Make your mark on Bartram’s Mile

On Saturday, members of the public will have a chance to help shape a new public greenway guiding visitors to a little-known gem in Southwest Philadelphia.

In the 18th century, John Bartram traveled along the Eastern seaboard collecting plants. He brought them back to what is now the nation’s oldest botanical garden. Known as “the king’s botanist” and friend to the Founding Fathers, Bartram has a low profile these days.

However, a devoted few have kept his house and garden open to visitors.

Backers call the new trail planned a mile north of the garden “Bartram’s Mile.”

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“We’re going to put the first pens to paper, or colored pencils to paper,” explains Harris Steinberg, director of PennPraxis, a design group at the University of Pennsylvania, of the Saturday event. “To kind of think through what the character and image and identity of this part of the Schuylkill and this trail in particular might be.”

In non-planner speak, that’s whether the trail needs room for biking or kite-flying or fishing — or all three. Eventually, city planners hope to connect Bartram’s Mile north all the way to the Schuylkill River trail.

The design event will be held at Bartram’s Garden from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.


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