Fishing along the Delaware River | Photo by Todd Pride, courtesy Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers & Outdoors Partners
The Circuit Trails Coalition Community Grant Program supports community-based, culturally-relevant projects and programs on or near multi-use trails that are a part of the Circuit Trails network, which currently encompasses 375 miles of completed trail. The program launched in April 2023 by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) with funding from the William Penn Foundation.
Through projects, activities and activations including tree plantings, bike riding lessons, art installations and more, the program intends to improve access to and increase use of the Circuit Trails, particularly in historically disinvested communities and among marginalized groups.
2023 Grant Announcement
A first-ever investment of $150,000 made in April 2023 supports 10 community organizations leading programming along trails in the nine-county Circuit Trails network in Greater Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
Recipients were awarded one-year or two-year grants of $1,000 to $10,000 per year for their projects. The awarded projects are set to launch in April 2023 and will continue to activate the Circuit Trails through 2023 and 2024.
The 9th Street Youth & Community Center serves the youth of Chester, empowering them to reach their full potential academically, socially and spiritually in a safe environment. Community Grant Program-funded activities will take place along the Chester Creek Trail in Eyre Park, and include tree plantings, tree tending, tree maintenance, summer habitat projects, basketball equipment, installing picnic tables and hosting mentoring and life skills workshops.
Artworks Trenton – Artworks Trail Jam (Trenton, NJ)
Artworks Trenton promotes artistic diversity by fostering creativity, learning and appreciation of the arts. Community Grant Program funding will allow Artworks Trenton to partner with Trenton Cycling Revolution’s Community Outreach Garage on the “Artworks Trail Jam.” The event will bring artists and community members together to create new art along a section of the D&R Canal Trail, increasing awareness of the trail and making it more accessible to the community.
The East Trenton Collaborative (ETC) is a community organization and development initiative that engages partners, supports businesses and builds the power of residents to make East Trenton a great place to live, work and play. ETC’s East Trenton Tactical Urbanism project incorporates a mix of outreach, low-cost physical improvements and programming to increase a sense of safety on and access to the D&R Canal Trail and the streets that connect to its entrances in East Trenton (Mulberry Street and Sherman Avenue). East Trenton Collaborative’s main goal for this project is to create equitable access to the D&R Trail by installing traffic calming infrastructure, creative wayfinding and public art.
Exploring Nature with Disability Pride PA (Philadelphia, PA)
Exploring Nature with Disability Pride PA is a project to find ways for our communities to come together again in 2023-2024 after the isolation and physical separation of the pandemic. Disability Pride PA, a nonprofit organization that promotes visibility and cultivates pride while advocating for an inclusive world, will produce activities along the Delaware River Trail from South Philly to Northern Liberties. Activities will include Walk & Learns, Picnic along the Delaware Trail, Disability Arts and Making Music with PHONK Philly.
Get Fresh Daily – Get Fresh Families Outside (Southwest Philadelphia, PA)
Get Fresh Daily, an organization that provides healthy living education through culturally relevant programs that center the Black community, is expanding its Youth Environmental Wellness Initiative by launching Get Fresh Families Outside. Get Fresh Families Outside is an initiative to teach campers how to ride a bike, while inviting families to ride with their children and enjoy the Circuit Trails. Program events will take place on the Bartram’s Mile Trail and the Cobbs Creek Trail.
Healing Through the Land (Philadelphia, PA)
Healing Through the Land is about reclaiming our relationship to the land, our community, our ancestors and ourselves. The Healing Through the Land initiative will engage community members with workshops, walks and other activities. These educational adventures aim to reconnect and elevate Black and Brown people to nature for holistic healing to inspire and build upon community sustainability in tangible ways. Events will be held on trails such as Cobbs Creek, Bartram’s Mile Trail, John Heinz Trail and many more.
Hike+Heal (Philadelphia, PA)
Hike+Heal Wellness, LLC is a diverse women’s hiking hive offering healing hikes and grounding experiences to increase overall physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Hiking is at the center of what they do because it clears the mind, by providing a sense of calm and peace while reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Hike+Heal takes a holistic approach to make hiking accessible for women of color through welcoming and safe programming, community connection and incorporating various healing modalities in their offerings.
Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers and Outdoors Partners – Circuit Trails Fishing and Birding Training and Experiences (Various locations in PA and NJ)
Todd Pride is the founder and lead coach of the Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers & Outdoors Partners training operation. Todd and his team of trainers facilitate fishing, birding, wildlife and conservation training activities for youth and their supporting adults across the Philadelphia region. The Circuit Trails Fishing and Birding Training and Experiences program will offer a free, monthly public fishing and birding training and outing from April through October along the Delaware River Greenway at Lardner’s Point, the Delaware River at Camden-Cooper River/Park and the Schuylkill River and trail tributary areas in Norristown.
Superior Arts Institute – #AdvocacyThruArt (Camden, NJ)
#AdvocacyThruArt is a project created by the Superior Arts Institute, an art-based organization that serves the Camden City community. The project will engage Camden youth in learning about the Circuit Trails through creating, filming and producing content that celebrates the trail and creates a heightened sense of belonging in urban green spaces.
Youth Development United – Chester Bike Rodeos (Chester, PA)
Chester Upland Youth Soccer strengthens the communities it serves by mentoring youth, engaging families and promoting healthy living by providing after-school and weekend soccer programming, mentorship and nutrition education for children in the traditionally underserved, suburban Philadelphia communities of Chester, Upland and Eddystone. The Community Grant Program will fund Chester Bike Rodeos, which will include riding lessons, bicycle safety and activities that encourage people to maximize health and wellness benefits while enjoying Chester’s Delaware Riverfront Trail and the Eyre Park Levee Walk along Chester Creek in Delaware County.