Finding Love in the Park

It all started with Lucinda Williams.

Actually, let’s rewind a bit. Back to a time when a young Paul Alessio and Lynne Glover were just kids, finding adventure and foul baseballs in the woods and ballparks of New Castle and Penn Hills. In those days, you could find both youngsters exploring and playing in the parks and creeks around their neighborhoods all day long, swimming and climbing until the street lights came on.

“I remember one time, at a park, at a picnic, my best friend and I getting lost. We had no idea where we were. But it was one of the greatest adventures, you know? It was exciting!” That sense of being lost, being scared, was a childhood adventure that for Lynne was one of the many reasons to love the outdoors.

Lynne and Paul never lost that passion for being outside, especially when they found each other.

At one fateful Lucinda Williams concert, Paul made the fortunate mistake of stepping in front of Lynne just as the music was starting.

“I thought you were tall enough to see!” claims Paul.

Lynne and Paul on their wedding day at Schenley Park Cafe.

Years later, Lynne and Paul, along with their family and friends, found themselves in a place most fitting for this new chapter in their lives: their wedding in Schenley Park. Both lovebirds had at one time been Pitt Panthers, finding escape in the park on bike rides and hikes, getting back to nature to keep the stress of college away. They came across the Schenley Park Cafe sometime during their wedding venue search shortly after its renovation, and knew that it was the perfect spot to exchange vows.

“That venue brings nature into the building. Our family and friends were walking down that Belgian-block trail on our wedding day,” remembers Paul.

“Everyone says that that was one of the best weddings they’d ever been to,” says Lynne.

Lynne and Paul smooching as husband and wife.

Paul and Lynne with their family.

Following a honeymoon chock-full of park visits on the West Coast, Paul and Lynne have now celebrated eight years together. Lynne, Communications Director at VisitPittsburgh and Paul, Project Manager at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, are change-makers across Pittsburgh and in their community of Lawrenceville. They share time in their neighborhood park, Arsenal, with their kids and grandchildren and enjoy two of their big loves — music and nature — at the outdoor concerts at Schenley Plaza.

We love stories with happy endings. Two people who loved to get lost in nature find themselves with their better half. And in two years, we’re excited to wish Paul and Lynne a happy ten year anniversary at the exact spot where they were married — Schenley Park.

Paul and Lynne, eight years strong.

Lauryn Stalter for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Sometimes, it’s great to lose yourself in nature. But for those times when you want to find your way again, we have just the thing. Check out the new MyPGH Parks app, where you’ll have access to all of the trails, sites and events in Schenley, Highland, Frick, Riverview and Emerald View Park. It’s free and available now on Android and iPhone platforms.

Let your love grow this Valentine’s Day

Valentine's DayA box of chocolates…sure, it’s a sweet Valentine’s Day gift, but ten years from now, your special someone will barely remember those truffles.  A dozen roses?  Pretty to look at, but often grown under conditions that are not great for the environment.

Luckily, we’ve got the cure for the common Valentine’s gift–for $50, or about the cost of a dozen roses, you can plant 25 daffodil bulbs or one native tree sapling in one of Pittsburgh’s parks!

These are gifts that promise longevity and stability: daffodils naturalize and multiply, and landscape trees can live for decades, even centuries.  And thanks to current threats like emerald ash borer and oak wilt disease, replenishing our tree population is more important than ever.

All you have to do is make your donation by February 7, and we’ll send your sweetie a card notifying them of your gift (or, if you like, we’ll send it to you so you can personalize it). 

Showing your love for the parks has never been easier!

A Valentine’s gift that lasts

Cherry trees

I know, it seems a bit early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day, but now that the Christmas decorations are down and all the red-and-green M&Ms are off the shelves, the pressure is on to come up with the perfect gift for your special someone.

Well, this year, we propose a unique new idea that will let you show some love to the parks and to your Valentine!  Sure, you could spend $50 on cut flowers that will fade quickly (and that are often grown under conditions highly toxic to the environment and the people who grow them).  But instead, you could put that $50 toward flowers or a tree in Pittsburgh’s parks that will continue to grow year after year.

For your $50 donation, you can choose between 25 daffodil bulbs to be planted in the parks this year as part of our Daffodil Project, or one small native sapling that will help us to restore our forest canopy. 

And when you make your gift before February 8th, we’ll even mail you a special card that you can give to your sweetheart, letting them know you’ve made a contribution to the parks on their behalf. 

So what are you waiting for?  Click here to make your gift today!