by Jean Bartholomew
On Saturday, rain and clouds gave way to sunny, warm weather for our ﬁnal “Heart This City” service event in Point State Park. 80 volunteers from across Pittsburgh turned up to join AEO and SCA volunteers. It was exciting to see groups from Pittsburgh Cares, Pitt, CMU, Duquesne, the SCA Green Cities fellows, and Southwest employees join in the action to Heart our City!
Everyone was so enthusiastic and motivated to show their love for the ‘Burgh that meeting our project goals was a breeze. We raked bags and bags of leaves, planted 1,200 shrubs and ﬂowers, and mulched the areas surrounding our plantings. Our work was immediately noticed and appreciated. A cyclist even told us that she saw us working away from atop Mt. Washington!
While volunteers pushed on throughout the afternoon, artist Ed Trusk applied ﬁnishing touches to his giant, black and gold “Heart this City” Pittsburgh mural. It was pretty great to see cyclists and walkers stop to take photos in their Pittsburgh gear or holding up Pens towels. People were excited to hear that the mural would soon be displayed outside AEO’s Southside Headquarters in full view of a nearby bike trail.
Before the day’s end, I got to give my second interview since arriving in Pittsburgh, the ﬁrst being with local NPR station WESA. This time I talked to WPXI Channel 11 news, speaking about the awesome work we‘ve accomplished throughout AEO and SCA’s “Heart this City” collaboration. It’s been pretty exciting to have the opportunity to come back to my hometown and not only show Pittsburgh to my SCA co-leaders but to give my family and friends an idea of my work with SCA.
The day closed with a reception attended by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. Along with representatives from Point State Park and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), SCA leaders showcased our plantings for the mayor and explained the importance of the week’s projects for Point State Park and the City of Pittsburgh.
This service event and reception were an incredible conclusion to a month-long tour that took us to San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. I truly enjoyed the projects, and loved helping with the murals, and just really appreciated the opportunity to discover the reasons why people “heart” their cities, their parks, and their communities. It was especially ﬁtting for me to ﬁnish off in the city that has my own heart. Go Pittsburgh!