Matthew has continued to reach out to the public and inform them of the step they can take to become stewards of sustainability within their community. Additionally, he has begun to positively impact the large business network with his efforts in developing a sustainable business compact. He has been working hard on creating operational actions and public commitment statements that business pledge to support and promote in their business plan. The real impact will come later in the year when all that Matthew has done will be finalized and set to launch in early January. With the focus of the compact that Matthew has help develop, it will change the way the region conducts business and will influence other business that may not value sustainability.
October was a busy month here at GBA. During the first half, I traveled to Toronto for the Greenbuild Conference with other GBA staff and SCA Fellows where we volunteered, learned, and networked with other professionals. The week following, the AASHE Conference was held here in Pittsburgh, and I put together a presentation on PCI that attracted 20 attendees. I attended several other presentations there and met sustainability officers from across the country as well. October saw the advancement of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan into final formatting and editing, as we have brought on a graphics design intern to help us finalize the layout and final look of the document. The October PCI Newsletter was sent out, but seemed to once again hit more spam folders than inboxes. For the November newsletter, I will be working to improve the open rate by further refining the newsletter. This month I coordinated with HECC member schools to organize the fall service event event, a tree planting day with 9 Mile Run. Unfortunately, volunteer coordinators at schools and I were unable to generate many signups, and the first snow of the season deterred those who had registed from coming, but in the end 2 students, 2 faculty members, and myself along with a host of community members helped 9 Mile Run Watershed Association get 20 new trees in the ground. Lastly, I organized and facilitated the October PCI Partners meeting where we discussed next year's future funding, the Solar Decathlon competition, and ongoing programmatic activities.
The Regional FPC Symposium continued to dominate my workload but, as the month progressed, I started focusing more and more on PGE events and getting things ready for the Harvest After Party.
PFPC- I finished up the registration brochure for the symposium and several different press releases and sent out all of the materials to every media outlet I thought appropriate, plus some. Then I sent it to all personal contacts to try and spread the word and get as many registrations as possible (scholarships are riding on this!). Now we are waiting for the registrations to roll in! I also worked with Heather and the Zoo’s catering company to come up with an appropriate menu and contract. I was not in town to attend the monthly PFPC meeting but I did distribute the minutes upon my return.
Penn State- This was an interactive month at PSE. I tabled for two days at the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center Fall Harvest Fest in State College and spent quite a bit of time coming up with ideas for the table. I ended up doing coloring sheets, recipe cards, and having many Food Day materials. I interacted with around 110 people over the weekend and many more saw the table. Then, I got to attend and help with the Food For Profit program and the Kitchen Incubator mini-conference, both at Slippery Rock.
PGE- Two great events happened this month, the Kid Friendly Brain Food Nutrition Class with Kim and the 2nd Annual PGE Seed Swap. I did fairly strong marketing blasts for both. The nutrition class was a hit with kids and parents, alike, and the seed swap had great attendance and was raved about on the PGE meetup following. Great progress was made with the Harvest After Party, as well. I got a band to commit as well as secured the venue for the party.
Other- I did a lot of outside volunteering to try and make up hours. All was a blast and I hope to continue it this month: Greenbuild Conference, PPC end of the year garden cleanup, trail maintenance in Rock Creek Park, Arbor Aid, Breathe Campaign Launch, and the Friendship Halloween Blitz. I also was able to go to the AASHE conference for a day which was a great treat.
In October 2011, my big project finally reached the zenith of testing and preparation and was rolled-out! The GreenNurture software platform, an interactive sustainability network (similar to social media) intended to promote County sustainability and training among County employees, finally launched on October 27th after many delays and weeks of testing. We hope that the project will promote County sustainability efforts while also educating its users about sustainability basics that they can do with minimal effort in their office. We also were able to attract some sweet prizes to use as incentives for the project. In exchange for meaningful suggestions that lead to real economic and environmental savings in County operations, users could receive a pair of Steelers tickets and other prizes.
Finally, work on the Coordinated Weatherization Campaign was completed and concluded at the end of the month.
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.
though the Green Workplace Challenge officially launched on September 14, competitor registration remained open through October 31. By the end of October, 46 organizations had registered for the Green Workplace Challenge. I planned and executed the first of the monthly workshops offered to Green Workplace Challenge participants, which focused on how to get started on using the EPA's Portfolio Manager software to track utility usage and building performance over time. I continued to keep the Green Workplace Challenge website up to date and respond to participants' questions and concerns, and also facilitated a meeting of the Green Workplace Challenge oversight committee to address several policy questions that had been raised. Lastly, I facilitated a meeting of the Business Climate Coalition, where I brought members up to speed on progress made thus far on the Green Workplace Challenge, and the future direction of the BCC was discussed.
Besides a significant amount of time coordinating materials and people for the fall fundraiser, which occurred October 21st, I focused my energies on attending hearings, tabling at events, resecuring my Smoke Reader's Certification, and working with a group of students from the Science and Technology Academy in Oakland to develop a "Science Forum" program, with the help of a couple committed teachers and LOTS of time to plan. I met this group through the Youth Leading Change convergence that accompanied a larger convergence for social change organized by the Three Rivers Community Foundation. The project is still in its early stages but conceptually, it will entail a giant dodgeball game engaging the entire high school in a discussion about air pollution and how it affects our lives and our communities. What with a debriefing session, materials planning, and additional lectures and presentations to accompany the game, this is a massive undertaking and will give lots of different kids some major event planning experience. Also, because of my involvement with the convergence, I've since been in touch further with the Three Rivers Community Foundation to get a better perspective on how TRCF secures college interns to support their various programs, with the idea that perhaps GASP could advertise for similar part-time assistants to help with tabling and presentation functions. I am proposing to GASP that they invite college students to intern with them next year, in addition to the SCA fellow, who can perhaps oversee the part-time interns.
October is sunflower harvesting month with every week filled with volunteer opportunities and seeds to separate and dry for next year’s planting. This month we began implementing the Troy Hill design which required tire painting sessions with neighborhood youth, an installation day with University of Pittsburgh students and a follow up work day constructing tire steps. SPARC is beginning to think about next steps for the youth certification program, fall and spring installations and phase two of the pilot project. I will be working with artists and landscape architects to build a rain garden and artistic demonstration on vacant land along the corridor. As the fellowship is drawing to a close in two short months, I am completing as many of my projects I can.
This month my primary focus has been on creating Case Studies of Green Building projects that the URA has assisted either financially or with infrastructure. I also calculated the energy use and energy star rating of a URA Energy Star Home that was built last year. The resulting energy use of the home was below the predicted outcome which was really great. This month I also planned a screening of Carbon Nation for URA folks to learn about solutions to global warming during their lunch break. I also organized a tour of Three PNC Plaza for our Green Team which was very successful. Another green building tour is scheduled for next month at the Sota Construction Office. Along with my Green Team duties and organization, I have helped many people at the URA sign up for the LEED Green Associate Exam. I am now starting to work on sustainability guidelines for a project in East Liberty with another URA intern.
My volunteer hours this month included helping out with the press conference for the Breathe Project and on Halloween, I went door to door with PennFuture to hand out home energy efficiency products.
We were given two great opportunities to organize neighborhood events this month. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) hosted a conference in Pittsburgh on October 9, opening up a tremendous chance for us to recruit student volunteers enthusiastic about the environment. The event led us to work with a new neighborhood, the Northside, because of its proximity to the event venue and because of its rich history that we wanted to show off to students new to the area. They accomplished twice as much as we thought they would, reaching almost 70 houses.
Previous work with the Friendship community groups allowed us to plan a last-minute Halloween blitz in the neighborhood. Costumed volunteers went “reverse trick-or-treating” as they knocked on doors on October 31, giving their neighbors bags of goodies. Despite rainy, cold weather, blitzers gave out over 100 bags in two hours. This Halloween blitz will be the last for the year, bringing us to five neighborhood blitzes this year!
October was another great month at Global Links. As always, my main focus was on sorting still usable medical supplies so they can be boxed up and shipped out to resource poor areas of Latin America and the Caribbean. I started supervising volunteers on a brand new Monday evening shift and I started supervision a wheelchair repair shift with University of Pittsburgh engineering students. Also, I was able to represent Global Links at two outreach events; a volunteer/internship fair at Point Park University and at the Wilkins School Community Centers EcoFest. The highlight of the month had to be Global Links hosting Green Drinks. I got the opportunity to talk to a lot of interesting eco-minded people about what Global Links does while enjoying some delicious food and drink.
October saw some remarkable headway on the Pittsburgh Green House. Besides the physical space changing dramatically—mostly demolition, but construction began within the last few days of the month—I secured enough EcoLife lumber at cost thanks to Carter Lumber for our back deck. I also attended Green Build and met many vendors and manufacturers of green products that have the potential to be highlighted at the PGH. Our newsletter responses came back with overwhelmingly positive results, and we’ll be moving toward incorporating those responses into future newsletters. I’ve also begun working on a few net zero development projects that ACTION is involved with, which has been super exciting.
My month with Trees also went very well as the weather was nice and we’ve begun doing plenty of outdoor work. I made a few trips to Eisler’s tree farm with Lisa and Mark from Western PA Conservancy in order to pick out healthy, vibrant street trees that will be going into the ground starting in November. I participated in two Tree Pittsburgh Mulch Madness events where we mulched previously planted trees in order to help keep the soil above their roots healthy and provide a natural barrier for people and lawnmowers to avoid. Tree Pittsburgh hosted Arbor Aid, which was a great event that I put a lot of volunteer hours into. The space looked tremendous and it was very well attended with some really unique and beautiful pieces of woodwork. Once I’m rich I’ll be buying lots of good furniture from Arbor Aid.
The Green Workplace Challenge officially began on September 14, and through the end of September, we've had 26 organizations register to participate. Due to the sometimes lengthy chain of approvals that some businesses (particularly large ones) must go through in order to be cleared to participate in the GWC, we've extended our registration deadline through October 31. Continuing with GWC planning, I helped determine the sequence of topics that we'll be presenting to GWC participants in the monthly workshops that will be offered. Throughout the month, I kept the website up to date with a current list of participating organizations, posted on the GWC blog, and responded to questions about the competition from potential participants.
The month of September I fully embraced my role as event planner/organizer while also stepping up to the plate for several other opportunities. Work with PGE, after a highly successful seed saving class, was focused on finding a space for the nutrition class I have been planning as well as trying to find a venue for the Harvest After Party. The nutrition class was taken care of with some help from our friends at the JCC and will be held at Colfax elementary. I put the second half of the seed series, the Seed Swap, on all of the appropriate calendars and then things started picking up steam for the HAP venue search. Once a venue is confirmed, doorprizes and bands can be confirmed as well.
The Symposium once again took the main stage but two important pieces fell into place: a venue (the Zoo) and a grant (from SARE). I spent many hours working with the PSE support staff and contacting the presenters to build a registration brochure to our liking with all of the proper information. The final version is still underway. I also drafted a press release, which will be sent out soon, and started working on catering details. On top of that I facilitated my first PFPC by myself and followed up with the minutes and other pertinent documents and also organized and participated in a conference call with the symposium speakers.
I kept up a steady pace for Yum with seven facebook updates, five more ‘likes’ and four blog posts. I also attended the Food Day planning meeting and contributed to the event planning for that. I continued to send my weekly schedules to Deb in the office, participated in the monthly staff meeting, and watched one webinar for professional development. I also assisted Heather in gathering descriptions and numbers for her PSE report.
The SCA and MWCDC trail day was a great success (thank you weather) and I contributed with lots of flyering, contacting folks to volunteer, and taking pictures day-of. I also helped other SCA fellows with the Lawrenceville Business Blast, the Riverview Trail Day, YERT tabling, and the Transportation Exploration.
Additionally, I did some volunteering outside of SCA: I became a regular volunteer at Global Links and will continue to work there and I worked for the Taste of Grow Pittsburgh event. I also registered for the Greenbuild conference in Toronto as a volunteer.
Most of my time in September was spent preparing for the start of the 2011 High School Urban EcoStewards and planning, publicizing and preparing for the 2011 Fall volunteer work days. For HUES, I met with partners from the 6 schools we're working with, presented to students, distributed and reviewed applications, and began planning individual sessions. For the volunteer program, I publicized the event through our website, e-blasts and newsletters; publicized it through other online forums; and generated a handout which I distributed at tabling events. The PPC has four large public volunteer work days scheduled and a number of smaller private volunteer days.
I tabled a good deal in September at a number of community events including Pitt's Student Volunteer Outreach fair, the Sprout Fund Biodiversity Festival, and the ALCOSAN fair. At these events I distributed PPC materials, information about volutneer opportunities and led a tree identification exercise.
The two projects I spent the most time this month on where site designs for fall installation for the SPARC corridor and Troy Hill demonstration site. We are working with the city to implement a design on Meadow Street across from Mike’s Autobody Shop. Portions of the project will be installed by the Department of Public Works, TreeVitalize and volunteers. The next steps of SPRAC are developing a landscape certification program, researching community ovens and other components to be installed at the Larimer Village Green. In Troy Hill, I designed an informal gathering space that is kid-friendly so the youth will not play in the busy streets of the neighborhoods.
Matthew Henderson is exceeding the expectations in his field work and is determined to have as many business owners as he can get to become a Certified Sustainable Business. Within the past month, Matthew has reached out to numerous boroughs within Allegheny and Beaver County. Through his diligence and determination, the success of the Sustainable Business Designation program is a leading example of how to begin improving a community. Moreover, it is important to understand the work Matthew has done as part of a larger picture in promoting sustainability, not only in local communities but also within the greater region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The idea of Matthew's work is a bottom up approach toward sustainable communities, while other projects he is working on are guided from the top down, allowing for a wider spectrum of outreach to the region's communities.
Four events -- the Green Business Blitz, Transportation Exploration, the Tackle-A-Stealer Challenge, and a Pirates ticket giveaway and game – took place this month. With help from our media director, I put out a press release announcing all that we were involved in this September. Coverage in Pop City, the Post-Gazette, and Essential Public Radio all helped drive attendance numbers.
The Green Business Blitz went smashingly. Over 180 participants signed up to walk Butler Street, where thirteen volunteers handed out over 1,000 green giveaways. The day was gorgeous, there weren’t any major incidents, and we had a lot of great conversations with neighbors about how they can save energy and water in their homes. Businesses were happy with the end results and so were we. Overall, about 5 months of planning ended in a successful event.
Transportation Exploration proved to be a really great event as well. BikePGH, Port Authority, Mattress Factory, and PCI all took part in this day to encourage sustainable ways of commuting. We signed up a good number of people and recorded how far all of the commuters travelled. Even though the day was rainy, everyone was a happy commuter and we gave out lots of information about our projects.
The Tackle-A-Stealer Challenge ended this month. Winners are still undetermined and will be announced next month. The Pirates game was a fantastic way to reward our existing participants and bring new people on board (and see a great team play ball).
Some events that we took part in this month were the Mother Earth News Festival and the Your Environmental Road Trip screening. The fellows took part in the finishing and opening of the Emerald View Trail Park, which was a fun way to get outside and get into the community.
In September, organizing "Transportation Exploration" with Bike Pittsburgh, the Port Authority, ZipCar, Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, GASP, Mattress Factory and PCI was a big part of my month. I oversaw the solicitation of food and drink, managed publicity including writing a press release and communicating with media, and coorindated between the organizations. The event received media hits in the City Paper, Pop City, and Post Gazette and a radio and TV crew attended the event, which saw roughly 150 attendees. Speakers included the Exec. Director of BikePGH and Assistant Director of Transportation for Southwest PA Commission, and Director of Innovation from Green Building Alliance, as well as others from Port Authority and Sustainable Pittsburgh.
In addition, further revisions were incorporated into the Climate Action Plan as we presented a close-to-finalized document to a city council member, where we discussed city council adoption. He approved of the document, and the adoption process will begin in January of 2012 and likely take 4-6 weeks with several hearings taking place before a final vote by council. The plan should encounter little resistance and is expected to pass easily.
Another PCI newsletter was sent out, with further declining open and click rates. I will need to construct the language in next month's newsletter more carefully to better navigate spam filters as that appears to be an issue. I submitted the materials for a Green Cities Fellow to work solely with HECC next year, and designed a flyer for the fall volunteer event with 9 Mile Run. I also organized and facilitated the September PCI Partners meeting where we discussed next year's Green Cities Fellows, the Climate Action Plan finalization and adoption process, and ongoing programmatic activities.
My most notable accomplishments in September were developing a print and online survey for the readers of the Go Green Newsletter, developing the Energy 202 class, completing the text for the infographic signs at the Pittsburgh Green House, and writing a bid for tree pruning in Friendship Parklett. To date we’ve received 65 responses to our newsletter survey—the majority of them being overwhelmingly positive—which will help me craft a more appealing and relevant newsletter.
I am developing an easy but thorough home audit for participants in our Energy 202 class to become more involved with their house and learn about the most cost effective energy efficiency measures available to their specific home’s characteristics.
Writing the tree bid has been an exciting process and I’m looking forward to being the point person for the contractor that we select when the bid actually goes out in mid-October.
Overall great month and I’m looking forward to accomplishing even more as this fellowship nears its completion.
|City of Pittsburgh, Urban Forester (Partner)|
|ACTION-Housing, Inc. (Partner)|
|Map of Green Cities 2011 Partners|
|Group Against Smog & Pollution (Partner)|
|Urban Redevelopment Authority (Partner)|
|Global Links (Partner)|
|Sustainable Pittsburgh (Partner)|
|East Liberty Development Inc. (Partner)|
|Penn State Cooperative Extension (Partner)|
|Pittsburgh Garden Experiment (Partner)|
|Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy|
|Allegheny County Office of Sustainability (Partner)|
|Green Building Alliance (Partner)|
|Taiji Nelson's Bio|
|Megan Zeigler's Bio|
|Christov Churchward's Bio|
|David Chunn's Bio|
|Lauryn Stalter's Bio|
|Loralyn Fabian's Bio|
|Megan Morrissey's Bio|
|Miriam Parson's Bio|
|Lara Nagle's Bio|
|John Jameson's Bio|
|Matthew Henderson's Bio|
|Kyle Kline's Bio|
|Ann DeSanctis' Bio|
|Amanda Virbitsky's Bio|
|Matthew Henderson's October Update|
|John Jameson's October Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' October Update|
|David Chunn's October Update|
|Taiji Nelson's October Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's October Update|
|Lara Nagle's October Update|
|Megan Zeigler's October Update|
|Megan Morrissey's October Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's October Update|
|Kyle Kline's October Update|
|Christov Churchward's October Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's September Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' September Update|
|Taiji Nelson's Sept Update|
|Megan Zeigler's September Update|
|Matthew Henderson's September Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's September Update|
|John Jameson's September Update|
|Christov Churchward's September Update|