An artist exhibits her love for the Delaware River

WHY did five people ask to tell us about theirs? Visions for the Delaware River Watershed – what it is and what it could be.

Adriana Amador-Chacon is a Camden resident who has built a strong connection with the arts and learned more about the environment over the years. As a child, she was known for either exploring nearby forests and climbing trees outdoors or watching Our Planet documentaries indoors. These influences can be seen in her craft today: She is a painter who focuses on depicting plants and animals outside of her work with the Center for Water Sciences. You can find her on Instagram @brrontte, which has a link to her online RedBubble shop.

LISTEN to Adriana Amador-Chacon and tell her story

One of the first things my family and I did when we moved to Camden was to walk over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. We went the whole bridge to Philly and when we first saw the whole view it was amazing. It’s amazing to this day.

In the summer I can see a lot of sailboats, a lot of people on jet skis, kayaking, and shipping containers. Sometimes you see fish jumping up and catching their food, and it’s great.

The fact that so many moving parts happen right here on the Delaware River gives us an idea of ​​how much water affects people and everything around them: animals, birds, insects.

That’s one of the main reasons I really love living by this river because I can just step out of my house and literally be here by the river and see all of the life that flows through it, all of the life that is around me around it is.

But I also saw oil on top of the river and lots of plastics. I would like to see less of it. I would love to see teams of people cleaning it up by the river to build community and help the environment.

I think doing something so interactive with your neighbors is very helpful, but I don’t see it as a final step. With so many new technologies set to help slow or prevent the current climate dilemma, I believe we must do our part by doing research now and practicing green habits until we have access to those technologies.

Adrianna Amador-Chacon, 20, of Camden, stands near the Delaware River in the Cramer Hill Nature Preserve. (Emma Lee / WHY)

As someone who believes in the phrase, “If you don’t have time for wellness, make time for sickness,” I believe that it is better to work on the problems we see today rather than wait until they’re too far from our control tomorrow. We all need one another because we are all part of a community.

Everything we do affects not only the people in our region, but also around the world. Just realizing how much responsibility we have as humans is massive.

Adrianna Amador-Chacon, 20, walks past an abandoned car at Cramer Hill Nature Preserve in Camden. (Emma Lee / WHY)

We also need to incorporate play into life and have fun with what we do. I am currently pursuing an alternative path to education. Using local internships, I learned basic coding, website design, video editing, basic animation, and more.

I plan to make a creative mark on the city of Camden for future generations through painting workshops, collaboration on murals in the city, and art events where everyone can come together and enjoy the creativity of their community.

Adrianna Amador-Chacon, 20, of Camden, walks along the Delaware River in Cooper’s Poynt Park. (Emma Lee / WHY)

With the individual efforts of those who trust that they have the power to help the planet, we can ensure that humanity can continue to enjoy the comforts of earth for a while. Now we just have to wait for the politicians to come together.

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The audio was reported and produced by WHYY’s climate and environmental reporter Susan Phillips.

This series of essays is part of the larger From the Source project and is supported by the Lenfest Institute, the National Geographic Society, and the William Penn Foundation.

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