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Posts Tagged ‘Community Partners

17
Sep

After the spring tree planting season, Greenlinks was busy with tree care events to remove weeds and add mulch to young trees in Wilkinsburg this summer.  To prepare for the opening of Wilkinsburg Thursday Open Market, volunteers worked to touch up the 18 trees planted in the Borough parking lot along Ross Avenue in June.  As part of our lead up to the Summer Storm, event sponsor Sweetwater Brewing Company gave out free pints to volunteers as part of their “tap takeover” at D’s Six Pax and Dogz.  It was hard work that was well rewarded.

On July 21, we worked with Wilkinsburg Youth Project’s Garden Team to clean up the weeds for the 50+ trees on or around Turner Elementary campus.  These kids spent a long day steadily moving from one tree to the next without losing any momentum.  We really enjoyed working with the kids and were proud of their top-notch work!

Wilkinsburg Youth Project’s Garden Team

Finally, we welcomed 26 volunteers who were part of the Office of PittServes student orientation service day.  The volunteers helped remove weeds, and add mulch to around 30 older honeylocust trees along Wood Street between Franklin Ave and Wallace Ave.  Many hands made the work go quick.  We even had time to visit other tree pits in the area before students had to go back to campus.

pitt group photo

Removing weeds and adding mulch is important; especially during periods of drought (like what we experiencing right now in the watershed).  Diligently removing weeds by the roots removes competition for water resources. Adding mulch helps retain soil moisture.

Do you have trees showing early autumn color?  Consider giving them a drink of water once a week during the month of September water by slowly releasing water within their root zone (1 gallon/ 1inch diameter of trunk).  If you are also applying mulch, please no volcano mulching!

Mulch volcano! Credit: Casey Trees

28
Oct

This past Saturday morning, in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s TreeVitalize program, NMRWA planted thirteen new street trees in Wilkinsburg and Regent Square.

tree planting

Volunteers plant a ginko tree in Regent Square.

Our wonderful volunteers enjoyed breakfast at the NMRWA office before the tree planting demonstration. Then they headed off to plant trees! The trees planted ranged in size from small understory trees, such as serviceberries which grow to about 20 feet tall, to a large London planetree, which can grow to 60 feet!

Even though these trees have now been successfully transplanted, their success is not guaranteed! Slowly trickling twenty gallons of water per week into the root ball during the growing season is important to the young tree’s establishment – the general rule is that it takes one year per inch trunk diameter for the tree to become established. If drought conditions exist, even more water per week may be necessary to ensure survival. For trees planted during the fall like these, one heavy watering after the leaves fall off is sufficient for winter preparation.

After all thirteen trees were planted, volunteers enjoyed lunch back at the NMRWA office. Thank you to WPC staff and all our volunteers for helping us introduce new stormwater stewards to the watershed!

18
Sep

Whoops! Sorry for going radio silent the past three months or so… Summer is always a busy time here at NMRWA, but that’s no excuse. Now that Fall is on the way, we’re ready to get back on a regular blogging schedule!

In the coming months, we’ll be posting about NMRWA events and workdays, information about native plants and animals, lists of other upcoming watershed community events, and more, so stay tuned.

Here are a couple snapshots to help recap our summer…

stilling well installation

In May, with Dr. Dan Bain from the University of Pittsburgh & students Tyler Paulina and Sarah Lavin, we installed a stilling well in upper Nine Mile Run.The stilling well holds a pressure transducer that records data related to the water height. That data, along with additional information being collected by a team of Urban EcoSteward volunteers, will be used to calculate streamflow. Understanding streamflow in Nine Mile Run will allow us to better understand various dynamics at play in the stream (e.g., nutrient transport, volume of stormwater introduced during storms).

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In July, we hosted a group of summer interns from Phipps Conservatory that came to Nine Mile Run for a tour of the restoration area. Following the tour, they helped us remove invasive mugwort from along the Nine Mile Run trail.

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In August, we joined forces with Allegheny CleanWays for a Tireless Friday clean up in Duck Hollow. With the help of roughly 30 volunteers, we filled a dumpster, removed two shopping carts, and 14 tires from lower Nine Mile Run and the surrounding banks of the Monongahela River.

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Most recently, this past weekend we had fantastic weather for our 2014 Friends of the Watershed Cookout. We really enjoyed getting to spend time with all our supporters that were there – you can see more pictures from the day on our Facebook page!

 

 

 

18
Jun

GBA-LOGO-2014-LG-WEBToday’s post comes from the Green Building Alliance (GBA). GBA is the regional chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and works to inspire the creation of healthy, high-performance places for everyone by providing leadership that connects knowledge, transformative ideas, and collaborative action. GBA has an Emerging Professionals committee that enables like-minded sustainability professionals to be a force for progress within their communities by providing a forum for networking and education.

One of GBA’s Emerging Professionals is Christi Saunders – a virtual construction engineer for Mascaro Construction. She wrote today’s post about her experience volunteering in Frick Park as an Urban EcoSteward. Thank you to Christi & GBA for this guest blog post!


I live in Regent Square and have spent much time in Frick Park, either running, walking the dog, or playing tennis.  I have always enjoyed my time in Frick Park because it feels like I’ve have been transported out of the city to the Middle of Nowhere, PA. Its calm, quiet, and beautiful.

With views like this, it's easy to forget you're in Pittsburgh! (Photo by John Moyer)

With views like this, it’s easy to forget you’re in Pittsburgh! (Photo by John Moyer)

Through living in Regent Square and my involvement with the Emerging Professionals at Green Building Alliance, I learned about the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association.  NMRWA is involved in the cleanup and maintenance of the Nine Mile Run watershed, which includes Frick Park and parts of Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, Swissvale, and Edgewood.  In all of the time I had spent in Frick Park, I had never considered how the park was maintained.  I guess I just assumed that the city and the Parks Conservancy maintained the grounds, which in fact they do – they cut grass address fallen trees, service the restroom facilities, maintain the trails, etc.  Other major maintenance activities in the park like collecting trash, removing invasive species, and planting new species, however, is actually accomplished through a volunteer program called Urban EcoStewards, which is managed by NMRWA and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

Since I love Frick Park so much, I was eager to do my part to help maintain its great quality so others can enjoy it as much as I do.  I brought the idea of joining the EcoStewards program to GBA’s Emerging Professionals group and we all agreed to take on the project. We have since been assigned a project site in Frick Park that is near the Edgewood/Swissvale on-ramp to the parkway.  We started maintaining the site last fall mostly by removing English Ivy, an invasive species that tends to grow everywhere.

We returned to the project this spring, but we wanted to do more than just remove English Ivy.  So Tom Cosgro and I attended a Spring Invasive Species training class that was held by NMRWA and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.  We learned new species to identify and whether or not they need to be removed from the site.  I also talked with NMRWA about what native species we could plant at our site. Two weeks before our spring cleanup day, I headed out and purchased a few bushes and several smaller flowering milkweed plants.

Soaking wet, but feeling accomplished! Thank you Christi, and all of our Urban EcoStewards, for your hard work!

Soaking wet, but feeling accomplished! Thank you Christi, and all of our Urban EcoStewards, for your hard work! (Photo courtesy GBA)

On our spring cleanup day this year, we began by removing several different types of invasive species including Garlic Mustard and Goutweed. Everyone noticed right away the lack of English Ivy, which made us feel accomplished since we knew that our last project had actually made an impact.

After an hour or so, the sky started to look darker so we decided to wrap it up by planting the natives that I had brought. As we began to dig holes for the bushes, the sky opened up and it poured down rain. We debated making a break for the cars but there was no time.  We all jumped into the trees and found as much shelter as we could. The pouring rain only lasted about 10-15 minutes but it was enough that we all ended up soaked.

After the rain, we went on to plant a Button Bush, a Spice Bush, and a few Milkweed plants, which attract numerous species of butterflies.  After that, we cleaned up and headed back towards Regent Square.  We all enjoyed an ice cold beer and laughed about being so wet.  Hopefully at the next EcoStewards day we will see our native plants flourishing along the trail in Frick Park.  And if you haven’t explored this wonderful park yet, you have to check it out!

26
Mar

If you drove down Penn Avenue in the Wilkinsburg business district last Saturday, you may have seen people in brightly colored vests working on the street trees. That’s because on Saturday, March 22, 2014 NMRWA joined forces with Tree Pittsburgh and watershed Tree Tenders for our first pruning workshop in Wilkinsburg!

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Volunteers gather around to review basic tree pruning guidelines.
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Jake demonstrates a proper pruning cut.
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The first step of pruning is to look for the 3 D's - dead, damaged, or diseased branches.
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Pruning trees in the 900 block of Penn Avenue.

We were performing important maintenance on 27 of the 76 trees that were planted in 2012 along Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg as a part of the Wilkinsburg TreeVitalize Project. Through our pruning efforts, we worked to remove damaged, diseased, and dead branches and enhance the trees’ natural forms, helping to ensure that they thrive in the urban environment and are able grow to their full potential.

As these trees continue to grow for decades to come, they will not only beautify and add needed public green space to the Wilkinsburg business district, but will also help reduce stormwater runoff and non-point source pollution entering Nine Mile Run. So, a big thank you to Jake Milofsky and Kevin Tang from Tree Pittsburgh for partnering with us for this workshop, and to all of the dedicated watershed Tree Tenders who volunteered their time on a windy Saturday morning. It’s because of you that these projects are ultimately a success!

 


If you are interested in helping to care for trees in the watershed this Spring, please visit our Upcoming Events page to see other tree care events that we have coming up!

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