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Fall 2013

Bronze Basins Return

Workers from Franco Construction of Forest Hills re-install the newly refurbished bronze bowls in the Mellon Square Fountain (left). The bowls were cleaned and restored by Matthews International Corp., the still-local company that fabricated the Modernist artworks nearly 60 years ago. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Director of Parks Management and Maintenance Phil Gruszka (right) points out Mellon Square Park’s varied foliage to recent visitor Emanuel Trueb, Director of Parks and Recreation, Basel, Switzerland. (top right) (Matthews archive photos, below)

Nine Large Bronze Fountain Basins Back in Place Downtown’s Mellon Square Park gem shines brighter now that the bowls have been fully repaired and restored to their original bronze glow by long-time Pittsburgh company Matthews International Corp.

“It was wonderful that the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy trusted Matthews to be the ongoing stewards of these majestic pieces of public art that we created back in the 1950s,” says Eric Resch, Key Account Manager for the company’s Architectural Products business. How do you handle nine bronze basins, each weighing in at 1,800 pounds and nine feet in diameter? Resch praises “the engineering excellence and ingenuity of our craftsmen at our plant on West Liberty Avenue. In a very short time they designed and manufactured a completely unique and extremely functional work station that made the conservation and restoration of the bowls possible.” A large tray, holding one basin at a time, used a ball-bearing system that enabled a single person to turn the bronze. Matthews cleaned each basin with a method similar to, but kinder than, sandblasting, removing dirt and paint. Subcontractor Michael Kraus, independent sculptor and curator for the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, applied a chemically induced hot ferric nitrate patina to create the distinctive warm golden brown. “It’s a true classic patina, actually a protective coating that ‘ages’ it,” Resch says. This is followed by a protective wax, which Matthews will

in this issue Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Wins National Award page 2

Join Our Community

re-apply every year as part of regular maintenance. “The basins are the signature sculptural element at the core of Mellon Square,” explains Susan Rademacher, Parks Curator at the Parks Conservancy. “They serve as ‘springs’ to fill the rectangular pool, which showcases a choreographed water display that sets a dramatically high gusher against a grid of 12 low-spraying jets, providing a true focal point with constant change and interest throughout the day.” The Mellon Square basins are believed to be the largest single bronze castings ever made. Usually, very large bronzes are cast in several pieces, then joined. Duplicating them today would be “monumentally difficult,” Resch says. “In fact, I don’t know how we did it in the first place.”


Page 2

the VOICE

Message from the President Dear Friend of Pittsburgh’s Parks:

Meg Cheever, President and CEO of the Parks Conservancy, is congratulated by friend and colleague Sylvia Fields, Executive Director of the Eden Hall Foundation and a member of the national board of the City Parks Alliance.

Staff Meg Cheever, President & CEO Richard Reed, Senior Vice President Kate Freed, Vice President, Development Laurie Anderson, Director of Grants Administration Jim Griffin, Director of Facilities Phil Gruszka, Director of Park Management and Maintenance Marijke Hecht, Director of Education Susan Rademacher, Parks Curator Heather Sage, Director of Community Projects Jake Baechle, Volunteer Coordinator Kim Barner, Senior Accountant Beth Bodamer, Executive Assistant Joyce Collier, Development Officer – Annual Fund Erin Copeland, Senior Restoration Ecologist Bryan Dolney, Field Ecologist Lynn Johnson, AmeriCorps Public Ally Brianna Joyce, Special Events Intern Taiji Nelson, Education Program Coordinator Megan Reitz, SCA Greenfellow Scott Roller, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications Bailey Warren, School Partnerships Coordinator Angela Yuele, Horticulturist

Board of Directors Alan Ackerman Ritchie Battle Daniel I. Booker, Chair Linda Burke Meg Cheever, ex officio Ann Davis Susan S. Dorrance Curt Ellenberg Jeremy Feinstein Elise Frick Harry Henninger Dan Holthaus Robert Hoyt Robbee Baker Kosak Nancy Levine

John P. Levis III Inez K. Miles Gary Mulholland Brian Mullins Marlee S. Myers Mildred S. Myers Illah R. Nourbakhsh Gabriela Porges James C. Rogal Patricia Rooney William C. Rudolph Mike Sullivan Jerry Voros Christy Wiegand Michael G. Zanic

Government Representatives: Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh Dan Frankel, State Representative Duane T. Ashley, Director of Operations, City of Pittsburgh Noor Ismail, Director of City Planning, City of Pittsburgh Rob Kaczorowski, Director of Public Works, City of Pittsburgh The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy improves quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with government and community partners.

editorial contribution – Michelle Pilecki Questions and comments about the newsletter can be directed to info@pittsburghparks.org.

Even in fall, Texas can be pretty hot, but the weather was perfect when I traveled there recently for the National Recreation and Park Association’s Congress & Exposition in Houston to accept the 2013 National Partnership Award. It was a great honor for me to represent the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in accepting this prestigious national award. Here in town, we can see much of the progress that the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has made over its 17 years of working with city government, funders and the community to improve our parks, but it’s really nice to hear people from around the United States praise our “exceptional service in the field,” and consider us among “the best of the best.” It was also a signal honor to travel to Texas with Sylvia Fields, Executive Director of the Eden Hall Foundation and a member of the national board of the City Parks Alliance. For the second year in a row Sylvia and I were invited speakers at the NRPA Congress to outline funderconservancy relationships for parks. It was also great to be joined in Houston by parks consultant Ann Toole, from the eastern part of our state who frequently works with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. She

nominated us for this award and was delighted when we won In partnership with the City, the Parks Conservancy has raised more than $65 million for parks restoration and completed more than a dozen major capital projects in the city’s parks and has four more under way. Particular projects that caught the NRPA’s eyes included in-the-field science education for hundreds of local students, and green and healthy outdoor places for Pittsburghers of every age and activity level to enjoy. Upon learning of our selection, Peter Harnik, director of Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land, calls our partnership with the City of Pittsburgh “a model that other places should be eyeing.” Though I was the one to accept the plaque, I know that the honor really belongs to all of us: park users, supporters, board members, volunteers and the citizens of our region who help make Pittsburgh’s parks a key element of Pittsburgh’s value proposition as a “most livable city”. See you in the parks.

Meg Cheever President & CEO

Serious About Playgrounds Son’s Gift Honors Mother’s Devotion to Children As a mom, Marlene Anthony knew how important play is to a child’s development. She followed that dictum in

raising her own children, recalls her son, Ray Anthony Jr., which continued with grandson Ray Anthony III, who turns 12 in December. “About four or five years ago, she would take our son while my wife, Runai, and I were at work,” Ray Jr. recalls. The outings varied at first, but “the playground was the thing.” Pretty soon, Ray III’s cousins were added to the trips to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park. Then other neighborhood kids. Eventually, Grandma Anthony would drive from her Wilkinsburg home to her son’s home in Penn Hills, and back through Wilkinsburg and Homewood to squeeze in as many young children as she could. Why? Ray Jr. asked his mother. “Because the other parents can’t do it,” she told him. Going to Anderson Playground was not merely a treat, but serious learning. It wasn’t just the chance to build strength and stamina in the fresh

air, and to develop confidence and hand-eye coordination navigating the swings and slides, but also to work on important social skills while sharing play areas with friends and strangers. “The playground is a theater of life,” Ray Jr. remembers his mother saying. The trips continued “every single day that was a nice day,” Mr. Anthony recalls. Even as his mother advanced into Stage IV lung cancer. “If she could drive, the children would go to the playground.” Marlene Farris Anthony, originally from the North Side of Pittsburgh, died April 23, 2012. “When I reflected on it, I realized that she had a big impact on a lot of kids’ lives,” Mr. Anthony says. His $15,000 gift to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will pay for a bench, flower and tree plantings in her memory at Anderson Playground. “There will always be a place for her to watch the kids.”


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Fall 2013

Green Improvements at Beltzhoover’s McKinley Park Kicking off Beltzhoover Community Days in July, the

John Altdorfer

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy celebrated the fruits of a $250,000 renovation project in McKinley Park. “Our goal was to reconnect the park to its users and its community by improving accessibility and saving an important historic feature,” says Meg Cheever, President and CEO of the Parks Conservancy. Attendees admired the 1930s stone-work wall at the Amesbury Street and Delmont Avenue entrance restored to its historic glory, but the 21st-century technology of the parking lot also piqued interest as they poured cups of water onto the surface to watch it disappear. The lot’s porous asphalt, which allows storm water to be absorbed into the ground, is a test case that may be

“Our goal was to reconnect the park to its users and its community by improving accessibility and saving an important historic feature.”

used in other parks to manage rain runoff. (See “A Watershed Event,” Page 7) Work at the 78.5-acre park also included rain gardens and accessible walkways from the street to the playground and the basketball court. “As I look at this park today, I can see just by walking in the park that it was money well spent,” says state Rep. Jake BEFORE Wheatley (D-19). “It’s not just about the park itself, but what it means to the AFTER community.” The Parks Conservancy and the landscape architecture firm Environmental Planning & Design worked closely with the community and the City of Pittsburgh to formulate the improvement plans. John Zottola Landscaping handled construction. The project was funded in part by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through a Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant to the Parks Conservancy. Additional funding came from the Birmingham Foundation and from City of Pittsburgh Community Development Block Grants. The City also Admiring the newly restored upper entry to McKinley Park at its dedication are Louann contributed lighting, benches, bollards and bicycle racks. Several Horan, Acting Director of Citiparks; Meg Cheever, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Parks individuals gave personal gifts to the project. Conservancy; Jill Evans of Voices against Violence; Eric Ford, Beltzhoover Community “The more we collaborate together collectively,” adds Council; District 3 City Councilmember Bruce A. Kraus; State Senator (District 42) Beltzhoover Neighborhood Council President Eric Ford, “the more Wayne Fontana; State Representative (District 19) Jake Wheatley; and District 4 City we can accomplish.” Councilmember Natalia Rudiak.

On the Drawing Board Parks Conservancy Partners to Develop Master Plan Project for Arsenal Park “Arsenal Park is one of the park treasures of the Lawrenceville neighborhood and, indeed, all of Pittsburgh” says Meg Cheever, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “The Parks

Conservancy is very pleased to be partnering with the City of Pittsburgh, Friends of Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville United and the community to begin the work of restoring this historic park to excellent condition.” The nine-acre park is part of the tract on which the U.S. Army Ordnance Department built an arsenal in 1814. Production of cartridges ramped up during the Civil War. In one of that conflict’s bizarre coincidences, September 17, 1862, marks both the bloodiest day in U.S. history – the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg – and the worst civilian disaster of the war: the explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal, killing 78 workers. For the first step, City Council’s re-allocated $70,000 of Community Development Block Grant money formerly dedicated to projects in Council District 7 that did not come to fruition. The enabling legislation was sponsored by then-outgoing District 7 Councilman Patrick Dowd. Additional funding is being jointly sought by the partnering organizations. The planning process kicked off with a community information meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Arsenal Middle School. A project steering committee is being formed, and an RFP will be issued before the end of the year for both a landscape architecture firm with specialized parks planning experience, and for a professional consultant to handle the historic and cultural resources review. The master planning process is anticipated to last one year.

Arsenal Parks features a notable alleé of English elms, plus an amphitheater and former reflecting pool, among various amenities.


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the VOICE

Parks Conservancy Opens up Nature to Pittsburgh Students

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For dozens of lucky Pittsburgh students, going “back to school” is literally a walk in the woods. Since its beginning, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has opened up nature for children, using the parks as

classrooms. In recent years, those programs have expanded to reach students from early elementary to high school. The list of schools served by the Park Conservancy’s education team, in partnership with Citiparks Frick Environmental Center, grows every year, engaging educators as well as their young charges. Just ask Kristen Golomb, Director of Science Instruction and Programming and Chevrolet Green Educator at Propel Schools.

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“Kids kept coming up to me and saying, ‘This is the best field trip in my life’,” she recalls about the first group of Propel middle schoolers in Mission Ground Truth (MGT) in 2011-12. Propel has expanded its participation every year since. Now all four of Propel’s eighthgrade classes are signed up for MGT. Two other grades at Propel Braddock Hills, School of Innovation and Design, will take advantage of classes for younger children. “We saw the value in it right away,” Golomb explains. The Propel Montour class was studying populations and ecosystems in class, but now they could see the real thing. “I hear over and over again, ‘I actually have time to explore,’ and with [environmental] educators there to help them pull together what they’re seeing with what they’ve learned in class, they’re discovering as well as exploring.” MGT, an inquiry-based science curriculum of classroom and field-based

experiences, helps students investigate human impacts on urban woodlands and freshwater streams in Frick Park. The culmination is a daylong field investigation. Using water quality sensors and other technology, the students become ecologists for a day, gathering and analyzing real data on organisms and their interactions. The program fits perfectly into STEM goals, Golomb says, referring to the need for better Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. “The students are using 21st century technology, developing 21st century skills,” she notes. They’re learning not only how researchers work in the field, but also about how they see and think. And maybe participants can see themselves in the future as environmental scientists or researchers. The model of using the parks as classrooms is “a memorable experience we want to bring to more students.” So this year, the kindergarten at Propel Braddock Hills became Habitat Explorers, and the fourth grade joined Park Stewards. In the former, students study the inhabitants of meadows, woodlands and streams in guided and independent exploration, in three different seasons. The Stewards study how the changing seasons affect a specific habitat, and may help on a stewardship project, such as invasive species removal and planting native species. (For more on the High School Urban EcoStewards program, see “Voices from the Future,” Page 5.) In each program, educators work to prepare both teachers and students in the classroom, so they can connect what they’re learning with their time in the outdoors. The emphasis is: Science isn’t just something taught in school, but happening all around us. There are added benefits. Golomb notes that she sees students interact not only with educators but also their peers, sharing their explorations. And perhaps they’re doing the same with friends and family. Golomb did. Frick has always been her favorite park since her childhood days in the Blue Slide

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1 | High School Urban EcoStewards use their waterproof field journals to reflect on what they are discovering. 2 | Using a kick-net, Mission Ground Truth participants look for macro-invertebrates in Nine Mile Run. 3 | Mud balls away! A Habitat Explorer helps reseed the meadow with wildflower seeds. 4 | For the Mission Ground Truth forest investigation, students measure the size of a tree using a specially calibrated tape that converts circumference to diameter.

Playground. But after discovering so much more, she couldn’t wait to take her daughter Ana Jo, 8, to replicate some of the Habitat Explorers experience. They made seedballs and then threw them, helping to sow more native wildflowers.

“I just wish they had this kind of program for adults.” Participating Schools City Charter High School Propel East Colfax Elementary

Propel McKeesport

Community Day School

Propel Montour

The Ellis School

Propel Homestead

Environmental Charter School

Science and Technology Academy

Faison Elementary

Westinghouse High School – Lighthouse Program

Perry Traditional Academy Propel Braddock Hills

Winchester Thurston School


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Fall 2013 Students Learn by Taking Care of Their Parks

Tracey Thomas, a senior at Westinghouse High School, has been part of High School Urban EcoStewards for three years. Each year, schools adopt a plot of land in one of Pittsburgh’s regional parks (Frick, Highland, Riverview, Schenley) for ecological restoration: to control erosion, clean up dumpsites, manage invasive species, and plant native species. The students also document their experiences, make observations, and reflect on their service in journals. By Tracey Thomas Up Close and Personal

Growing up, kids are exposed to nature. But High School Urban EcoStewards, or Eco as most participants call it, is a way to help it thrive. Since ninth grade, I’ve really enjoyed working in Frick Park to plant Tracey removes invasive trees, flowers, shrubs, dig up grapevines from the Westinghouse invasive species, and just sit in Lighthouse site. nature and write. The first day, we took a walk around the area. When it rained, the trail would get muddy and we’d have to struggle not to lose our shoes in the mud, but our work site was beautiful. It was an open field with three giant full grown trees: cherry and oak. The field also had an almost-jungle-gym look to it because of all the grapevines that wrapped themselves around the shrubs and some of the smaller trees. Over the course of that year, we planted about six baby trees and cut down a lot of grapevines.

little poems or raps. Then we jumped right into planting shrubs and trees. Each time we came here, we would plant a little, journal a little, and try to identify the types of trees, shrubs and flowers. This year, after one and a half years at the new site, we planted trees and flowers. For every tree planted, we were to plant two flowers. Then we dug up a few invasive trees and plants, and we got to use shovels, loppers and an ax. It was a new and thrilling experience for me to use an ax and watch someone up close use one. At the end of this third year, we talked about Eco work as a future career. What’s Next?

I wholeheartedly enjoy working in Eco and I can’t wait until next year. I’m curious and anxious at the same time about whether we will have a new site and to see how the old sites turned out. I’m glad I participated. Eco has become a part of my life.

Make Art, Not Waste

The most memorable part was our art project. Instead of throwing away the grapevines, we made a “fence” out of them to protect our future plants from any animal that would try to eat them. It took a lot of time sketching ideas, but when we finally came up with one, we loved it. Once we finished construction, we planted about four to six baby shrubs and a couple of flowers inside the “fence.” Moving On

The next year, we soon moved to a new site. Here, behind a nursery maintained by the park, the first thing was to find a spot and write down our observations: animals, trees, sounds, feelings and anything else we could come up with. I think a couple of us even wrote

Grapevines have been repurposed to make artistic, protective fencing around young plants.

Conservancy Joins Effort to Expand Capacity in Environmental Education Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has begun a year-long collaboration with 20 organizations from across the state to expand and strengthen local networks and stakeholder

participation in environmental education. The program, Expand Capacity in Environmental Education (EECapacity), is a partnership among Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), New Knowledge Organization, the U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, and other government, non-profit, and community organizations across North America. Pennsylvania is one of four new states selected for this third year of the initiative. The goal, says Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Director of Education Marijke Hecht, is to develop a “broader and richer

network of environmental organizations, community and youth development advocates, and educators that infuse environmental education into their work with the public.” At the National Training Workshop and the NAAEE conference in Baltimore, Ms. Hecht joined representatives from the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network, the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, and the Pennsylvania Association for Environmental Education.

For more information about EECapacity see: www.eecapacity.net


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the VOICE

Phil-osophy

Stan Franzos

A battle we can win: Oak Wilt Disease In each issue of The Voice, Phil Gruszka, Director of Parks Management and Maintenance, talks about trees and managing the park environment. Gruszka is a respected arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, and is a national leader in testing historically significant populations of trees. He is a key environmental resource for our region, and works closely with the US Forest Service and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in educating the public on care, mitigation strategies, and recovery of urban forests.

Oak Wilt Disease, a fungus that has claimed more than ten acres of beautiful, mature oak trees in Frick, Highland, and Riverview Parks during the past five years, has now shown up in Schenley Park, infecting 60 large oak trees on the hillside between Hobart and Prospect Streets. Unfortunately these trees now need to be cut down and removed – the only way to prevent the loss of all the oak trees in the area. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy field staff work closely with the Department of Public Works (DPW) and City forester. Early this fall, DPW sent a backhoe tractor to the site to dig a trench around the infected oak trees, thus preventing the disease spread through root grafts and providing a buffer for healthy trees.

What to expect The trees will be removed during the winter when the ground is frozen and disease and insects have completed their lifecycles. Next spring we will restore the barren site by planting new native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The Parks Conservancy and the City stabilization plans include native seed mixes that, with proper management, will minimize the spread of invasive non-native species. All of these efforts coupled with professional park staff and management team makes a very efficient mitigation and recovery strategy with limited resources.

John Altdorfer

While there’s no “cure,” Oak Wilt spreads slowly – so by being vigilant and respond rapidly we can contain the spread. Another piece of good news is the United States Forest Service has a forest health specialist doing DNA testing on the infected trees. This research will help us improve and refine protocols for controlling this disease.

How do I protect my own oak trees? You can help prevent Oak Wilt by not trimming your trees from April to the end of October. Wounding trees during the growing season makes it easier for the fungus to spread. Beetles feed on infected trees because the fungal mats have a pleasant aroma and fly to your tree for dessert. Now your tree becomes dinner. Always contact a professional arborist before working on your oak trees. If you have questions for Phil, please email info@pittsburghparks.org with “Phil” in the subject line. We will do our best to address them.

Bouquets of Thanks What’s the Symbol of a Bright Idea? No, not a lightbulb: A daffodil bulb. Since 2007, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Daffodil Project has planted thousands of the deerrepellent flowers to create self-sustaining gardens that welcome

spring. It all began with 5,000 bulbs in a pilot project to transform the hard-to-maintain lawn near Schenley Park’s Bartlett Playground into something both practical and beautiful. A collaboration of the Parks Conservancy, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Penn State University Cooperative Extension aims to install daffodil beds throughout the city. A $50 donation will fund the planting of 25 daffodil bulbs, but you can pick any amount. We’ll mail you – or your certain someone – a beautiful card to let them know of your gift to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy on their behalf. Help us reach our goal of planting hundreds of thousands of new bulbs in Riverview, Frick, Highland and Mellon Square parks. Please go to www.pittsburghparks.org/donate and pull down The Daffodil Project under Designation.


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Fall 2013 A Watershed Event

Legend Ex Trees to Remain Proposed Tree Groves Berm Infiltration Trench Wildflower Meadow Lawn or Warm Season Grass Meadow

Conceptual Design of Demonstration Project in between Beacon and Bartlett Street, illustrating infiltration trench, canopy and understory trees, meadow and path.

Demonstration Projects Will Soak Up Rainwater in the Parks to Improve Stream and River Health Pittsburgh is one of the rainiest cities in the United States*, but this is a treasure, not a travail. It is the wealth of

Park-users can enjoy a new trail and open lawn in the meadow. To capture another 1.12 million gallons running off the Bob O’Connor Golf Course, sections of the course rough will be re-graded water that makes possible all those hillsides full of trees, meadows of to include long bumps or retentive berms. Water will slow as it hits the wildflowers, and bountiful home gardens. berms, and a special soil mix and taller grass will help to soak up more But after decades of cutting down forests, laying pipes and paving water, reducing runoff. over the ground, the balance of the natural rainforest has been badly “When the Parks Conservancy upset. Rainwater does not soak into the ground -- it flows first began envisioning this project ten down hills, gathering speed and pollutants until it reaches Panther Hollow Watershed years ago, it was much smaller in scope, the sewer system. The result in Panther Hollow is a polluted Project Funders affecting about 80 acres,” says Parks stream and lake, and throughout the region we have raw Allegheny County Conservation Conservancy President and CEO Meg sewage flowing into rivers. District Cheever. “However, our experience with A growing partnership between the Pittsburgh Parks Allegheny County Sanitary Authority environmental restoration and the results Conservancy, ALCOSAN, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer (ALCOSAN) of scientific research made it clear that we Authority, and the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Dominion Foundation should consider the watershed as a whole. Works is building projects to collect, save and disperse some This is an important step toward the goal The Helen and James Huegel Fund 1.7 million gallons of rainwater in the Panther Hollow of restoring the Panther Hollow Watershed Watershed within Schenley Park. The projects are guided by The Peaceable Kingdom Fund to viability and, eventually, a cherished of The Pittsburgh Foundation a plan led by the Parks Conservancy, with an initial $500,000 landmark in Panther Hollow Lake.” grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, plus an Pittsburgh Department of The 384-acre Panther Hollow Public Works estimated $862,500 and in-kind contributions from other Watershed encompasses part of Schenley partners. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Park and Oakland and Squirrel Hill. Other institutions who have been involved in the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Runoff has increased because of projects include Carnegie Mellon University, City of Authority impervious surfaces and lawns both in the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning and Department of Richard King Mellon Foundation park and in surrounding neighborhoods. Transportation, First Tee of Pittsburgh at the Bob O’Connor Ryan Memorial Foundation The result is not only more powerful Golf Course, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the flows during storms, but also the failure University of Pittsburgh, and participants from several to store the rain degrades water quality and causes drier conditions community planning workshops. throughout the watershed. The Hollow itself suffers from many other Along Beacon Street, new infiltration trenches – essentially urban/suburban ecological problems: invasive and non-native plants, very large French drains – will catch rainwater and allow an estimated soil erosion, deer over-population, loss of tree canopy, and deferred 600,000 gallons to feed a newly planted meadow with shrubs and trees. maintenance of storm pipes. ALCOSAN has been monitoring the Panther Hollow Lake outlet since 2008. For nearly three years, the Parks Conservancy and University of Pittsburgh also have been monitoring water flow, soil moisture and the groundwater table as a prelude to installation of the pilot projects. Pitt researchers will continue to monitor the sites to gauge the impact of the improvements. Data collected from the project will help shape the implementation of the PWSA/City of Pittsburgh Wet Weather Plan to reduce combined sewage overflows. * According to data in The Places Rated Almanac, which has regularly ranked Pittsburgh “the most livable city” since 1985

Cross-section drawing shows one of the 18 retentive grading berms to be installed on the Bob O’Connor Golf Course, managed by the First Tee of Pittsburgh.


Gabriela Porges Joins Parks Conservancy Board

Mary Jane Bent

Her love of Pittsburgh’s parks started as a child, but it was the love of her own daughters

Gabriela Porges (center) shares her loves of hats and Pittsburgh Parks with daughters Amelia and Victoria.

Seeing the improvements in the parks under the stewardship of the Parks Conservancy piqued Ms. Porges’ interest.What impresses her most about the Conservancy’s work is how it “just opened up all the parks, not just for us to look at them, but for use by everybody.” Families who may not be able to go away on vacation, children who don’t have backyards, still have their Pittsburgh parks, playgrounds, pools, nature areas, she continues.

for the parks that prodded Gabriela Porges’ years of involvement with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, where she now joins the Board of Directors. “Highland Park,” she replies when asked which park is her favorite. “There’s something I like about all of them,” but after her family moved here in 1975 from Argentina, Ms. Porges’ every Saturday What impresses me most about the Conservancy’s involvement meant playing work is how it just opened up all the parks, not just for with the Parks in Highland Conservancy Park while her us to look at them, but for use by everybody. began with the dad took his Carousel Tea run around the and eventually the more grownup Spring Hat reservoir. She left college and career, and after Luncheon, which she co-chaired for four years. she returned in 2000 she met and married David The Parson’s School of Design alumna, who Porges, President and Chief Executive Officer worked in fashion with Kenneth J. Lane, Hermès, of EQT Corp. The Squirrel Hill couple now has Lacoste and Loro Piana, certainly has a sense of two daughters, Victoria and Amelia, 10 and 8 style. She hopes to acquire a previously worn respectively. chapeau by her favorite milliner, Philip Treacy in But when they were younger, around three London, in time for “the next Hat Luncheon.” or four, Ms. Porges recalls, “They just loved the Carousel in Schenley Plaza. Every Friday night after dinner we had to go to the Carousel.”

Download Your Free Park App Today

Nine Mile Run

New MyPGH App Puts Park Info Into Visitors’ Smartphones Load MyPGH Parks Mobile Application into your iPhone or Android, with information and updates on the city’s five largest parks, encompassing nearly 2,000 acres.

MyPGH Parks Free, because they’re yours

Available at Apple App Store and Google Play The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

John Moyer

The mobile app, sponsored by UPMC Health Plan as part of its Parks are Free (www.parksarefree.com) campaign, and produced by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy with the innovation studio Deeplocal, is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh and one of the first in the nation. Through a partnership with Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Social and Urban Research, the park maps have been updated to include recently developed trails for Frick, Schenley, Highland, Riverview and Emerald View parks. “This innovation will help local families to feel more comfortable in our parks,” said Diane P. Holder, President and CEO of UPMC Health Plan, “and it will be another way to encourage them to get out and be active.”

New Grant Expands Citizen Stewardship The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has received $49,990 to work with the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association to foster and expand “a culture of stewardship” for the continued health of the East End waterway. The award from the Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will help the partners develop educational and ecological restoration activities to improve the health of the watershed and to gather monitoring data. Though the watershed was greatly helped by a $7.7 million aquatic ecosystem restoration, completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in July 2006, not every problem was solved. Citizen Stewardship of Nine Mile Run Watershed is for anyone who wants to learn about the impact of the urban environment on green space, and to help by removing two acres of invasive plants and planting native trees and shrubs. Education programs that use Frick Park as a “classroom” will be offered to middle and high school students in Homewood and Wilkinsburg. Families and adults may participate in Volunteer Days to gather data about the forest’s and stream’s health. Major funding is provided by NFWF’s partnerships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Company and FedEx.


Fall 2013 - The Voice