Our volunteers donated 7,086 hours of service in 2011
2011 has been an amazing year of volunteers with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy! Volunteers play an absolutely critical role in our mission to improve the quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence. Through the efforts of our volunteers, the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works, our many partner organizations and Parks Conservancy staff, our city’s parks rival any across the country.
Here is a breakdown of the 2011 volunteer program outcomes:
In 2011, we had 75 work days where 1,543 volunteers gave 4,961 hours of service. They volunteered as individuals or with community, religious, school, and corporate groups. They worked rain or shine, through blazing heat and freezing cold – lifting, digging, and pulling to improve the places that we all love. Some of their outcomes include:
- Planting over 640 trees and shrubs, and over 1000 wildflowers
- Removing over 2 tons of trash and scrap metal and nearly 250 tires from illegal dumpsites
- Controlling erosion on hillsides and trails
- Removing invasive species plants that threaten habitat and biodiversity
- Maintaining and beautifying the park gardens
I’m amazed at the dedication and passion of our volunteers. People are willing to give up their Saturdays and Sundays to get outside and work until they’re covered from head to toe in dirt. To me, nothing beats seeing what we’ve accomplished after a hard day. It’s instantly gratifying and what I love most about my job with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
Next year’s volunteer opportunities will be posted soon! To get involved on one of our 2012 volunteer days, check the schedule here.
Urban EcoStewards are individuals who take on long term stewardship of a quarter-acre of green space, agreeing to independently visit their site throughout the year to perform restoration activities. The program is a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, the Frick Environmental Center, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, Allegheny Land Trust and Allegheny Cleanways. There are currently dozens of EcoStewards across the city, who together donated more than 800 hours of service this year to improve the health and beauty of Pittsburgh’s green spaces.
Our organizations provide EcoStewards with the necessary skills to tend their site by offering a variety of trainings throughout the year, which are free and open to the public. Trainings cover topics including:
- Invasive species identification and control
- Planting techniques
- Wildflower and tree identification
- Erosion control
- Crew Leader Training and others
Next time you’re in the parks, be on the lookout for people in the brown EcoSteward t-shirt – they can be seen hauling bags of trash, cutting invasive vines, and pulling garlic mustard. Make sure to tell them “thank you” for the amazing work they do!
For more information about becoming an Urban EcoSteward, visit here.
High School Urban EcoStewards
High School Urban EcoStewards show off their T-shirts
While some people may think High School students need motivation, we at the Parks Conservancy know better. The High School Urban EcoSteward program, which builds on the traditional EcoSteward model, engages students in hands-on restoration work to develop their observation and inquiry skills, connect them to the land, give context and relevance to principles of environmental science, and train them to be the next generation of ecological stewards. We work with students from:
- Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy
- Perry Traditional Academy
- Pittsburgh Milliones, University Preparatory School
- The Ellis School
- Westinghouse Academy (YMCA Lighthouse)
- City Charter High School
Students visit their site monthly from October to June, rain or shine, to do restoration work and learn about the impacts that we all have on our urban environment. In 2011, students gave 1,318 hours of service to our parks.
We had 75 volunteer work days in 2011
In total, our 2011 volunteers gave 7,086 hours of service, which equates to a donation of over $151,350. This number is mind blowing and gives us all reason to be proud of Pittsburgh and the people who live here. Thank you to the partner organizations and funders that make our work possible. I hope you see as much value in the volunteers’ work as I do. Finally, thanks again to our crew leaders and volunteers who turn out in the thousands, donating their time and effort to make a real difference. It’s been a pleasure to meet and work with all of you. See you in 2012!
Taiji Nelson is the Education Program Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
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