This month Kyle was able to lead volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh, MEDRAD, and PPG as part of the United Way’s Days of Caring. Over the three days the volunteer groups were able to sort and pack hundreds of pounds of clean linens, clean and paint over 100 IV poles, clean over 30 wheelchairs and prepared medical backpacks to be sent to graduates of Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM). As always, Kyle had lots of fun and with guiding the volunteers through their projects and he hopes to see them coming back to volunteer at Global Links soon.
Two main projects that Loralyn worked on in the month of September included the green roof bus shelter and the design of residential rain gardens. After attending the Art Commission hearing for the first time in August, Loralyn and her design team were given feedback on how to improve the design. After working alongside Tsuga Studios to create a new, final design, the team presented again to the Art Commission where they recieved final approval to install. Loralyn also spent a lot of her time this month designing the preliminary concepts for the several residential rain gardens that will be installed in the neighborhood this fall. Design charrettes were also conducted with the homeowners.
Along with fulfilling educational and outreach goals of the DEP grant for diesel/idling education (Act 124), I worked closely with a group of students from the Taylor Allderdice Cross-Country team to design comments for a press release hosted by Penn Environment, announcing the publication of a major ozone standards report. The head and assistant coaches were very supportive and helpful in rallying students for the press release, and I then provided background for the issue and prepped the students to provide comment and speak about their experiences as athletes exercising in polluted air. They spoke alongside City Councilman Bill Peduto, Matt Ward of Penn Environment, a representative from Sierra Club, and Jamin Bogi of GASP. One student remarked on his increasing trouble with asthma, another student delivered advice and tips to reduce one's exposure to air pollution while exercising, and still another framed the issue in a larger economic and public health context. We will hopefully work with this team once more this season, perhaps at one of the final races with GASP hosting the press conference. Additional work this month has gone towards the fall fundraiser, securing silent auction items and making sure that the final details with the caterer/venue staff are ironed out. And I've been brainstorming and designing curricula for an Athletes United Virtual Toolkit that will be useful for distribution to schools next year, along with addressing daily phone calls, emails, tabling events, and GASP meetings as they arise.
In September 2011, my role as an SCA Sustainability Fellow with the Allegheny County Sustainability Program reached a fevered pitch with the numerous projects that support the sustainability manager’s efforts to make Allegheny County a cleaner, more cost-efficient organization. In addition to daily administrative tasks, the planning and organizing of a strategy to roll-out the GreenNurture software pilot is close to being complete. Just a few more details to work out and the software should be ready to go live!
The Allegheny Green + Innovation Festival, the sustainability festival put on by the County, was successfully debuted on September 24th after months of organizing, correspondence and preparation. The festival was paired with another popular County festival (“Hay Day”) and so many more people who otherwise would not have been exposed to sustainable concepts got a chance to interact and be exposed. It was good publicity and outreach for County sustainability and for the County itself.
Finally, I have continued to assist the Coordinated Weatherization Campaign by working with project partners to write and edit a "white paper" report on the annual progress of the campaign. After numerous edits and revisions, the case study article is nearing completion and should go out next week. Hooray!
This month, my focus primarily on finishing Developer Resource Guides as well as starting work on URA Green Case Studies. The URA Green Team has had more successful meetings and are working on projects from sustainable deconstruction, homeowner energy efficiency guides, as well as other strategies to help minimize waste during the projected building move in the future. This month I passed the LEED Green Associate exam and am assisting other URA employees with registering and preparing for the exam. This month was also very busy with our service project in Mt. Washington. We had a very successful volunteer day to help put the finishing touches on a new trail. I also volunteered with the Pennfuture Business Blitz in Lawrenceville where I handed out energy efficient home products.
In August 2011, my role as an SCA Sustainability Fellow with the Allegheny County Sustainability Program has involved a wide variety of tasks that support the sustainability manager’s efforts to make Allegheny County a cleaner, more cost-efficient organization continue to be exciting and valuable learning opportunities. In addition to daily administrative tasks, I have been instrumental in planning and organizing a strategy to roll-out a software pilot that would assist in outreach to employees. I also designed and drafted the latest Allegheny Green newsletter that was released two weeks ago.
I have also continued the work with the County’s internal “Departmental Green Team” and its various sub-committees to identify and support energy efficiency measures that are happening within each respective County department. I also have been organizing a special committee of the Green Team to assist in the roll-out out of software pilot.
Finally, I have continued to assist the Coordinated Weatherization Campaign by working with project partners to write and edit a "white paper" report on the annual progress of the campaign. I have finally reached a culminating point in that work and I look forward to whatever is coming next!
main projects that Loralyn worked on in the month of August included the green roof bus shelter and residential rain gardens. This was a big month for the green roof bus shelter, as Loralyn prepared for the first of several City of Pittsburgh Art Commission hearings where the project was presented to the Commission for conceptual approval. There was good constructive critiscm from the Commission in regards to the project, and Loralyn and her design team will make edits for the second hearing (for final approval). August is also when Loralyn began design on her residential rain gardens funded through the Heinz Endowments. Two of these rain gardens will be located at the Borland EcoVillage co-housing site in East Liberty, and those gardens plus a large cistern (funded through the same grant), will mitigate 100% of the roof runoff of 7 co-housing town homes!
It’s been interesting how the weight of my duties seems to shift from month-to-month and, August was no different. The PFPC took a very commanding lead with PGE work picking up steam as well, but my responsibilities in regards to my groups’ SCA service project, was the dark horse of the month.
PFPC- The routine things did not change: we had another monthly PFPC meeting and I took the minutes, which I cleaned up, condensed, and distributed. We welcomed two new additions to the group, Nicole from councilwoman Rudiak’s office, and Laura, a graduate student at U Pitt. The symposium planning is what much of the month revolved around, namely trying to figure out exactly who we wanted and how the day would go and then, venue searching. This was achieved through surveys and conference calls. The venue search is still underway but we have commitments from several FPCs for speakers and are working on grants for funding for said speakers thanks to some tips from PFPC members.
PGE- With the Harvest After Party (HAP) looming near and the summer session of classes coming to a close, a whirlwind of planning took place between me, Jeff, and Katrina to brainstorm for the rest of the year. Several classes took shape including canning, and seed saving and several more, including a nutrition class, are in the works. I blogged on all of these, meetups were made, and a flyer was designed to promote the seed saving class. Going forward I am working on a media checklist for future events and to promote sales of t-shirts.
Penn State- Besides getting CPR and AED trained and certified (which was a nice surprise since I didn’t have to use conference funds) the rest of my work for PSU was mostly social media related. I posted frequently to the Yum facebook page, saw a 12% increase in facebook “likes” and blog about several events. I did venture out to a GBA Lunch & Learn regarding sustainable agriculture and supported two PFPC members, Leah Smith and Julie Pezzino.
SCA- Another month chock full of useful trainings: time management, resume and job search tips, graphic design, Global Links sorting, and campaigning and advocacy. The latter made me break out of my shell and confront people and was highly uncomfortable, but I think I made the most of it.
The service project group really stepped it up a notch with planning and completed the MOU for the project, met with Kathryn and others from the MWCDC, and generally got the ball rolling on everything that needs to be done for the event.
Other- Volunteered at Global Links again (I hope to become a regular) and was a mock interviewer and job speed dating candidate for the SCA Youth Crews.
August was spent organizing several volunteer days, updating Urban EcoSteward information and reformatting the High School Urban EcoSteward curriculum and session structure. Summer volunteer days included projects to improve tread and drainage of trails in Schenley and Highland Park, as well as removing invasive species in Schenley, Frick and Cliffside parks. At our last partner meeting for Urban EcoStewards, we reviewed the program guide I drafted. This month I edited the log, making the changes the group decided on. Additionally, I resolved confusion with the EcoSteward hours log, combining two disparate lists and updating hours and contact information for 2011. Finally, Marijke, two HUES teachers, the science curriculum coordinator for Pittsburgh Public Schools and I have been working to refocus the HUES learning goals and align the program with state education standards. In August, we mostly finalized the 2011 HUES programming.
The month of August was all about recycling. At the beginning of the month I met with a sales representitive from Pittsburgh Recycles in Hazelwood. From our meeting we determined that they would be a better fit for Global Links recycling needs then the city's recycling program. In addition to what we were able to recycle with the city, we now have an outlet for plastics #6-7, unmarked plastic products and clear plastic wrapping and plastic fiber paper (both are common packaging for sterile supplies). To go along with the new recycling process, I have set up new clearly marked recycling recepticles at Penn Ave and the warehouse. My hope is that this new partnership with Pittsburgh Recycles will divert a significant percentage of our waste away from landfills. I also cooridinated a tour of the Greenstar Recycling sorting facility for seven members of our staff. There we learned more about what happens to our recycling once it leaves our hands, of a new technology that will upcycle plastics back to sweet crude oil. In addition to all the recycling fun, I was kept busy with my volunteer shifts and sorting incoming medical supplies.
The first two weeks of August were spent finishing site work along the SPARC corridor. A majority of my time was spent meeting with the crew leaders, working with the crew, purchasing materials for the tasks, coordinating with contractors for prep and deliveries. We planted with the incoming teachers of Westinghouse Academy as well as 28 incoming freshman from Carnegie Mellon. After the conclusion of the program I have been finishing Troy Hill’s new design and the final draft of the Troy Hill report.
August saw the advancement of the Climate Action Plan to the initial review phase as feedback began to be incorporated into the document. In anticipation of upcoming elections and the conclusion of the plan, a meeting was set up with city councilman Bill Peduto's office to guide the document towards adoption by the council. Another PCI newsletter was sent out, with slightly declining open and click rates. I facilitated a HECC quarterly meeting where we discussed the potential for a dedicated Green Cities Fellow to work solely with HECC next year, and I have drafted an MoU between the schools as well as a job description for the position. We also settled on a final date for the HECC tree planting service project, October 29. I also organized and facilitated the August PCI Partners meeting where I brought in the Chief Sustainability Officer of Siemens Corp. to discuss the North American Green Cities Index and get feedback on how to improve future showings as well as provide Siemens feedback on what we thought were areas for improvement in the study. The Moving Planet Day event in Market Square has been officially given the moniker "Transportation Exploration", and will include Bike Pittsburgh, the Port Authority, ZipCar, Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, and PCI. Food and drinks have been succesfully solicited for participants, and we are working on a list of speakers for the event currently.
Matthew Henderson has been working continually on the "Sustainable Business Desigantion Program" and has seen great results! He has a dozen or more certifications and keeps certifiying business owners on a weekly basis. In addition to his traveling from town to town weekly, he has also been engaged in developing the Sustainble Business Compact, which is a program that brings corporations together to abide by sustainable principles that promote health, wealth, and prosperity to surrounding communities and the entire region. Matthew has been witnessing the momentum created when corporations pledge to support their communites.
My schedule with Sustainable Pittsburgh has been full of work this month as I have been moving forward in certifying business owners to the Sustainble Business Designation. I have visited 11 boroughs out of the 19 total and received 28 certifications. The amount of certifications does not yet match the intended goal of 40, however with the towns that I still need to meet with and conduct business visits, as well as, towns with follow up, I will be able to exceed the given goal and double the certifications received. I have also been working with Town Center Associates and introducing business owners to the Downtown First Pledge, in which I have recieved 49 pledges thus far. In addition to the Sustainable Business Designation program, I have also been working on benchmarking a Sustainable Business Compact program, which is moving forward in its development and implementation. Recently, I have conducted data entries and data analysis and interpretation to be used in future focus group discussions for the compact. Including the programs I'm working with and the impact it has and will have on the regions I'm thankful to be working alongside Sustainable.
The Green Workplace Challenge was publicly announced by Sustainable Pittsburgh on August 16. I finalized the GWC competition manual, added a Confidentiality section to the manual and website, added a "Getting Started" section to the website, and started blogging about updates to the manual and media coverage of the GWC. Since the public announcement of the Green Workplace Challenge, we've secured 12 participants, with even more verbal commitments. I was amazed to find out from our web developer that the GWC website had gotten almost 30,000 hits for the month of August! I've also gotten to help with publicity materials and outreach for the competition, including a presentation to the Young Executives Council of the Rivers Club. In only two weeks, the Green Workplace Challenge has been covered by several print, online, television, and radio outlets. I look forward to getting more registrants for the Challenge.
With the Pittsburgh Green House (PGH) project ramping up, I allocated most of my time this month to ACTION-Housing, Inc. Although I was able to do some work for the urban forester, the summer months are less conducive to tree work as Lisa spent the majority of her time running around doing TreeVitalize assessments and making sure the Batman filming wasn’t causing too much damage to our urban canopy.
The tree-planting project on the Busway is still moving ahead as scheduled – Rosedale Block Cluster was unable to provide knotweed removal services, but Eisler Landscaping has taken the lead on that and will be spraying the evil knotweed within the next few weeks. I am taking the lead on the TreeVitalize application, which is due in mid-October.
My tree PowerPoint is almost complete, but I have suspended working on it until a later date as there is currently no need for it and my time is better spent on more pressing matters. I have just begun, and will continue to work with Lisa next month on drafting bids to contractors for various TreeVitalize plantings.
Work with ACTION-Housing, Inc. on the PGH is in full force. I spent a number of days this month inside the Green House doing deconstruction work in preparation for our contractors to start making it the beautiful home we’ve designed. Through our deconstruction efforts we have diverted three cabinet sets, lots of scrap metal, and two rooms worth of ceiling tiles from the landfill with anything resalable being donated to Construction Junction.
On the technical side of things, we have finalized Paul Schifino’s infographics and letterhead designs. I have been working on improving and updating the infographics, which is a fluid process as technology and information are constantly changing. I was fortunate enough to meet the Carnegie Museums’ database manager, Jacob Gordon, at an Excel class, where he offered to create the database for the PGH pro bono. Thank you, Jacob! I have begun developing an Energy 202 class, which will focus on reading utility bills and using online tools to measure home energy efficiency in order to make the most cost effective home improvements.
The September newsletter – Recycling – turned out very well. We increased distribution by 42 people (36 print, 6 online). I consulted a graphic designer at an SCA training about the layout and received some very valuable critiques. Starting next month, in order to better reflect the fact that the newsletter does not revolve around one central issue (e.g. recycling), I will create a standardized subject heading that does not mention the content of our feature story. I will also realign the header so that readers’ attention will be drawn to more pertinent information. Besides the helpful suggestions, she said the newsletter looked great.
This month I have been learning all about Green Building and design by studying for the LEED Green Associate exam as well as creating Green developer guides that highlight sustainability principles and provide resources for green building and infrastructure. I also organized a tour for all of the URA interns of the former South Hills High School which was transformed into a retirement residence striving for LEED Platinum certification. The building features a CHP system and a solar array on the roof.
With the help of our fabulous summer intern, we kicked off two really fun initiatives this past month. One was the Tackle-A-Stealer Challenge. Teams from the Carnegie Science Center, ACTION-Housing, PROPEL, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Green Building Alliance, and other groups around the city will use energy meters to show them when something is an energy ‘stealer’ (an appliance, electronic, or charger that uses energy even after it’s turned off.) These groups will have until the second week in September to tackle as many of these stealers as they can to compete for a variety of prizes.
The other initiative that we were glad to roll out was screening Carbon Nation. Our first host location was the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, and was one that we proclaimed a success. More showings will be scheduled after next month winds down.
Planning for Moving Planet, or Transportation Exploration as we’re calling it in Pittsburgh, is underway. It’s shaping up to be a feel-good event which we hope will inspire people to steer clear of single-occupancy car commutes.
Our biggest event of the year, the Lawrenceville Green Business Blitz, is around the corner in September. Duquesne Light and Conservation Consultants, Inc. were two big helping hands in getting us thousands of green gadgets that blitz-goers will be getting for free. Our event just so happens to be on the same day as three other events in that neighborhood, so it’s going to be interesting to see everyone out that day. Everything should be coming together for that in the next two weeks!
Much of August was spent planning and meeting with potential partners for Athletes United. I am particularly excited to report that I presented AU material to my alumni high school cross-country team, which went very well and will lead to further involvement on their part, including providing material for Featured Athlete videos (first one already completed) and potentially a host for an AU press conference later in the season (when ozone is still of concern despite the temperature being cooler). I've also met with Sense of Place Learning at the Children's Museum, which is an organization run by two women who write Act 48 curricula and who are currently focusing on indoor air quality. We've exchanged presentation materials and I hope to gain more ideas for interactive presentations from this partnership. For instance, how to take an AU powerpoint literally into the field will take some creativity and tweaking, and I've already explored some options presenting to the high school team. There is another conference coming up that will engage high school students in AU as a vehicle to complete their required senior project, called the Building Change in Western Pa symposium, organized by the Three Rivers Community Foundation.
Otherwise, I have been volunteering at GASP and environmental events, planning a distribution campaign for diesel/idling information for commercial districts, and writing and researching for email alerts and making video reports.
In addition, John, Lauryn, and I are organizing a low-carbon commute day for Sept. 23rd that will convene in Market Square with organizations distributing information and free breakfast for commuters!
The Green and Screen service project planning is coming along as well, with our first installment for the rain barrel demonstration to occur Oct. 18th.
In July, I forced myself to limit the number of volunteer days (5 in total) to focus on other projects. Throughout July, I have worked along with the PPC Director of Education, the Science Curriculum Coordinator for Pittsburgh Public Schools, and two teachers involved with the HUES program to develop and focus the curriculum, as well as streamline the program so it can be applied uniformly to our 7 schools. We have been aligning our learning goals with state standards for environmental, language arts and history standards, using this information to refine our own learning goals. As Program Coordinator for the Urban EcoSteward Program, I updated UES forms and logs, coordinated and led meetings and events, and drafted the UES Program Guide that will be used be used by other agencies to create independent UES franchises outside of the City of Pittsburgh. I also led 6 hikes through the four parks, focusing on watershed ecology, biodiversity, plant pathogens, and tree identification. Finally, I oversaw the SCA crew operating in Highland Park. I offered knowledge about environmental science; technical training and information regarding invasive species, erosion control and trail building; and assistance with physical tasks. (I fulfilled the duties of my boss when I was an SCA Crew Leader last summer!)
In the month of June my time was spent leading volunteers and sorting incoming donations at Global Links Penn Ave office. This month I added two new volunteer shifts to my schedule; Wednesday 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm. During these Wednesday shifts I lead volunteers in like-item sorting the categorized boxes that result from my Thursday macro-sorting volunteer shifts. June was also a month of recycling projects and events. I was tasked to research a more efficient way Global Links could deal with their recycling. I set up a meeting with a representative at Pittsburgh Recycling in Hazelwood which will occur in August. My hope is that this is the first step to diverting a significant amount of waste out of landfills. (Stay tuned for next month’s report for how this turns out!) I collected usable medical supplies and equipment at PRC’s Hard to Recycle collection event at Brashear High School and volunteered for waste management at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival.
|Kyle Kline's September Update|
|Loralyn Fabian's September Update|
|Lara Nagle's September Update|
|David Chunn's September Update|
|Megan Morrissey's September Update|
|David Chunn's August Update|
|Loralyn Fabian's August Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' August Update|
|Taiji Nelson's August Update|
|Kyle Kline's August Update|
|Megan Zeigler's August Update|
|John Jameson's August Update|
|Matthew Henderson's August Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's August Update|
|Christov Churchward's August Update|
|Megan Morrissey's August Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's August Update|
|Lara Nagle's August Update|
|Taiji Nelson's July Update|
|Kyle Kline's July Update|
|Lara Nagle's July Update|
|David Chunn's July Update|
|Loralyn Fabian's July Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' July Update|
|Matthew Henderson's July Update|
|John Jameson's July Update|
|Megan Zeigler's July Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's July Update|
|Christov Churchward's July Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's July Update|
|Megan Morrissey's July Update|
|Loralyn Fabian's June Update|
|Kyle Kline's June Update|
|Megan Morrissey's June Update|
|Megan Morrissey's June Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's June Update|
|Lara Nagle's June Update|
|John Jameson's June Update|
|David Chunn's June Update|
|Christov Churchward's June Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' June Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's June Update|
|David Chunn's May Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' May Update|
|Kyle Kline's May Update|
|Lara Nagle's May Update|
|Taiji Nelson's May Update|
|Matthew Henderson's May Update|
|Megan Zeigler's May Update|