PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY
SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY FELLOW
June has been yet another exciting month. Our Walks in the Woods programs have begun. They are volunteer docent-led walks every Wednesday evening that take place in each of the four city parks: Riverview, Highland, Frick and Schenley (Go here for the schedule of walks). I prepared a packet for each of the docents, which included natural and cultural history facts, as well as things to do and the volunteer opportunities for each park. I also provided them with interesting historical photos, maps, and postcards to enhance the experience for those attending the walks. Shortly after my evaluation at the beginning of the month, my wish to become further involved in environmental education activities at the PPC was granted. Here are a few highlights from the month:
June 4- Worked with 36 members of the Americorps Literacy group on their site in Highland Park to fix deer exclosure fencing, remove 47 bags of garlic mustard, 3 tires, and plant 23 tree seedlings in open canopy areas.
June 6- Mitzvah Day with eleven members of Temple Sinai. We worked on removing invasive vines and garlic mustard in upper Frick Park.
June 11- City High Charter School Urban EcoStewards session. We worked with the students to implement erosion control techniques on the upper hillside of their site in Schenley Park. We secured jute netting in open areas, a biodegradable net that helps to keep the soil in place while attempting to grow vegetation there.
June 24- This was my favorite day of the month. In the morning, Marijke and I led a walk in Schenley Park for 8 and 9 year olds from the Carnegie Science Center Summer Camp. The walk focused on the importance of native plants and watersheds and included TWO scavenger hunts (one at the stream, one in the woods)! In the afternoon, I met up with Lori Gaido and a group of recent high school graduates who are serving internships through the Heinz Endowment Fund. I gave an informal presentation on the history of the PPC, the scope and importance of their work, and what I do at the PPC. That evening, I went to a pruning and invasive species workshop for PTAG volunteers in Frick Park. It was co-led by Matt from Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest and Erin from the PPC. I helped to coordinate schedules and set up the time and details for this event, and I even learned some things by attending it!
June 25- The final session of High School UES with City High. While all of their previous sessions focused on stewardship activities, this session was devoted to walking through the park to explore the nature that they had been working to protect this winter and spring. We also spent time brainstorming for their final projects, which will be presented at the end of the year picnic on July 9! I am very excited for their presentations. They are a fun group.
June 29- My first PPC blog was posted, recapping the spring volunteer season with pictures galore! If you have a keen eye, you can find three of the other Green Cities fellows in these pictures (one of them is close to impossible unless you know what his hair and clothes looks like!)
Community Day progress:
Miriam, Jake and I attended the Hazelwood Initiative member meeting on June 8 to present our project goals and ideas for the day to members of the community. We received a positive response and it helped to generate ideas for picking a date to host the event, as well as to hear what the community wanted to include in the day. Since then, we have worked on contacting groups in Hazelwood and honing in on what projects are feasible to complete for the day. We used the second half of our SCA meeting to visit Hazelwood and check out project locations and talk to some members of the community about the project. It looks like we are going to host it on Saturday, August 21. I am really excited about this. We will be working on contacting church and community groups this next month. I will be working to help out with outreach and recruiting volunteers for the day.
GREEN BUILDING ALLIANCE
In June 2010 my main priorities have been to coordinate Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI) Partner task force meetings and plan a workshop for the Higher Education Climate Consortium (HECC). HECC’s July workshop will present two case studies of local campus emissions inventories and climate action plans, with discussion of how local campuses can benchmark progress among each other. I am continuing research for Pittsburgh’s second climate action plan, with each sector developing recommendations. Finally, I have helped with footwork and planning for our crew’s service project in Hazelwood.
THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH
Sustainable City Fellow
Sarah’s work as an SCA Sustainability Fellow in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency generally falls into four categories: education and outreach, continuing personal education, internal work, and volunteering.
Education and outreach work includes things like hosting or tabling at appropriate events, symposiums, or conferences as a representative of the Mayor’s Office or the SCA. Education and outreach for June: completed and sent out the first e-mail update from the Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency to over 400 subscribers.
Continuing personal education includes attending various conferences, symposiums, workshops, or classes to increase awareness and understanding of a wide variety of sustainability and environmentally-related topics.
Personal education for June: wind investment conference; attended water matters conference to learn from leading innovators about new technologies and the importance of water; attended Liquid Knowledge – a discussion of the Water Matters conference hosted by the New Pittsburgh Collaborative; participated in the River Quest Environmental Boat Tour to learn about the history of Pittsburgh’s rivers, current initiatives to improve water quality, and environmental challenges area waterways face; attended the Green Innovators tour of the Connelly Center; attended a day-long grant writing class through the Carnegie Library.
Internal work describes work being done within the Mayor’s Office to incorporate sustainability into City operations and services.
Internal work for June: met with various Pittsburgh authorities to discuss including them in the second version of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan; attended Pittsburgh Climate Initiative meeting to discuss increasing city-county collaboration.
Volunteering is anything that she finds fun and worthwhile to help a good cause or a good friend after hours!
Volunteering for June: helped plant and weed sunflowers on 2 GTECH lots; helped construct a rain garden with East Liberty Development Inc.
PENN STATE EXTENSION, FOOD POLICY COUNCIL AND THE PITTSBURGH GARDEN EXPERIMENT
Sustainable Agriculture Fellow:
Penn State Cooperative Extension
• Attended tour of value added food businesses in Pittsburgh for planning of National Value Added Conference to be held in Pittsburgh in 2011.
• Attended final session of Exploring the Small Farm Dream
• Wrote first of weekly blog posts for yumpittsburgh entitled, This Week at the Farmers Market.
• Visited Farmers at Phipps and the East Liberty Farmers Market to meet with farmers and help promote their products through the yumpittsburgh blog
• Met with Reva Gorelick from Plant to Plate and was interviewed about school gardening initiatives and sustainable food systems work
• Met with Heather to discuss me co-teaching ESFD course in the fall
• Attended meeting with members of PSU, Grow Pittsburgh, Food Studies program at Chatham, Women’s Small Business Development Center and PASA to discuss Local Foods Showcase
Food Policy Council
• I took the minutes for the Food Policy Council meeting and sent them out to the attendees
• I conveyed messaged from Danae Clark, the current chair, to the group in her absence
• I met with Heather Mikulas to discuss the current transition time of the Food Policy Council
• June 9th participated in the set-up of screening of Food, Inc. at Homewood Public Library
• Final Planning meeting for Food, Inc. event
• I sent out an email to the new FPC mailing list created after the 5% day at the East End Food Co-op. I also invited people on the mailing list to join our Google group
• Filled out survey about next steps for the FPC
Pittsburgh Garden Experiment
• Discussed strategic plan with Jeff for next year
• Drafted grant proposal information for PGE
• Thursday, June 10th I attended the school festival for Colfax Elementary to promote PGE
• Brainstormed ideas for future events and ways to give help people feel more connected to PGE
• Water Matters Conference for UN World Environment Day– June 3rd – collected resources and learned about various water issues from organizations and booths. Heard speakers on topics related to water resource and energy issues.
• Visited Food Share in Toronto, Canada on the day of their Annual General Meeting. Helped volunteer in garden and learned about their programs through lunch and a tour of the facility
• Met with Lori Gaido and my site supervisors to evaluate the progress of the fellowship
• Put together a powerpoint and a short oral presentation for the Americorps representative who visited the SCA office on June 23rd. I also participated in a short interview with the representative.
• I created a lesson about the food system for two groups of Heinz Youth in Philanthropy Interns. I met them at the Larimer Community garden, where they participated in weeding, seeding, transplanting and cutting herbs. We did an activity to learn about the global food distribution system that led into a discussion of a more regional and local food distribution model.
• Contacted members of Hazelwood Urban Gardens and the YMCA to discuss moving forward on the Community Service Day in Hazelwood.
EAST LIBERTY DEVELOPMENT, INC.
Sustainable Community Fellow
Loralyn's biggest projects this month:
ELDI: While continuing to work alongside many partners, she finished up her rain garden designs, the construction documents, ordered materials, budgeted, re-recruited many volunteers, planned the event day, and many other tasks that allowed the gardens to get into the ground on June 12th and 13th! A few extra steps are still needed to completely finish the gardens, and these will occur in July.
ELDI: Car Free Fridays are events to promote alternative modes of public transportation, and East Liberty’s event on June 18th had many partners on it. In June, Loralyn finished planning the CFF bike tour, walking tour, promoted CFF, and completed many other tasks in order to allow the event day to be successful and run smoothly. On June 18th, Loralyn tabled outside Whole Foods for the event, alongside the Port Authority, Trek Bikes, the City’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, and Zip Car. The bike tour was held that evening.
SCA: Her main project through her SCA placement in June was planning the Green Cities Corps Pittsburgh Blues Festival event. In order to create a more sustainable Festival, and demonstrate the sustainable initiatives that are happening throughout the Pittsburgh region, Loralyn worked to help get organizations, agencies, and green businesses on board to table, developed a means to recruit volunteers, and generally kept her team on track with duties (among her other tasks for the project). The Festival will be occurring in July: 23rd, 24th, 25th.