At the GASP office, Athletes United is in progress, including securing speakers and funders for the fundraiser, Having a Ball with GASP, to be held in October at the Sportsworks Center (affiliated with the Science Center); the second AU video is up on the GASP youtube site, and I just finished a grant requesting funding for AU educational programming next year. Idling education has begun as well, including contacting businesses in Pittsburgh where distributors often idle (so owners knowing the idling regulations would be helpful), or where truck drivers often frequent (i.e. Ritter's diner agreed to post the regulations). The summer Hotline recently hit the post, and GASP also conducted an SCA training with the Green Cities interns that explored a Port of Pittsburgh/GenOn vessel that received retrofits/repurposed or new equipment to reduce its diesel pollution as well as monitoring the air quality downtown at different levels and locations to compare and contrast particulate matter, CO2, NOX, and other pollutant concentrations. The Clean Construction bill just got passed in City Council!! And I've done a fair amount of video editing and filming at press conferences and environmental events to help publicize what's going on.
In July 2011, my role as an SCA Sustainability Fellow with the Allegheny County Sustainability Program has been great and eventful. My involvement in 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 the usual daily administrative tasks (which I’ve gotten good at), I have been instrumental in pursuing outreach approaches to engage employees and in drafting and putting together the latest newsletter.
I continue to be heavily engaged in writing and crafting the Allegheny Green newsletter. In the month of July I followed up on interviews, took necessary pictures, conducted research to support upcoming articles and laid-out the design for the upcoming newsletter.
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.
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!
Two main projects that Loralyn worked on in the month of July include the green roof bus shelter project, funded by the Sprout Fund in partnership with the Pittsburgh Foundation, and rain gardens that are funded by the Heinz Endowments. The bigger steps for the green roof bus shelter project this month were to find a new installation site in the commercial core of East Liberty, and to write-up the RFP for a graphic design firm to do the educational shelter signage. A new (and quite possibly better) site was approved for the shelter, and graphic design firms were interviewed. With the rain gardens, Loralyn worked alongside SEEDS ecological engineering to do site assessments for the various rain garden locations. Installations for the rain gardens are set for October.
Another month, another successful Pittsburgh Food Policy
Council Meeting. Exciting new attendees are Nicole and Jim from the
University of Pittsburgh Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Also, continuing to ramp up, are the plans and contacts for the Regional FPC Symposium. The key players have been identified and Heather and I are now initiating discussions for dates and topics.
With PSU’s budget cuts the main topic of discussion at the office I did some research at the Foundation Center for grants for next year’s Local Foods Showcase and other events and Heather and I applied and received scholarships for the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association conference in Lexington, KY. Blog posting slowed down as I started researching, more in depth, for the next two blogs I have in mind. I tried to balance with interesting articles posted on facebook and was very pleased with the 20% increase of “likes” for the month. As a favor for another Fellow I contributed a policy recommendation piece to the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 2.0 and as a fun and educational experience, Heather and I attended a PASA mushroom foraging/cultivation/economic opportunity class in Clarion County.
My SCA involvement was all very fun this month and consisted of
shooting a short film for Lara and GASP, tabling at the Blues Festival, touring a retrofitted diesel tugboat with GASP, and starting to review our service project proposals.
Fun volunteer/training activities on my own time were the Tree
Tenders course through TreePittsburgh, touring the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes through GBA, and volunteering for the “Green Team” at the U2 concert.
The City of Pittsburgh is partnering with the SCA to take on a Sustainablility Fellow with the City's Urban Forester. The Urban Forester leads tree plantings and tree care for Pittsburgh's street trees in partnership with Tree Pittsburgh (www.treepittsburgh.org ) through the TreeVitalize program (http://www.paconserve.org/216/treevitalize ). The TreeVitalize program is a program partnership with the City of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Western PA Conservancy, and DCNR.
The Sustainable City Fellow is responsible for assisting with:
- Assessing neighborhood tree planting sites
- Planting street trees with neighborhood partners
- Assessing the potential impact of street trees for reducing asthma rates in key neighborhoods.
- Pursuing continued funding for projects and partnerships.
ACTION-Housing, Inc. endeavors to empower people to build more secure and self-sufficient lives through the provision of decent, affordable housing, essential supportive services, asset building programs, and educational and employment opportunities.
SCA's Green Cities Sustainability Corps partners with the Sustainable Community Development Coordinator at ACTION-Housing, Inc. to provide capacity in three areas:
- Western PA Energy Conservation Collaborative (ECC)
- Pittsburgh Green House (PGH)
- Outreach and education to developers & residents
Specific projects that the SCA Green Cities Fellow works on are:
• Work with the Green Curriculum Team and ACTION-Housing Green Team to develop and deliver appropriate energy and water conservation curriculum for diverse constituencies
• Help maintain and expand the resource library regarding best practices, programs, professional resources, financing tools, and evaluation technology for use at ACTION-Housing and for general circulation
• Support connections to workforce development professionals and other community collaborations to contribute to the linkage between operating green building/conservation programs and the workforce development organizations
• Assist in investigations of various funding sources to support sustainable community development efforts
• Assist with weatherization and energy conservation outcomes and analysis
Matthew Henderson has been very busy travelling to 19 boroughs between Beaver and Allegheny county signing up business owners to become certified sustainable. Also, Matthew has signed many business owners and local resident to the Downtown First Program and contiues to work in these communities trying to push for a more sustainble business districts. In addition to the certification program, Matthew has been helping facilitate meetings with sustainability coordinators on goals and principles to be implemented into a Sustainable Business Compact. Matthew is working hard and enjoying every moment.
In July I produced another monthly PCI newsletter that recevied good open and click rates. I coordinated and planned for the next meeting for HECC in August, where we will discuss several possibilities for next year and finalize a date for the HECC fall service event with 9 Mile Run Watershed Association. I also organized and facilitated July's PCI Partners meeting where I brought in a representative from Bike Pittsburgh to discuss a fall outreach event and future programmatic activities. With the new city sustainability coordinator settling in, progress was made on finalizing Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 2.0 as I gathered approved recommendations from the Urban Redvelopment Authority and the Business Climate Coalition. All recommendations are currently under preliminary review by the PCI Partners. Lastly, I have been exploring ways to redesign the PCI website to make it more navigable and better fit the collaboration's current work.
In July, the SCA’s summer youth crew started their six week program working along the SPARC corridor. I am responsible for establishing the daily schedule and making sure everything runs smoothy. I meet with the crew leaders, contractors and partners organizations to ensure expectations are being met and all requirements fulfilled. I have also been working in the field laying out plant material and overseeing installations. The crew has been building spilt rail fence, sheet mulching, planting perennials and picking up trash along Larimer Avenue.
In July, I pushed on with Green Workplace Challenge preparations. I continued editing the competition manual, updating resources and adjusting point values of specific actions based on carbon emissions impact. I also added a "Why Compete?" section to the manual and website, and modified background and overview text. At this month's Champions for Sustainability meeting, I gave a short presentation on the Green Workplace Challenge to the sustainability coordinators in attendance, and later presented on the competition to Sustainable Pittsburgh board members at the board meeting. With the help of the Green Workplace Challenge oversight committee, I started to brainstorm ideas on the GWC launch event as well as potential GWC participant workshops.
I had a nice, shortened July thanks to an awesome San Francisco and Mt. Shasta, CA vacation. It has been reaffirmed – I love mountains! Despite 10 days out of the office, a lot of great things happened with the City’s Urban Forester and ACTION-Housing.
With the City, I was able to coordinate a meeting with Dr. Jane Clougherty, a University of Pittsburgh researcher who focuses on the relationship between air pollution and environmental and human health. She is the leading air pollution researcher in Pittsburgh and she was excited at the opportunity to expand her current research to accommodate trees. I will be working with her and Danielle Crumrine from Tree Pittsburgh to acquire more information that can be used in conjunction with our LIDAR tree canopy assessment. Teaming up with Dr. Clougherty is an awesome opportunity for us, and we look to take full advantage of it. Associated with this, I have begun a PowerPoint presentation highlighting all of the research I have done thus far on trees and air pollution.
The Homewood busway tree project is also chugging along smoothly. I received the soil sample results, which indicate a heavy amount of salt, but nothing so bad that trees won’t grow (according to Matt Erb). I met with Shaina Madden to discuss next steps, which includes contracting out the removal of knotweed this summer and fall in anticipation of planting trees next spring. I spent another day using GASP’s air monitoring equipment to test air quality. This time, instead of sitting very close to the busway, I monitored from the Homewood pool/baseball fields at a spot 85 yards from the road. Upon analyzing the data, however, because I was sitting relatively far away from the busway, I wasn’t able to correlate any spikes in particulate matter or any other air pollutant with bus travel.
My month with ACTION-Housing was highlighted by our first meeting with contractors at the Pittsburgh Green House. Now that we have the property, demolition (which I get to participate in!) is getting under way. We were able to do some light work at the end of the month, with the majority of the demo work coming next month.
We have also finalized the logo design, which is awesome. We’re now working with Paul Schifino, our graphic designer, to design the layout of our infographic signs, which will be sprinkled throughout the house. These signs will orient visitors and give them textual and graphic information about various aspects of weatherization. I spent a few days this month editing the infographic text and compiling a list of information we need to gather in order to complete the graphics.
The August newsletter – farmers markets – turned out really well. I needed to do some major editing work in order to combine two article submissions and six pages of text into the one-page feature article. Both authors were happy with the result, which will hopefully attract some fresh faces to all of the wonderful farmers markets around Pittsburgh. We increased distribution of the August newsletter by 36 (2 online, 34 print) over July’s numbers. Along with the rest of the Green Team, I am currently devising a system to measure the readership of our newsletter. We currently send it out to 912 people and it will help us write a more effective newsletter if we know who reads it and what they want to hear more about. We will be sending our readership assessment test with the September issue.
The Black and Gold City Goes Green has been given a big adrenaline shot this month. Projects such as the Tackle-A-Stealer energy competition and the Community Partner movie screening have been taken off the shelf, planned out, and scheduled to happen in August and carry on through Fall. I met with some new community and school groups to arrange for a handful of events based on the Neighborhood Blitz. We saw a good bit of the city with a marathon of tabling events. The Lawrenceville Business Blitz is starting to take shape and grow, and a transportation-focused event is in the works with GBA and BikePGH.
This month I have worked on Recycling and secured 365 small recycling bins from the City of Pittsburgh. I have attended building committee meetings and they are working to convince the union to agree to our recycling program. They did approve our request to start recycling lightbulbs. I went to The Foundation Center to search for grant opportunities for a district energy feasibility study as well as attended the working group meetins on district energy possibilities. I have continued administrative duties for the URA Green Team including scheduling meetings, taking minutes, providing an environmental calendar, as well scheduling tours of greenroofs and green buildings. The large project that I have been working on are developer resource guides for the URA. These will provide case studies and basic information on sustainable principles as well as information on local organizations and economic incentives. I have also registered for the LEED Green Associate exam and plan to take it in a couple of months.
Two main projects that Loralyn worked on in the month of June include the green roof bus shelter project and the Borland Sustainable Garden. The green roof bus shelter process has turned out to be a more in depth process for Loralyn than she had originally anticipated; there are many legal issues/permits/reviews to go through due to the project site being in the city-owned public right-of-way. On top of the paperwork process, Loralyn had also planned and facilitated a green roof bus shelter community design workshop from A to Z, as well as held several design charrettes with her green roof designer/MLA, Joel Perkovich, with Tsuga Studios. It's a slow process, but an incredible learning experience. Also, it was time to wrap up the Borland Garden this month, and Loralyn wrote the final report and rendered some final drawings for Pashek Associates. The report will be complete soon, which will serve as the guiding design vision for the Borland Cooperative group's public/private urban agriculture space.
My main focus in the month of June was leading groups in macro-sorting incoming medical supplies. In addition to my normal Thursday volunteer groups, I also lead groups from Duquesne, Literacy Corps and Del Monte. In June I lead 52 volunteers for a total of 142 volunteer hours. From the combined efforts of macro-sorting with volunteers and the medical supply assistants sorting items to the floor, our back log at the warehouse has been decreased from 135 pallets to 109 pallets. Other projects of note from the month of June include attending a PRC’s Hard to Recycle collection event at the Mall at Robinson where I collected 31 repurposable medical supplies and continued progress on the creation of three part high school curriculum.
GTECH in June consists of finishing sunflower plantings and lining out maintenance plans for over 20 vacant lot projects. SPARC was in full swing and a majority of my time was spent finishing renderings for installations, coordinating contractors and volunteer days along the corridor.
The SCA youth crew starts on July 5th, so there was daily schedule and curriculum discussions between all the SPARC partners to ensure a valuable experience for the crew and the Larimer and East Liberty neighborhoods.
I have taken responsibility for the URA's Green Team. This involves tracking progress of members and assisting in any way as well as organizing agendas, meetings, and other logistics.
My first month at the URA was spent on updating the Recycling program in the building as well as quantifying the amount of material recycled for the past 2 years.
My trainings this month included an SCA training on sustainable agriculture as well as a full day grant writing workshop at the Carnegie Library.
Matthew Henderson 
Matthew Henderson is continuing his focus on pushing forward with the Sustainable Business Designation Program, helping educated business owners on sustainability issues, while certifying sustainable.
The work he has accomplished thus far has incorporated participating in council meetings, and is now ready to meet business's one on one to designate them sustainable.
While continually working on the certification, Matthew has also been in the process of initiating a Sustainable Business Compact Program that will provide guidelines to bring together business that support sustainable principles. He is excited to be part of a movement that has numerous social and environmental issues incorporated into such a powerful force of movement towards creating a more livable Pittsburgh.
The Black and Gold City Goes Green is starting on some brand new projects this summer that will be engaging some new audiences. A college blitz and a business blitz are on the table and would mean a step towards some new groups around the city. The focus of this month’s outreach is the blitz model, which could mean more neighborhood blitzes in the future.
This summer, we’re also planning to host mini screenings of Carbon Nation at Community Partner locations. Pairing these screenings with a competition to kill energy vampires, we hope to spark more involvement with our Community Partners and their constituents.
Outside of the campaign, our service group sent a request for proposals to community groups around the city, I’ve been almost living at Free Ride (bike co-op), and I’ve been becoming more involved in community gardens around the city.
With the Wood Smoke grant requirements taken care of, we are now focusing our attention on the Diesel/Idling grant and campaign, which will entail a webinar in a couple months, as well as materials circulation at tabling events.
We have also shifted towards expanding the Athletes United for Healthy Air (AU) campaign. The AU campaign will involve a number of components: identifying relevant speakers for the fall fundraiser and getting their confirmation of attendance, identifying club and varsity sports teams that can be educated about the campaign and incorporate the ideals into their practice routine, developing educational tools and emails for members to stay informed and connected, and site visits to a variety of sports communities to encourage further engagement. There will also be another AU video coming out and hopefully silk-screened shirts as well.