Spring volunteer season recap

Our SCA Green Cities Fellow, Adam Fedyski, looks back on the many volunteer events the Parks Conservancy participated in this season.

As we enter the long, hot summer season, it is a good time to plan a picnic, take a trip to the pool, or even go for a walk in one of our fine city parks (check out the Walks in the Woods on Wednesday evenings).  The parks provide great opportunities for recreation, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy owes a great deal of gratitude to the volunteers who come out to help us keep the parks in great shape.  This spring, we had 600 volunteers who contributed 2,300 hours of service in the parks through the month of May.  I have been fortunate enough to work with many of these groups and I feel it necessary to give them recognition for all the hard work they have put in.  They helped us to remove invasive plants, shrubs and vines, plant native wildflowers, shrubs and trees in their place, improve the quality of the trails, pick up litter, and some assisted us through the Urban EcoSteward program.  Here are some photos from the events: 

Urban EcoSteward erosion control

Volunteers sprinkle grass seed to re-grow vegetation on Mt. Washington during the Urban EcoSteward training for Erosion Control on March 14.

Dump site in Highland Park

Left: It took four people to roll this metal pipe down a steep hill in Highland Park; Right: At the end of the day, we removed over a ton of scrap metal, 48 tires, multiple refrigerators, and a toilet from an illegal dumpsite in Highland Park on March 21. Photos by Maren Leyla Cooke.

Trail work in Nine Mile Run

Volunteers worked on closing social trails and defining the trails intended for use along the Nine Mile Run trail in Frick Park. Photo by John Moyer.

CMU students in Frick Park

We had over 80 volunteers out on a cold March day in Frick Park. 50 students from Carnegie Mellon University came out to help us plant trees, spread grass seed, restore stream bank vegetation, and pick up litter on March 27.

Westinghouse volunteers

Members of the Westinghouse Corporation came out to help us move brush, plant trees, and work towards establishing a meadow along the border of the Westinghouse Woods and the Bob O’Connor Golf Course in Schenley Park on April 16.

BNY Mellon volunteers

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to build a rain garden at the Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center? BNY Mellon employees came out to help establish the foundation for this beautiful rain garden. Check it out if you have not seen it yet!

Wildflower Walk

John Totten helps participants learn to identify wildflowers in Frick Park during the Urban EcoSteward training in Frick Park on Earth Day.

Garlic mustard

I familiarize our group with garlic mustard, an invasive plant that we worked to remove during the Panther Hollow Extravaganza on April 24. Photo by John Altdorfer.

Schenley Park Rain Garden

Phil Gruszka works with his group to establish the soil and plants for the rain garden. Photo by John Altdorfer.

Tree planting

Nida Lapsys (left), Mariah Dalton and Carmen Snyder help to plant a tree. We planted over 200 trees and shrubs during the Extravaganza! Photo by John Altdorfer.

Mitzvah Day

Groups from the Rodef Shalom Congregation and the Calvary Episcopal Church embark on their Mitzvah Day with the Parks Conservancy, removing garlic mustard and planting trees in Schenley Park on April 25.

Propel Schools

Seventh grade students from Propel Schools in Homestead help to close a social trail and plant trees and shrubs. They also removed garlic mustard and litter during their morning in Highland Park on April 27.

Planting at Schenley Plaza

The Parks Conservancy's Gardener Angela Masters works with tenth graders from City Charter High School to plant annuals in Schenley Plaza on May 12.

Daffodil deadheading

At the Parks Conservancy, we enjoy working with volunteers of all ages! Parents and their children from the Jewish Community Center and the Hip Mamas group help with daffodil deadheading near the Bartlett Playground in Schenley Park on May 13.

Early invasives training

The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association led an Urban EcoSteward training in Frick Park on May 15. The training focused on how to identify and remove common invasive plants early in the growing season. Photo by Katrina Brink.

We also had a great group of tenth graders from City High working with us throughout the season as part of our high school Urban EcoStewards program.  A few of the students recently shared with us some memorable experiences they’ve had in the parks this spring.  You can check out Michele Pope’s video below and hear from Angelo Carr and Mariah Dalton on our YouTube channel.

Thank you again to all of the wonderful people who volunteered their time and skills to helping the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in their restoration and conservation efforts. We are looking forward to the fall season and we hope to see many of you out in the parks again!

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