I can’t believe I’ve been here for a month already! There has been so much to do and so much to learn, but I have been enjoying getting to know the area and starting to get my hands dirty. Coming in at the height of the busy season I really hit the ground running. On my first day I attended an action team meeting in California with Marah and Sam, which was an adventure in itself. I had no idea how MANY hills there were in southwest PA until I drove to California! I had an even more adventurous second day when we got to attend a Pirates game after work in Pittsburgh! It was my first ever real life professional baseball game, and it was great!
In my first two weeks here I rode 15 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage! I was really happy there was such a great rail trail right in my backyard. Living in upstate NY there was one right across the street from my house so it feels a little bit like I brought some of home with me. Even better, this trail is a LOT smoother of a ride which is great for me since I have a road bike. I also took a couple trips out to Ohiopyle State Park and got to see a really beautiful waterfall. I’m hoping to plan a ride with friends on the GAP trail from Connellvsille to Ohiopyle and back soon.
The following weekend I went with Jenna to the Friends of Friendship Hill meeting in Point Marion. Fun Fact: I think that might count as my first visit to a National Historic Site in Pennsylvania. That same week, we had a clean up at the river front parks in California in preparation for the first Annual “River Fest” and in my town of Greensboro in preparation for its “Annual Art Blast on the Mon.”
River Fest was my first big event with the team. It was absolutely perfect weather and the residents were really excited about the waterfront being cleared and ready to enjoy! Every time I’ve been back to California since, I always see people using the picnic tables along the River. It’s really great to see people enjoying the views, the best things in life are free!
I also participated in some workdays in Point Marion for their glass mosaic mural. Since I have a degree in Fine Art it was definitely right up my alley, and brought back a lot of memories. We spent the days gluing on pieces and cutting glass into small chips for the sky. It’s going to be really exceptional when it’s done. The whole scene is the Mon running through the town with wildlife and people enjoying the outdoors. I can’t wait to see everything completed.
The biggest event of the year in Greensboro (which is my town) happens on Labor Day weekend, just 3 short weeks from when I arrived. I have become a promotional machine. I have been writing press releases, contacting newspapers, putting up flyers, and collecting items for a special exhibit at Art Blast. This exhibit focused on historical documents, pictures, as well art and crafts to represent the upper Mon River towns. We even had local historian Fuzzy Randolph present a lecture on the history of the pottery industry. There was also a special table from Houze Glass Museum showing examples of some of the glass produced in Point Marion.
This year I am happy to report that Art Blast was a success and even though we did have a pretty bad thunderstorm on Saturday, people stuck around and enjoyed themselves. There was great music all weekend, art at the Everyone’s Art Show, food (the fire Hall was grilling and even frying up shrimp!) and a fantastic farmer’s market. I bought a HUGE zucchini that I cut up and froze so I can make zucchini bread and enjoy local veggies even in the winter! Which, at the rate time is passing now, will be here before I know it!