How Green Stormwater Infrastructure is Transforming Philly

By Green Philly (other events)

Friday, March 19 2021 12:00 PM 1:30 PM EST

DYK Philly has a 25-year plan to transform the health of our local waterways through a nature-based approach? The Green City, Clean Waters plan uses Green Stormwater Infrastructure like rain gardens and stormwater planters to reduce pollution, provide natural resources and make our city a more beautiful place to live.

Hear from local experts who are using Green Stormwater Infrastructure and community leaders who have seen the positive impacts during this panel discussion. 

Experts include:

  • Kristen Suzda, Architect RA, LFA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHD, Re:Vision Architecture
  • Melvin Powell, Executive Director, Sunflower Philly 
  • Chris Conti, Capital Projects & Facilities Manager, West Laurel Hill Cemetery 
  • Jamie Vann, Block Captain, University City


Kristen Suzda has almost fifteen years of experience planning and designing academic, institutional, commercial, and multifamily housing work. She began her career in historic preservation to extend the life of existing buildings and reduce the carbon footprint of architecture and construction. In subsequent work with adaptive re-use, new construction, and renovation, Kristen has integrated this expertise of time-tested techniques into current technology and practice. Kristen is motivated to create thoughtful, humane spaces that serve current needs while preserving resources for future generations. She is a cyclist, and a baker who has not attempted quarantine sourdough.

Melvin Powell is the Executive Director of Sunflower Philly and Co-Founder of Trash Club. Trash Club is a hyper-local civic awareness program built to educate citizens on the reduction of waste and shift the consumer mindset toward reusable, zero-waste, and sustainable lifestyle choices. Through informative digital content, volunteer community efforts and personal commitment, his goal is to help develop a scalable network of advocates committed to promoting and applying waste diversion techniques in their homes, neighborhoods, and cities.

Chris started at West Laurel Hill Cemetery & Funeral Home in Bala Cynwyd in 2014 as the Capital Projects and Facilities Manager. He is responsible for management of all 11 of the cemeteries facilities and all projects including property development, building renovations and restorations, road construction and maintenance, as well as West Laurel Hill’s extensive storm water system. Chris has also designed, developed and implemented The Laurels Pet Cemetery as well as its Aquamation Center, which in lieu of traditional flame cremation, Aquamation is a gentle, eco-friendly option that is a water-based, natural process also known as alkaline hydrolysis – the first of its kind for pets in Pennsylvania. In 2018 his role expanded to also maintain the facilities and capital projects at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

 Jamie Van is an instructor at West Chester University teaching Earth Science to pre-service teachers (PK-8th grade). She moved to Philadelphia 20 years ago for an internship at Morris Arboretum and never left. In 2007, she became Block Captain to continue block clean-ups, community activities, and efforts to beautify rental property gardens. In 2014, approached PWD about doing a GSI project on the block after the loss of 9 of 14 London Plane trees (Sycamore) due to Canker Stain infection.  PWD constructed 17 tree pits (11 GSI pits) on the block and completed the project in May 2019.

Lead support for this event is provided by the William Penn Foundation. 

Mailing Address

915 Spring Garden Street Suite 216 Philadelphia, PA 19123