Taiji Nelson’s October Update

In October, the volunteer and education programs started to pick up. I led two large public volunteer days where we planted and fenced 150 trees in Riverview and Frick Park, and two private days in Highland Park where we planted and fenced 125 trees and built 6 deer exclosures. I also led Session 1 of the High School Urban EcoSteward program for Ellis, Perry, UPrep and City High. During these sessions we covered material related to biodiversity, watersheds and invasive species and did stewardship activities to prep our site for planting including installing check dams and removing vines, jetbead, bush honeysuckle and goutweed. Finally, I began planning for the Mission Ground Truth curriculum development meetings by observing a session at Oglebay in WV, organizing the development team composed of staff from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Oglebay Institute, Frick Environmental Center, the Create Lab at Carnegie Mellon University and teachers from several private and public schools in Pittsburgh and West Virginia. I will be the point-person for expanding the program, which focuses on stream and forest data collection and analysis, into Pittsburgh through the Parks Conservancy.