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!

REI raises the stakes – $10 per check-in!

December 14 Update: REI is now donating $50 to us per check-in!  Every REI visit now goes a LONG way!

REI logoA couple of weeks ago, we told you about a unique–and simple!–way to raise money for the Parks Conservancy.  REI has pledged $100,000 to local nonprofits through the Facebook Deals program.  Anytime you use Facebook to check in at the Settlers Ridge or South Side REI stores, the Parks Conservancy would receive a $1 donation from REI. 

But now, from Friday, November 26 through Monday, November 29, REI is raising the stakes.  Every time you check in at one of these two stores, REI will make a $10 donation to the Parks Conservancy.  This could add up to a significant donation very quickly, but only with your help!

Remember, once the $100,000 is gone, it’s gone, so let’s help bring as much of it to Pittsburgh as possible.

Below are the re-posted directions for checking in via your mobile device.  Happy outdoor shopping!

What is Facebook Deals and Facebook Check-in?

The Facebook Deals feature allows customers to virtually “check-in” at a Pittsburgh REI store using a mobile device–such as an internet-enabled phone–and prompt a $10 donation by REI to the Parks Conservancy. 

With the Facebook app on your phone, you can “check in” at an REI location by following these steps:

  • Open the Facebook app on your phone (make sure you have the latest version).
  • On your personal profile page touch the location icon next to the “what’s on your mind?” field.  The location icon is shaped like a tear drop.
  • The screen will show a list of nearby participating locations.  Select the location—e.g. South Side or Settlers Ridge REI–where you want to check in. 
  • You’re checked in!
  • Need app help? Click here for instructions from Facebook.

Once you’ve checked in, your Facebook status will show the location where you’ve checked in and you will receive a message letting you know that REI has just made a donation to the Parks Conservancy!

Every REI store is participating in this promotion with a local non-profit partner.  The final amount donated to each partner will be determined by the total number of check-ins at “their” REI location until REI registers $100,000 in total donations across all locations.

A Match for the Community

For our first ten years, the Parks Conservancy focused our work exclusively on the four regional parks of Pittsburgh–Frick, Highland, Riverview, and Schenley.  But when Mayor Luke Ravenstahl asked us to broaden our reach to the rest of Pittsburgh’s parks system as time and resources permitted, we were thrilled with the opportunity to spend time in some of the 170+ other beautiful parks in the city.  With one project complete in Shadyside’s Mellon Park and another set to begin in downtown’s Mellon Square, we now have several exciting projects in the works in both the Hill District and Beltzhoover.  And the best part?

Now through October 1, every gift to these projects is matched 100% by Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funds.

Thanks to support from State Representative Jake Wheatley, the Parks Conservancy was awarded $500,000 in state funding for work in Beltzhoover’s McKinley Park and the Hill District’s Cliffside Park.  But in order to access these funds, we must raise half of the required match–$250,000–by October 1.  To do that, we need your help.

You can donate through our website at www.pittsburghparks.org/donate.  Just choose either Cliffside Park or McKinley Park from the Designation menu and your gift will automatically be matched 100%.  It’s that simple!

More information about these parks is below.  To see photo galleries of the parks, click here.

Cliffside Park
Cliffside ParkThis playground on Cliff Street features a striking view of the Allegheny River and the Strip District that has been compromised by lack of maintenance.  Restoring the play space as well as the surrounding area will take advantage of the location’s potential and reintegrate it into the rich outdoor life of the neighborhood.  Cliffside Park is envisioned as a community gathering space that encourages young children’s physical and social development and strengthens their connection to nature.

The project in Cliffside Park will also continue an already-ongoing effort to add vegetation to surrounding streets like Cliff St., Monaca Place, and Bedford Avenue, reinforcing the park’s connection to the wooded areas of the Hill.  A new entrance wall would incorporate lighting and plantings.  Views both into the park and from its vantage point would be improved through removal of debris and invasive species, selective pruning, installation of properly sized slope plantings, and refurbishment of fencing.

McKinley Park
McKinley ParkThis 63-acre community park spanning the Beltzhoover neighborhood offers recreational fields, a skate park, and a system of wooded trails.  Historic stone entryways that once welcomed visitors to McKinley Park are deteriorating, and residents from surrounding neighborhoods are seeking to re-establish connections throughout the park.  A pilot project is expected to restore one of the stone entryways, including the stairs, surrounding landscaping, and a nearby trail segment.   

We’re excited to work with the City of Pittsburgh, Representative Wheatley, and City Council members Bruce Kraus, Daniel Lavelle, and Natalia Rudiak to bring much-needed funds to these vital community parks.  Make your gift today and take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to double your contribution at www.pittsburghparks.org/donate.

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!