2011 Website Coming Soon Project Leader: Elisa Mayes Project Dates: February - December 2010 Email Address: email@example.com 
About the site 
2011 Website Coming Soon!
The Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC) is an SCA sustainability corps from across the United States doing sustainable economic development in the rural Pennsylvania communities. This multi-year partnership blends the missions of the SCA and the Trail Town Program (a special project of the Allegheny Trail Alliance and The Progress Fund) while engaging local citizens, business leaders, civic clubs, non-profit organizations, elected officials, and public office entities in ongoing and upcoming local and regional efforts.
In the pursuit of the relatively undeveloped niche of rural sustainability, the Outreach Corps builds upon the region's strong cultural heritage and rich green infrastructure while also engaging and building upon the economic and cultural momentum in Pittsburgh - the hub of Southwestern PA which stands as a terrific example of sustainability initiatives succeeding in an urban context.
TTOC Mission: To foster economic revitalization and sustainable redevelopment in the Great Allegheny Passage Trail Towns through minds-on and hands-on community service.
--To be an integrated resource and asset to the Trail Town communities
--To communicate sustainable economic development opportunities
--To coordinate and increase reliance on local and regional economies
--To promote appreciate of rich cultural heritage of Southwest Pennsylvania
The Connellsville Community Gardens are growing, in more ways than one!
Added to the three working gardens initiated by last year's Corps, the Trail Town Outreach Corps has established more community gardening spaces this year, with plans to expand further.
The gardens serve as a gathering space for community members to share growing experience, fresh produce, ideas about neighborhood improvement, and general life stories and advice.
And as Connellsville further defines its role as a Bike Trail Town, the community gardens can draw visitors into the town on a themed bike loop, to explore all of the planted spaces. This serves dually to improve community pride and to facilitate interaction between visiting bikers and local business.
In addition, all produce from the community gardens is harvested for donation to the local food bank or for fundraising at the Connellsville farmers' market.
There are now seven community garden spaces in Connellsville that TTOC has established:
1. Corner Plot at Pittsburgh Street and Crawford Avenue - this main intersection in town is devoted to perennial and annual flowers; because of its location on an old brownfield site and its close proximity to vehicular exhaust, TTOC does not use this space for growing food crops. This year, the gardens are managed largely by a three-generation family and TTOC.
2. 3rd Street Beds along the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail - these raised beds line the bike trail as cyclists make their way into town. TTOC and a few very committed community members who live on the street plant, water, mulch, and harvest a number of food plants and some flowers as well. New participants include a mother and son team working to gain community service hours.
3. Raised Bed and Tire Planters at the Northern Bike Trailhead (photo below) - on Earth Day, April 22nd, more than 50 volunteers (many of them middle school students) came out to build and plant a raised bed with greens and flowers; reshape old tires into tiered planters and fill with hardy, native flowers; re-paint old railbed infrastructure, and begin a native plant restoration process along a highly-eroded slope. Themes for the day emphasized creative re-use and how to conserve our natural spaces in a sustainable way.
4. Garden Bed and Education Day at Local Middle School (Junior High West) - inspired by the Earth Day event, the students and their teacher invited TTOC to the local middle school to establish a garden bed and talk about how to start seeds, compost, plant, and harvest the produce in the fall. This is one of six beds that the students will hopefully establish in the future; one for each of the six science classes.
5. Community Center Garden - located immediately beside the Greater Connellsville Community Center, this fenced lot holds squash, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces and greens, herbs, and beans. Throughout the summer, TTOC will host open-garden days where volunteers can come for a couple hours to weed and harvest. Fall 2010 update: Harvest totals include, but are not limited to, over 400 tomatoes, hundreds of leaves of swiss chard and kale, 20 squashes, over 100 peppers, dozens of onions, carrots, and bunches of fresh herbs. This all donated in addition to leftover produce from ten farmers' markets held during the summer on Saturdays, graciously gifted by Duda's Produce.
6. Raised Beds by the Basketball Courts and the Library - TTOC works with the Connellsville Garden Club to improve the community space beside their monthly meeting location. A local neighbor requested some garden bed space of her own, and with the impromptu help of some local kids, TTOC put in two beds beside the public basketball courts. Future goals of this site entail engaging youth who use the courts to prevent vandalism of the gardens by their peers (or themselves).
7. East Park into Art Park - a couple high schoolers have adopted a local park as part of their senior project with the intent of beautifying the park, rebuilding its recreational infrastructure (lawn bowling lanes, an amphitheater, etc.), painting over graffiti, and restoring the park to its former glory, back when it hosted outdoor movies and live music on a regular basis. Part of the beautification process so far has entailed putting in a raised bed by one of the park entrances, and further plantings by the amphitheater. TTOC is helping the students organizationally as well in terms of how to structure volunteer work days, how to organize ideas into a practical plan, and how to bring the plan to fruition.
Reconnecting with sources of fresh food and natural beauty bolster personal satisfaction and achievement for the volunteers and TTOC alike while greening an urban setting and reducing harmful human impact on the environment. This gardening program is a win-win-win for community, business, and environment!
FALL 2010 UPDATE
- TTOC applied for and received a grant award from The Pittsburgh Foundation's Trail Volunteer Fund to design, produce, and install uniform educational signage in each community garden. The signs inform garden visitors of the purpose of the plots, remind them to respect the plants and keep the area clean, and offer contact information for interested volunteers. Brochure boxes were also installed, to hold more detailed information about the gardens.
- Junior High West now has its second garden bed, installed in November 2010 by community volunteers and TTOC!
- TTOC and community volunteers recently seeded a hillside by the bike trailhead with native seed mixes, to improve erosion control and foster native habitat. The soil on the site is a mix of sand and old rail bed and greatly needs remediation.
- In a number of the gardens, TTOC and community volunteers have planted a winter cover crop of rye and hairy vetch, to protect the topsoil during winter, establish roots and aerate the soil, and fix nitrogen for next season's crops.
- TTOC hosted a Connellsville Community Garden potluck, where all garden members could meet and greet, discuss successes of the season, plan for next year, and share their favorite dish. Needless to say, the dishes were full of garden-fresh produce, enjoyed by one and all.
Stephanie Campbell 
Stephanie’s life travels have led her to find roots in Middle Tennessee, Michigan's West Coast, and Purdue University but most recently is enjoying the natural wonders of Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Purdue University where she studied Interpersonal Communication and Psychology and working as a server at various restaurants, she realized her growing passion for community service and the environment by accepting a position with the SCA’s Trail Town Outreach Corps. She is learning a great deal about community planning, marketing, logistics, community outreach…basically a little of everything. She looks forward to exploring and experiencing more by seeing where life takes her.
When she’s not out biking the gorgeous Great Allegheny Passage you can find Stephanie meticulously reading philosophy books, furiously scribbling away in her bright red journal, playing with different ways to cook local produce, or serenading her roommates with the loud music blasting through her flimsy bedroom door.
Organizations that value human, economic, and natural resources are slowly but surely being recognized as a crucial element in improving society and the environment for current and future generations. Consumers are searching for sustainable organizations and businesses with the preservation of these valuable resources in mind. The Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network (GAP SBN) is a network of businesses that recognize this growing consumer desire and caters to it by serving as an informational and organizational resource to consumer and business alike.
Launched in late 2009, the GAP SBN is a free and inclusive organization for all businesses in the Great Allegheny Passage Trail Towns. GAP SBN members are making environmental changes in varying degrees; however, these businesses are unified with a common goal: to support the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Being a part of the Sustainable Business Network allows for member businesses to be examples of sustainability for the community. Members are encouraged to post and share practices with customers, as well as each other, to promote an atmosphere of cooperation and encouragement.
Currently there are 17 charter GAP SBN members in 9 towns along the trail from Pennsylvania to Maryland. The SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC), the organization managing the GAP SBN, performs a qualitative sustainability assessment for each member to assess the company’s status as a green business. The assessment audits the physical structure of each business as well as the behaviors of the owner and staff. Recommendations for structural and behavioral changes are made by TTOC in the form of a comprehensive Sustainability Assessment Report.
Businesses follow up by completing an Implementation Plan outlining how they will integrate the recommendations in the short- and long-term. A Sustainability Statement must be written by the member, affirming their commitment to gradually implement sustainable changes in their buildings and business model, as well as working cooperatively with fellow members and other area businesses to accomplish larger sustainable goals. The Sustainability Statement helps the business owner by guiding decisions towards the best avenues to becoming more sustainable, and allows TTOC to see how to best aid the business in this endeavor.
GAP SBN members have used this process to strengthen already existing practices and to create new ones at varying levels of sustainability depending on experience, knowledge, and cost; examples include:
• Confluence Cyclery began with sustainability in mind when the owners, Brad and Maureen Smith, renovated a run-down historic building using radiant floor heating, new spray-foam insulation, and a waterless urinal.
• Backyard Gardens owner, Vicki Marietta, sources local produce and products and is always on the lookout for creative re-use ideas to save on cost and reduce waste.
• Savage River Lodge built their business model on sustainability by re-using building materials, designing cabins for energy efficiency, and producing biodiesel to supplement energy usage.
• Hanna House B&B is dedicated to reducing waste by recycling glass and plastic, composting food scraps, and using home-made cleaning supplies.
TTOC coordinates an annual event to bring the businesses together to discuss the common issues and seek solutions as a network. This year on October 27 the GAPSBN charter members will be recognized at a Trail Town Program Work Group meeting in Ohiopyle. Dinner will follow the recognition ceremony.
Those interested in joining the Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network are encouraged to subscribe to the GAP SBN blog (www.gaptrailsbn.wordpress.com ). The blog updates members on sustainable business tips and pertinent local events; there you can find a list of current members as well as the membership application. We are also on Facebook: “Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network.”
The Trail Town Outreach Corps submits work to a number of town newsletters and publications, including the Daily Courier and the Herald-Standard (newspapers distributing in Connellsville), to publicize events and give general updates about community building and development opportunities.
Past articles include:
- Raising awareness about litter and its effect on community perception, natural habitat, and human health.
- Contributing to the local food movement by donating produce from backyard gardens to a non-profit that can then sell it at the farmers' market.
- What do sustainable economic development and green tourism really mean?
- Explaining the Trail Town Ice Cream contest for all the towns participating
- Outlines of TTOC projects and corps member bios
Other publications, other than those named above, include a quarterly edition of the Connellsville Cultural Trust newsletter and Buy Local's newsletter through Fay-Penn Economic Development.
In addition, TTOC projects have been featured by numerous papers and online media. The list below is not exhaustive:
Coverage of Earth Day Clean-Up and Planting event:
Explaining the Great Allegheny Passage and TTOC's role:
Monthly Clean-ups in Connellsville:
Community Charrette for Connellsville Community, which TTOC helped to facilitate:
Trail Town Ice Cream Contest:
Trail Town Ice Cream Names Released:
Farmers' Market Begins:
Trail Town Farmers Markets:
Trail Town Specialties:
Amtrak Advocacy 
Amtrak's Capitol Limited Route runs along the Great Allegheny Passage, providing a great opportunity to increase accessibility to the trail. TTOC is advocating for "roll-on/roll-off" service along the route by reaching out to local elected officials, bike trail users, and communities who benefit from increased tourism.
The call-to action template letter instructions are below:
(It is also posted on-line at: www.gaptrail.org/trailtown.cfm .)
Lets get RoRo Rolling: Amtrak Call-to-Action
Dear Trail Supporter:
The Allegheny Trail Alliance and the Trail Town Program have been advocating for the roll-on/roll off service along Amtrak’s Capitol Limited Route and need your continued help! Thanks to your support we are that much closer to seeing this happen, and you can still contribute! The attached letter thanks Amtrak for their interest and encourages them to provide this service as soon as they can. Please adapt the letter below and make the necessary changes (as highlighted by quotation marks) to personalize it for your own situation and interest.
Amtrak prefers hard copies rather than e-mails, so we ask that you send a copy directly to the address listed in the supplemental letter below. Also, please mail a copy of your letter to the ATA at P.O. Box 501, Latrobe, PA 15650, or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org  Your immediate help is necessary and greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your time!
Mr. Joseph H. Boardman
President and CEO of Amtrak
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Mr. Boardman,
Thank you for your interest in providing enhanced bicycle service on the Capitol Limited. I am excited by the prospect of being able to roll-on and roll-off on the Capitol Limited route between Pittsburgh, PA and Washington, DC. I am encouraged with the news that it might be available in Spring 2011. I want to bike the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath and appreciate the opportunity to ride the rails before I ride the trails. I look forward to using the service "every year/month/week, especially between x and y."
We appreciate Amtrak’s commitment to enhancing tourism opportunities and multi-modal transportation networks.
Copy: Ray LaHood, Secretary, U. S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Youth Action Crew 
The Youth Action Crew is an initiative aimed at providing the youth of Connellsville, PA with opportunities to engage in community service projects. Additionally, it is aimed at providing them with the tools necessary to run a self-sufficient organization, plan events, fund-raise, and change culture through action. Currently, there are 7 core members with a number of other kids who regularly attend events.
The current focus is cleaning up a community park to restore it to it's once great setting by cleaning up trash, painting over graffiti, and planting.
Satellite Offices 
Each team member is assigned to be the main contact in one or two towns. For each town the team member keeps in contact with the towns through attending Borough Council meetings and/or Merchants Association meetings, participating in community events, maintaining dialogue with small businesses, and checking on the trailheads. Through having a local contact in each town, TTOC has a presence in the local communities, while working at the regional level.
The Satellite Office contacts are listed here:
West Newton: Adam
Farmers Market 
TTOC works to promote all the Farmers' Markets along the Passage. Here is a link describing the markets:
TTOC is working in partnership with Buy Local - FayPenn Economic Development Council, Connellsville Cultural Trust, and the City of Connellsville to coordinate the Connellsville Farmer and Artisan Market to be held every Saturday from July 3 - September 4. The market is held in Yough River Park in Connellsville from 8:00am to 1:00pm. TTOC will be selling produce from the Connellsville Community Gardens to raise money to go back in the market and gardens.
In 2009 TTOC and the Connellsville Cultural Trust hosted a small market on Sunday nights in conjunction with the Lions Summer Concert series. The market was started at this event because the concert series was a known event that had drew people into town on Sunday night. The decision was made to move the market in 2010 to a more traditional time of Saturday morning and in the River Park due to a location that is accessible by community residents and trail users.
TTOC is excited to work with the market because southwestern Pennsylvania is a rich agriculture area and there is an unfulfilled niche for more direct agriculture sales. TTOC looks forward to developing plans for CSA's for individuals, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants.
Elisa first served with SCA in her work with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and then the Adirondack Americorps Trail Corps in 2006. She is glad to be with SCA on a new front working with a Sustainability Corps in rural communities. Her work with TTOC merges her interests in Environmental Science (B.S. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill) and Urban Planning (M.Sc. University of Groningen, Netherlands). She brings experience from her travels and studies in New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Italy. Elisa enjoys bicycling, cooking, cultural dances, and swimming in the river.
Trail Town Ice Cream 
The Trail Town Ice Creams were envisioned by the 2009 TTOC team. While having a scoop of the “Rockwood” ice cream, created by Judy Pletcher, owner of Rockwood Mill Shoppes & Opera House, the team was inspired to have unique flavors for each town. Town ice cream flavors provide a fun community project and provide additional incentive for trail users to venture into the towns. Each of the other five towns had community groups gather together to brainstorm a flavor inspired by the cultural and natural history of their respective towns. Once a distinct, delicious combination of ingredients was decided on, Jackson Farms Dairy produced each town’s unique, rich ice cream. With the arrival of hot summer weather, this cool new treat is now available in each Trail Town. A name selection contest went on in each town wherever the signature ice cream was sold until the Fourth of July weekend when the new Trail Town Ice Cream names were announced in each community. The new signature Trail Town Ice Cream names are: West Newton: “Yough Ness Monster,” Connellsville: “Youghiogheny Mud,” Ohiopyle: “Cherry Rapid Delight,” Confluence: “Gobble Berry,” Meyersdale: “Maple City Marvel,” with Rockwood’s remaining “Rockwood.” Queen City Creamery has also been busy producing Maryland’s Trail Town Ice Creams. Frostburg’s is “Bobcat Blast” and Cumberland’s is “Lover’s Leap.”
The Trail Town Ice Creams are available at the following locations: West Newton: The Trailside & Gary’s Chuckwagon, Connellsville: Trailside Trading, Ohiopyle: Friends of Ohiopyle events and The Kickstand, Confluence: Sisters’ Café, Rockwood: Rockwood Mill Shoppes, and Meyersdale: Donges’ Drive-In. The ice creams will continue to be sold in each town throughout the trail season. Trail users and community members are encouraged to take a break from the summer heat and taste each town flavor.
Adam Flett 
Adam hails from the lovely Twin Cities in Minnesota and has a background in Environmental Policy, Planning, Law, and Society. He has spent time working for the University's Forestry Extension office, as King Leadership Camp Director, and doing green landscaping in Australia. Adam is looking to work in a environmental and sustainable governance, with particular interest in land-use policy and planning, urban forestry, and community education. Fun fact: he is the world's #2 underwater crocheting competitor and is gunning for the title in 2011. Watch out, Sven Johanneson, he's-a-comin for you!
Trail Counts 
The Trail Town Outreach Corps oversees installation, maintenance, and record-keeping for the Trafx infrared counters located along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, from McKeesport to Meyersdale.
These counters keep tabs on the number of trail users passing through, in order to collect data for end-of-year reports and economic impact studies like the one accessible from the Trail Town website.
By collecting quantitative measurements of trail usage, the Trail Town program can estimate the amount of revenue coming through on the trail each season, to educate businesses about their market.
In addition, TTOC goes out into the field during peak use days (based on data from previous years) to compare the Trafx counts with a manual count. Certain discrepancies must be accounted for, such as repeat bikers (those traveling out and back during the survey) who will be counted twice by the counter when in actuality they must only be counted once. A manual count also allows TTOC to collect zip code data from users, user-type data (biker, walker, runner, etc.), and weather/trail conditions.
Additional counters in Maryland will be installed this year and managed by a separate Maryland corps, to broaden the scope of the data and define trail usage more analytically.
Funding for counters and related equipment provided by
Lara Nagle 
Lara Nagle graduated from Oberlin College in 2009 with a degree in Environmental Studies.
She hails from Pittsburgh, PA, and is completing her second SCA position. The first job involved wildlife research in Cloudcroft, NM, with the Forest Service. Now she is working with the Trail Town Outreach Corps in Connellsville, PA.
Lara's long-term professional aspirations will likely involve urban agriculture, land conservation, and sustainable city planning.
Lara is pictured below enjoying a blade of grass alongside the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, somewhere between Ohiopyle and Confluence.