Marah Vecenie June update

Early in the month I attended the PA Spring Into Savings Energy Seminar, which included a series of presentations and vendor exhibits from companies involved in incentive programs to help people think more wisely about their energy use. Even though I was clearly the youngest one there, and pretty much the only female, the event proved to be beneficial for our upcoming Sustainable Business Network project that I am helping to coordinate. I was given some good resources and information to compile for businesses in our River Towns to start thinking more about how they consume energy and the appeal that a “green” business may have on tourists in the area.
The Mon River Sojourn was a huge success this month. We had over 50 people in attendance and out paddling on the Monongahela River. All of the RTOC members were ‘safety’ boaters; we were helping to make sure everyone was together and accounted for. People on shore were curious as to why there were so many kayaks and canoes on the water. This was a site not seen often if at all. It was nice to know that we helped to put the sojourn together that made everyone’s heads turn that we passed by. There was a lot of positive feedback from the group that came along for the trip that day. A picture of me was even put in the local paper afterwards (shown below).
The Oyster Race took place in Pittsburgh this year, benefiting the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, so obviously we went to participate. After designing our matching “RTOC 4 Lyfe!” t-shirts, we headed to Pittsburgh with our bikes to race around the city completing tasks that really put your endurance to the test. Before the first course was complete, we had unfortunately already lost two bikes (Jeff’s chain and Jenna’s gears decided to bail on us). It was a lot of fun and a great team-building event. The bonus was that we got to help out our partners while they cheered us on every time we came back to base to reload.
In continuation of planning for River Fest in California, all of the Corps members went to Wyatt Park for a day in order to help open up view corridors to the river. Wyatt Park is situated right on the river, but it is hard to tell due to invasive trees and other plant life growing all over the fencing and hillside separating the two. We went in with gloves, hedge trimmers and handsaws to take them down. There was quite a bit of trash buried in with the mix as well. Some community members came by to see what we were up to and the borough came to help in cleaning up with a truck and a wood chipper; it was very helpful and nice to see the community supporting the work we were doing. There is still quite a bit more work to do in the park, but it is well on its way to being a nice place for people to sit and enjoy the river during River Fest later this summer.
In my free time I have been vigorously tending to my garden in our backyard. My squash is basically taking over the whole thing, as well as the tomato plants; I feel bad for my lettuce and onions. We had two new people move into the house this month as part of the Trail Town crew. The girls are great roommates and it’s been fun getting to know them. Sam, Ryan and myself took a mini trip to Presque Isle. It rained quite a bit but our camping spot was situated nicely under some trees so it was still a lot of fun. We got to swim for a bit in Lake Erie and bike around the island, which was pretty neat! My month concluded with Ryan and I going to see Modest Mouse in Pittsburgh at an outdoor venue. More fun times to come soon!