Studies (SAS)/Master of City Planning Weitzman School of Design

Corey has a diverse background spanning food justice, grassroots organizing, mental health advocacy, and sustainable agriculture. Corey leads the project lead for Rainworks project at Hamilton school.She is currently pursuing a Masters of Environmental Studies degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is focusing on the creation and management of water and food systems which are both sustainable and just. Her professional goal is to implement equitable city planning practices which provide clean water, healthy food, and green spaces for all residents. Corey is joining The Water Center at Penn to provide geographic information systems analysis of Pennsylvanian watershed conservation efforts while also analyzing the best sites for green roofs on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus.