The Toolkit for WetLand



WetLand, the art boat meets science lab, is growing into a floating public space for collaborative and cooperative experiments in sustainability on the Lower Schuylkill River, home to both refineries and bird sanctuaries. In tandem with the conference in April, PPEH will host a design competition and a series of workshops to build Ecotopian Tools for WetLand.

Proposals will introduce tools–whether conceptual or realized–for inhabitants of the Schuylkill watershed as they learn to adapt and, in some cases, to float on warmer waters. Successful proposals will be awarded micro-grants to allow for the proposal to be explored and possibly built, distributed, and used in the watershed and on the River. Then, throughout Spring 2017, we will organize a series of workshops designed to invent and build Ecotopian Tools for WetLand to promote stewardship of the Lower Schuylkill River at Bartram’s Garden. 


We invite you to participate in exploring how we all might learn to float–and to live and thrive–on warming and rising river waters. Climate prediction models agree that Philadelphia is becoming hotter and wetter. How can we best adapt to the higher temperatures and other extreme weather events that increasingly make up the new normal? The WetLand Project addresses this need to adapt and promote resilience through a year-long collaborative, multi-disciplinary project called Floating on Warmer Waters, which considers the complex relationship of people and nature on the Lower Schuylkill River. 

Use and maintenance of this liquid environment is jointly managed by artist Mary Mattingly; Bartram’s Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the United States; and the University of Pennsylvania’s Program in Environmental Humanities. Expanding on initiatives piloted over the last twelve months, the WetLand Project is now generously also funded by a grant from the Whiting Foundation (details here).

The Review Committee is composed of Mary MattinglyBethany Wiggin, Paul Farber, Nathaniel Popkin, Nicholas Pevzner,  Nikhil Anand, Danielle Redden, Patricia Kim and Kate Farquhar.

For more information, contact WetLand Project Coordinator, Kate Farquhar ( or PPEH director, Bethany Wiggin (


Download the PDF version of Ecotopian Toolkit CFP and Expose.