HomePublic Project Finalists: 2017 Excellence in GSI Awards

Congratulations to the Public Project finalists for the 2017 Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony!


The Public Project finalists are…


Crossroads at Robinson Green

Photo source: SALT Design Studio


Client: Rowan University, Facilities Planning Department
Planning/Design Team: SALT Design Studio, Edgewater Design, Marathon Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.
Construction Team: WJ Gross Inc.
Location: 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ
Watershed: Lower Delaware River


Rowan University, a public research university, recognizes that creating a high-quality campus environment and promoting a sustainable approach to campus development has a positive impact on their ability to attract and retain students and faculty.  As such, they chose to re-envision Robinson Circle, a 1.5-acre open space on the northern portion of their Glassboro, NJ campus. In the past decade, Rowan has significantly expanded its academic programs and built several new buildings in the north campus, making the location of Robinson a central, yet underutilized focal point.


The project team worked collaboratively with Rowan’s Planning & Facilities department, as well as with representatives from academic departments, the student body, and Rowan’s Grounds & Operations department to craft a plan for transforming Robinson.


The project team created a versatile, engaging hub that provides much-needed gathering places on campus, dramatically improves ecological health, and creates a strong visual identity for Rowan. The site now provides a range of outdoor rooms, offering flexible, multi-use spaces for students, faculty, and the broader community. The new design also showcases sustainable practices as it boosts habitat for native wildlife; captures, treats, and infiltrates stormwater; and provides an outdoor teaching lab for students and faculty. This project incorporated both structural and non-structural BMPs to address volume/peak reduction, runoff rate and infiltration capacity. Native trees, shrubs, flowering perennials, and grasses account for 84% of project planting, significantly increasing native biodiversity on campus


Completed in 2015, and renamed the Crossroads at Robinson Green, this project serves as a model for future sustainable development and educates Rowan students about the history and value of their own campus environment.


Jenkintown Creek Restoration

Photo source: TTF Watershed Partnership


Client: Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership
Planning/Design Team: AKRF, Cerulean, NAM Planning and Design,
Construction Team: ThinkGreen, LLC., Ruppert Landscape, NativeScapes
Maintenance Team: Cerulean, NativeScapes
Monitoring Team: Villanova University, Temple University
Location: 575 Washington Lane, Jenkintown, PA
Watershed: Tookany Tacony-Frankford Watershed


The Jenkintown Creek Restoration Project is a collaborative effort to improve water quality and monitor measurable improvements in a small watershed. The restoration activities to date include design and installation of several non-structural BMPs, including 3 rain gardens, a 100’ linear bio-retention feature, wetland enhancements, and installation of stream buffers along 1,500 feet of the Jenkintown Creek. The BMPs, which feature 935 native trees and shrubs, and nearly 3000 native herbaceous plants, manage the first inch of runoff from roadways and parking lots that previously directly discharged to the Creek and create important habitat for wildlife.


More than 1000 volunteers have supported TTF Watershed’s efforts on this project, including middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students from 9 different schools. Participating in such efforts provides students and community members with an appreciation of healthy watersheds and as a result, is improving stewardship of land and water resources.


Signage supports passive learning about a nature-based approach to stormwater management, the importance of clean water, and opportunities for community involvement.


The TTF Watershed Partnership’s monitoring and maintenance program, the TTF Streamkeepers, perform regular inspections of all stream buffer and green stormwater infrastructure projects, including this Jenkintown Creek headwaters project. The Streamkeepers program has 30 active participants who, with support from the Academy of Natural Sciences and Stroud Water Research Center, perform visual and basic chemical assessments. Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities and the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership are monitoring performance of the projects.


At least a dozen local design and construction firms and local native nurseries were engaged throughout the Jenkintown Creek Restoration project, including several members of SBN’s GSI Partners. 


TTF works to improve the health of our watershed by engaging our communities in education, stewardship, restoration, and advocacy. The Jenkintown Creek Restoration project is an example of TTF’s mission in practice. 


John H. Taggart Elementary Schoolyard Improvement Project

Photo source: Trust for Public Land


Client: School District of Philadelphia, Trust for Public Land
Planning Team: TEND Landscapes
Construction Team: Rockport Construction
Maintenance Team: Philadelphia Water Department
Location: 400 West Porter Street, Philadelphia, PA
Watershed: Delaware Direct


Since its founding, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) has worked with urban communities to create parks, with a goal of ensuring that there is a park or green space within a 10-minute walk of everyone living in urban America.


TPL’s Parks for People-Philadelphia program is converting barren, deteriorated, asphalt schoolyards into green, dynamic, public playgrounds with numerous opportunities for play, learning, exercise, and connection. In 2013, TPL selected the John Taggart Elementary School, a multicultural school whose vision is to “create a nurturing, supportive environment in which children can achieve and grow.”


Before this project, the entire schoolyard was asphalt, and the lower portion of the site was subject to frequent flooding, puddles, and icing, often making it unusable for recreation and outdoor activities.


TPL used its signature participatory design process to empower students and residents to create a fun, vibrant, play space that is unique to their community, and then to implement their schoolyard vision. The 12-week process was integrated into Taggart’s curriculum and not only involved educational design sessions with students and public workshops, but also field trips, community events, public speaking, and writing, drawing and modeling exercises. About 400 children from Taggart were involved during the planning phase to brainstorm ideas and wishes for their new schoolyard. A subset of 30 students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades made up the design team, and also participated in a stormwater education component.


The final plan combined stormwater management elements such as rain gardens and permeable multipurpose play and recreation space, with habitat enhancements and community garden beds.  Additional outdoor classroom spaces enable teachers to regularly take students outside. School and community gardens included in the design provide hands-on access to vegetables and herbs during the school’s existing healthy food programs. In total, 17 trees, 39 shrubs, and over 500 perennials and grasses were planted throughout the schoolyard.


The neighborhood’s opinion of Taggart schoolyard has changed dramatically because of the project. Once seen by the community as a place for unwanted activity, it is now seen as an asset.


Click here to read more about the Award Ceremony including finalists and winners, our keynote speaker, and more.


All of the winners will be announced and presented with an award at the 2017 Excellence in GSI Awards Ceremony on May 11th at FringeArts!  We’re looking forward to seeing you at the ceremony!


*Group rates and discounts for members are available.


2017 Excellence in GSI Awards
Thursday, May 11
6 PM to 9 PM
140 North Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106






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The GSI Partners are generously funded by the Surdna Foundation and the William Penn Foundation, as well as member and sponsor contributions.