Nation’s largest flower show tackles water concerns

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Nation's largest flower show tackles water concerns

Next to the Super Bowl winning Eagles, Philadelphia is known for hosting the nation’s largest annual flower show and this year the Philadelphia Horticultural Society is using that platform to promote sustainable water solutions. Typically a draw for gardeners and tourists, the March 3-11 Philadelphia Flower Show is venturing into new territory in joining with the William Penn Foundation to host a daylong water summit March 7 to promote clean rivers, recreation and maybe politics and concerns the administration is watering down Obama-era rules. “This really is farsighted,” said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, the national advocacy group for waterways. As a keynoter, he plans to talk up river success stories and ways to use “natural infrastructure” to clean rivers and maybe address the Trump administration’s recent effort to delay the Obama clean water rules. Tylar Greene, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, plans to talk up efforts to work with groups to get people outdoors and onto rivers. “The goal of our efforts, with the support of the William Penn Foundation, is to provide visitors with actionable ideas and strategies they can use to begin water conservation projects in their own backyards and neighborhoods,” said Matt Rader, president of PHS. In addition to crediting the flower show organizers for addressing water and river issues, he said that Pennsylvania is a symbolic state to hold the event in. Not only does Pennsylvania have more river miles than any state besides Alaska, he said that “Philadelphia sits between two great rivers and it’s very exciting that the organizers of the Philadelphia Flower Show want to use that forum to heighten attention to the importance of rivers and clean water.” Another speaker will be NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber. She said, “Water is especially important to me as a NASA Astronaut. Not only was it a precious resource during my space travels, but all astronauts are tantalized by the possibility of life on other worlds, and the eternal quest for such life always begins with the search for water.” Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com