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Nine Mile Run blog

20
Jan

Last Monday, January 19th, we held a special Stream Sweep in Frick Park. We were joined by students from Chatham University who, as part of a service day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, chose to clean up Nine Mile Run. Each year, Chatham hosts a day of service, honoring MLK, where their staff and students can give their time to the community. Those at the university could choose one of 4 activities to participate in that day. About 20 people chose to help us. Monday morning, braving the cold, they set out to collect trash and debris from the stream. Starting at the soccer field, we split into two groups to cover more ground. The stream was definitely different than it is when we host our Spring and Fall Stream Sweeps. Without any foliage on the trees, the trash was abundant and apparent. Thanks to colder recent temperatures in Pittsburgh, parts of the ground around the Stream were still frozen and some of the trash was stuck in the ground! A few participants attempted to remove a sock that was buried and frozen in the ground without any luck.

The students from Chatham worked hard and collected enough trash to fill 30 bags! They were able to warm up afterward with some hot coffee and hot chocolate. As always, the group found some interesting things while cleaning up the stream. One participant found a rug while another found a small hub cap with a few other small car parts.

We greatly appreciate Chatham reaching out to us to work together on the Stream Sweep. We want to thank all of the students and staff members for working hard on a chilly day.

Be sure to stay tuned for all of our upcoming events to join us in the watershed sometime soon!

Check out pictures below of Chatham’s Stream Sweep!

 

15
Jan

Did you know? There are 3 employees at NMRWA named Sara(h)! We don’t always know which one someone is talking to but we always have fun with it.

It can be a challenge sometimes to differentiate between Sara, Sara and Sarah or Sara P and Sarah P, so we thought we would help you out.

We created a little game to get to know the 3 Sara(h)s better. Each Sara(h) answered the same five questions about themselves. Below are the questions and the Sara(h)s’ answers. Read the question and think about which answer you most identify with. Keep track of your responses and at the bottom, you will find a key that will tell you which Sara(h) you most relate to. You can also see what the other two Sara(h)s answered to learn a little more about them. Okay, let’s get started!

1. What is your favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh?
A. Il Pizzaiolo
B. Spak Brothers
C. Mad Mex

2. What is your favorite book, TV show and movie?
A. A Walk Across America, Breaking Bad, and The Life Aquatic
B. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, 30 Rock, and Almost Famous
C. Harry Potter, The West Wing, The Birdcage

3. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?
A. Tour the country of Iceland
B. Sweden
C. Victoria Falls

4. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate?
A. Coffee
B. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
C. Tea

5. What is the last thing you ate?
A. North African Yam Salad from the Co-op
B. Chocolate
C. Kale salad

The results:
If you answered mostly A: you identify most with Sara Madden, the Design Manager for Stormworks.

Sara

If you answered mostly B: you identify most with Sarah Peterson, the Communications Program Assistant for NMRWA

Sarah P headshot_web

If you answered mostly C: you identify most with Sara Powell, the Monitoring and Communications Manager for NMRWA

Sara P headshot_web

 

 

Which Sara(h) did you get matched with?

We hope this helped distinguish the Sara(h)s a bit more and that it was fun in the process! If you ever see us around the watershed (or our favorite restaurants) be sure to say hi!

03
Dec

Today’s blog post comes from GTECH – a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh that cultivates the unrealized potential of people and places to improve the economic, social, and environmental health of our communities. NMRWA and GTECH, along with several other nonprofit organizations, formed a partnership that shares a CFO. This post was written by Sara Innamorato, Marketing and Communications Manager at GTECH.

 

A community garden is a wonderful idea for a vacant lot. The benefits outside of fresh produce, became very real to Lisa Freeman after founding the Manchester Growing Together Community Garden in 2011. Just a few blocks from her home in Pittsburgh’s Northside, the garden has had a lasting impact not only on her, but the surrounding community as well.

GARDENS ARE A TOOL FOR CRIME PREVENTION

Lisa had a hard time ignoring the illegal activities happening on the corner near her garden. She would walk past young men selling drugs while hers arms were full of compost and tools.  Instead of overlooking their behavior, she began to ask them for their help. Soon those that were engaged in illicit activities became garden volunteers.

” ELEMENTS THAT WE ASSUME AS BAD BECAME PART OF THE COMMUNITY — PART OF THE GARDEN. IT HAS A REDEMPTIVE VALUE. THEY WERE PULLED INTO THIS COMMUNITY”  LISA FREEMAN

Her observations aren’t new. According to a study performed in Philadelphia in 2000, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society  maintained and greened 14,000 of Philly’s 54,000. At the end of a ten-year period, neighborhoods sporting reclaimed vacant lots showed a statistically significant decrease in shootings and other violent activity.

YOUTH EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES EXTEND BEYOND HEALTHY EATING

Gardens near school-aged children are a great learning tool. Not only do they teach children about healthy eating, ecological stewardship and plant maintenance, but also they bolster math and history skills.

In the summer of 2014,  Lisa and her husband, Wallace Sapp, who runs the Math Doctors program at Manchester Pittsburgh Public School PreK – 8 as a volunteer, created a summer program called Math + Mud to address social and educational gaps facing the school. Eighty-three percent of this Manchester school’ s population is  below the poverty line and 27% of the third graders were below “basic” math skills assessment. This summer supplemental program gave 3rd graders the opportunity to learn math and “play in the dirt, while building important social skills and healthy eating habits.

GARDENS JUST AREN’T FOR THE GROWING SEASON

The garden has become more than just a food producing area, it also serves as a community gathering space year-round. Last year Lisa, her husband and fellow neighbors hosted a Light Up Night community party.

In fact, Lisa is currently raising funds for her neighborhoods annual Light Up Night amongst other needs for her garden. Watch more of Lisa’s story and donate to her crowdfunding campaign.

 

25
Nov

On Saturday November 8, NMRWA held their final tree planting of 2014.  Eleven volunteers, together with NMRWA staff, worked to plant six trees.  Four of those trees were planted along Columbia Avenue in Swissvale. The other two were planted near the corner of Union Street and Lacrosse Street.  Among the six trees were hedge maple, katsura, hybrid elm and redbud species. In the past, Columbia Avenue was lined with many large London Plane trees. Many residents looked forward to this planting as a way to start reestablishing the tree canopy along Columbia.

Annual planting and stewardship of new and existing trees is essential to sustaining a constant tree canopy in an area.  Many tree experts abide by a 1:1 ratio of tree removals to tree replacement as a sustainable policy for maintaining canopy cover.  A 2:1 ratio of removals to replacements is a policy adopted to increase canopy cover.  Once all of the trees were installed, volunteers reconvened to enjoy hot soup and good conversation. Thank you to all the volunteers that helped make this event great.  Another thank you to Swissvale councilperson Julie Grose for allowing NMRWA staff to set up materials and snacks in her front yard.

Read about our other tree planting and care events from 2014 on our blog here and here.

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17
Nov

It’s time for another edition of Meet the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association Staff!

You may remember we did another post about our staff called Meet the Newest NMRWA Staff Members! There, you got to know our GreenLinks Coordinator, Jared and Stormw0rks’ Regional Stormwater Strategist, Mo.

Since that blog post Brittany, the Managing Director of Stormworks, has joined us! Brittany answered 5 questions so you could get to know her a bit better.

We also asked Mike, our Director of Policy and Outreach 5 questions. Mike has worked at NMRWA since July 2013.  Stay tuned for more blog posts in this series to get to know all NMRWA staff members!

Learn more about Brittany and Mike below!

 

Brittany Miller

Brittany joined the Stormworks team earlier this month. Brittany brings over five years of experience in sales, marketing, and operations from various start-ups to her new role as StormWorks Managing Director. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, with a focus in Marketing. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, baking, reading, skiing, and walking her dog.

1. Can you speak any other languages?

Brittany does not speak another language although she did take Latin in high school!

2. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?

France because of all of the baked goods and the scenery. Brittany has already traveled to London.

3. What are your hobbies?

Brittany loves to read and play sports, especially tennis, golf and skiing. She also enjoys doing crafts as well as baking and cooking.

4. Draw your favorite animal.

Check out Brittany’s awesome drawing of a wolf below!

BrittanyWolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. What is your favorite tree?

A White Oak. Brittany and her husband planted a white oak tree during their wedding ceremony!

 

Mike Hiller

Mike Joined NMRWA in July 2013 as the Director of Policy and Outreach. He has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies and a Master of Art degree in Geography with a Graduate Certificate in GIS & Spatial Analysis, both from the University at Albany. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Mike was the GIS Coordinator for the University at Albany, where he developed a campus-wide system of infrastructure. He also has experience as an urban planning consultant, working to create more sustainable regions and places. He is responsible for coordinating watershed communities and organizations to develop and implement green infrastructure projects. In his free time, Mike likes to explore new areas of Pittsburgh, hang out with his dog, and find fresh food at a farmer’s market.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A basketball or football player.

2. What is the last thing that you ate?

At the time of  this interview, the last thing Mike had ate was a breakfast burrito with a side of grapes. This was thanks to an office wide breakfast burrito party that morning!

3. What is your most memorable NMRWA moment?

The first time Mike planted a tree in the watershed stood out to him. Mike has continued to plant many trees throughout the watershed during GreenLinks’ tree planting events as well as cared for many others during the tree care events.

4. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food.

5. If you were a Superhero, what powers would you want to have?

To be able to fly.

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