EAST LIBERTY DEVELOPMENT, INC.
Sustainable Community Fellow
Main Project Synopsizes:
ELDI / Rain Gardens: In the month of July, the rain garden projects continued. Before anything else, I had to write up the Sarah Heinz Youth Endowment grant report, finalize the budget, and send it off. It was time to start thinking about the last steps of the rain garden projects. My community contact, Gary Cirrincione, and I, consulted with the homeowners to finalize the downspout/gutter installations and to have them approve the swale construction designs. After recruiting volunteers to implement these last steps, purchasing the materials, and planning the volunteer day, we were able to finish the gardens!* We will continue to move forward with installing additional rain barrels with the rest of the grant money.
*All but one garden that was temporarily on hiatus.
ELDI / East Liberty Blvd. Planting: Although the rain gardens have been projects that have lasted for many months, I had the opportunity to complete another design project from start to finish all just in the month of July. Using Elm Street District grant funding, we were able to purchase materials to create a pilot shrub planting on East Liberty Blvd. I met with Matt Erb, from Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, at the Blvd., to discuss and consult on where shrub plantings would be ideal. From there, I was able to draft up a conceptual plan as to where SCA Crews/FPUF should lay black sheeting – for where the future planting would go (to kill the grass). After purchasing those materials, and once the Crews laid out the sheeting, the budget was updated and FPUF purchased shrubs with the remaining funds. I was able to take the existing condition measurements on the site (essentially doing my own survey) in order to create the basemap and proposed planting plan (using AutoCAD). Not only did I have the opportunity to design the project and order the materials, but I was also able to be out there the day of implementation to help plant and mulch. We attempted to work alongside the community on this project (I contacted block group leaders) but they never did write back.
SCA: My main focus with the SCA for the month of July was on planning the Pittsburgh Blues Festival tabling/composting event. Many hours went into emailing/calling contacts to get them on board with tabling at the Festival, as well as to communicate logistics/answer their questions. I produced a type of press release to explain what the SCA’s event was all about, and in order to recruit volunteers. I sent this write-up out to numerous contacts, asking them if they’d be so kind as to send it out to their listservs, posts, etc. Other responsibilities were brainstorming raffle ideas, contacting the organizations to arrange for these raffles, figuring out CFL logistics for the Park, creating raffle signage, and managing the Facebook page. Closer to the event, I developed intensive to-do lists for our team, as well as work plans for the event weekend. The mornings of the events included lots of hauling and set-up, while the days and nights consisted of managing the raffle table and assisting in tear-down/litter pick-up. A success from this event was that almost all bags were sorted through and separated into compost, recycling, and landfill. Park workers normally haul out three dumpster trucks of garbage a night, while under our management, they hadn’t had to take even three dumpsters full by the end of the event!