Page 1

Nurturing Nature, Planting Possibility.

Fall 2009

Trail and sign improvements launched for Frick, Highland, Riverview, and Schenley Parks The Parks Conservancy officially broke ground on a comprehensive trail and sign improvement project October 26th. The ceremony, held in lower Frick Park, was attended by Representative Mike Doyle, along with Stan Caldwell from the office of Senator Arlen Specter. Rep. Doyle and Sen. Specter were instrumental in securing the $3.02 million federal grant that made the project possible. In order to receive the federal funds, the Parks Conservancy needed to raise a percentage of matching funds. Many foundations, individuals, and corporations helped raise over $498,000, releasing the federal funds. Construction crews begin work this fall on trails in lower Frick Park. Other projects will begin along Butler Street on the north end of Highland City Councilwoman Teresa Kail-Smith; Stan Caldwell of Senator Specter’s Office; Art Victor, Director of Park and on the Bob Harvey and Mairdale Trails Operations, City of Pittsburgh; Meg Cheever; Congressman Mike Doyle; Parks Conservancy Board Chair, in Riverview Park. Work on Schenley Park, Jerry Voros, Representative Dan Frankel; City Councilman Patrick Dowd; and Frick Park Foreman Dick including the restoration of the Works Progress Wilford break ground in Frick Park on October 26th. Administration-era bridges in Panther Hollow, is set for spring 2010. have improved the parks. Shortly after the trail work begins, crews will install the first wave of Once work begins, the trail and sign project should take 10 signs in an extensive signage program. About 100 new signs throughout months to complete. The Parks Conservancy’s Department of Parks the four regional parks will improve wayfinding and educate vistors Management and Maintenance and the City of Pittsburgh Department about the parks. In addition to directional signs, interpretive signs will of Public Works will monitor these newly restored landscapes, and enlist provide information about history, wildlife, and restoration projects that Urban EcoStewards to care for them.

As the Parks Conservancy continues planning to restore Mellon Square to its original brilliance, Pittsburghers have new options to experience the Square and learn about the history of this nationally significant space through a series of programming and educational offerings. August and September featured a series of concerts in the Square bringing Indira Corales, El Trini, Brad Yoder Duo, and Cellofourte to the afternoon lunch crowd. In early October, the Parks Conservancy launched an audio tour with a downloadable brochure available on and This interesting audio tour makes eight stops throughout the Square highlighting key historical facts. For more detail, a Mellon Square timeline on includes historic scenes and park plans. The full story will be told in a book devoted to Mellon Square’s design and history, coming in late 2010. The restoration of Mellon Square will be discussed during The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s upcoming Pioneers Regional Symposium in Pittsburgh which is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Celebrating the life and work of John O. Simonds, the event will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 6-7 at The Andy Warhol Museum. For information and registration, please visit A reception will be held Thursday, November 5 at the Warhol Museum. (See page 3 for more Historic Mellon Square was dedicated in 1955. The Square information.) offered outdoor relaxation to nearby workers while the garage served the needs of downtown drivers.

Green vision for Hill District page 3

Mary Jane Bent

Riverview Park champion joins Board of Directors page 2

John Altdorfer

Laura Cook

in this issue Eagle Scout volunteers at Mellon Park page 7

A. Church Photographers

Honoring Mellon Square – a modern masterpiece

Page 2


Message from the President: The importance of excellence in parks management Dear Friends of Pittsburgh Parks, The mission of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is “to improve quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with the City.” As we have worked toward this goal over the last 12 years, we have become convinced of the extreme importance of park management. Recently, we invited Doug Blonsky, President of the world renowned Central Park Conservancy, and Tim Fulton, park management expert formerly of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, to town for a presentation and panel discussion. They were joined on the podium by Phil Gruszka, Director of Management and Maintenance for the Parks Conservancy, and our resident expert on maintaining public landscapes. Consensus was evident that while good design is fervently desired, excellent park management is of overriding importance. The best design can be rendered unpleasant, dirty, or unsafe if meticulous standards are not met. And significant improvements can be made over time through day-to-day management practices. In New York and Buffalo, the municipal governments elected to contract with the private nonprofits to manage the parks on a fee-forservice basis. This did not mean that government walked away from its responsibilities; rather government found that in today’s world of challenged municipal resources this kind of working agreement makes sense. We will continue our ongoing dialogue with local government, always seeking the most effective solution for excellent parks. In a small way, your Parks Conservancy has a contractual arrangement with the City of Pittsburgh (similar to that of Central

Tim Fulton, Meg Cheever, Doug Blonksy, Parks Conservancy board president Jerry Voros, and Phil Gruszka at the Schenley Park Cafe and Visitor Center.

Park) in that we have a 30-year agreement to manage Schenley Plaza. As we near the end of the Plaza’s fourth season I am thrilled to report that we are experiencing record attendance. Visitorship is up 25% over last year and more than 850,000 people have visited since the Plaza opened on June 8, 2006. We expect our one-millionth visitor sometime in the summer of 2010. Kudos to our Plaza Manager Jim Griffin, to Phil Gruszka, and to the rest of the Plaza team including Jeff Creighton from the City’s Department of Public Works for the excellent parks management that has made this enormous success possible, and for providing such a splendid centerpiece for Oakland and for all of Pittsburgh.

Letters to the Editor Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Phone: 412-682-PARK (7275) Fax: 412-622-0160

Staff Meg Cheever, President and CEO Richard Reed, Executive Vice President and COO Debbie Beck, Chief Financial Officer Laurie Anderson, Director of Development Philip J. Gruszka, Director of Park Management and Maintenance Marijke Hecht, Director of Education Susan M. Rademacher, Parks Curator Kendall Ayers, Development Associate Kim Barner, Finance Assistant Beth Bodamer, Executive Assistant Joyce Collier, Development Assistant Lisa Conti, Development Officer - Annual Fund, Administrator - Development Systems Laura Cook, Marketing Communications Coordinator Erin Copeland, Restoration Ecologist Bryan Dolney, Field Ecologist William Ferguson, Development Officer - Corporate and Government Relations Jim Griffin, Schenley Plaza Manager Melissa McMasters, Online and Community Advocacy Manager

Board of Directors Alan Ackerman • Brian Bronaugh • Linda Burke Meg Cheever • G. Reynolds Clark • John Diederich Helen Faison • Jeremy Feinstein • Audrey Hillman Fisher Elise Frick • Ethel Hansen • Harry Henninger Dan Holthaus • Elizabeth Howard • Mark Kamlet Becky Keevican • Robbee Kosak • John P. Levis, III David Malone • Debra Meyer • Scarlet Morgan Brian Mullins • Marlee S. Myers • Susan Nernberg Eliza Nevin • Illah Nourbakhsh • Robert Petrilli James Rogal • Ritchie Scaife • Tom Schmidt • Alex Speyer Jr. Gerald Voros, Chair • Christy Wiegand • Michael Zanic Government Representatives: Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City of Pittsburgh Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Allegheny County State Representative Dan Frankel Duane Ashley, City of Pittsburgh Noor Ismail, City of Pittsburgh

the Voice Editor, Laura Cook Staff Photographer, Melissa McMasters

My residence is within a few blocks of Frick Park. During the last 15 years, I’ve walked my dogs and remained grateful for this major benefit to living in Pittsburgh. The joggers, walkers and recreation cyclists have used pathways with a good amount of respect for each other. However, the extreme cyclists are different. Generally, they have no regard for anyone in their path as they work to take higher hills with greater speed, and they don’t care about the eroded paths they leave behind. Earlier this year, as I walked toward a hillside, I was almost hit by two cyclists who sped down the hillside. I didn’t see them coming. One of them berated me with such rage, demanding that I get off the path so the others could descend in the same way. I looked up and saw about 10 more perched along the ridge, ready to take the same plunge. His rage left me shaken and I believe that without witnesses, he would have physically assaulted me or my dogs. I said he shouldn’t be on that path, but he shouted that he had permission. In the past year, the paths the extreme cyclists forged are eroded. These cyclists are not into recreation and their speeds are questionable. If you walk along the bottom trails and look at the hillsides, you will see the worn markings of the cyclists. No foliage grows on these paths. Are the extreme cyclists permitted on all paths? Are they permitted to be on any path at unreasonable speeds? Sincerely yours, Graham Park

It’s always sad to hear of park user conflicts. Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (PTAG) strives to work with land managers, like Dick Wilford in Frick Park, so that we can utilize good design minimizing user conflicts. For example, we try to eliminate straight downhill sections with blind corners, so that all users are aware of their surroundings. We also work to educate all trail users about trail etiquette to further reduce negative interations with other users. This fall PTAG will be hosting a series of Town Hall meetings through which conflicts can be addressed and possible solutions can be sought. Details on a meeting involving Frick Park will be released on the PTAG website. For the time being we invite anybody wishing to play an active role in their local trails to join us at a trail work day or at one of our monthly club meetings which are held the second Monday of every month from 6:30 - 8:30 P.M. at the Bike Pittsburgh offices. Sincerely, The PTAG Board The City of Pittsburgh works in partnership with organizations like PTAG and the Parks Conservancy on care and management of trails in the regional parks. These organizations are not able to enforce and cite users who violate park rules or endanger other users. In the future, the City intends to increase our levels of enforcement in the parks to contain, and hopefully eliminate, these illegal functions. Sincerely, Mike Gable

Deputy Director of Public Works, City of Pittsburgh

The Parks Conservancy welcomes letters to the editor and an open exchange of dialogue about the parks. Letters may be edited. All submissions become the property of the Parks Conservancy. Please send your letter to or the Voice, 2000 Technology Drive, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Page 3

Fall 2009 beyond to create dynamic places on the Hill that are new yet comfortably familiar building upon what already exists historically, ecologically, and culturally. The Greenprint is a project of Find the Rivers! (FTR!), an initiative to connect people and landscape in the Hill. Its partners are Hill House Association, the Hill District Consensus Group, Community Partners Institute, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Greenprint Phase One was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Neighborhood Partnership Program, and other private foundations. The Greenprint’s framework of civic ecology is planned to be incorporated into the upcoming Hill District Master Plan, being

Michael Sexauer

A joyful energy greeted Walter Hood’s presentation of “Sampling Urban Landscapes: Seeing the Hill District Anew” on September 3 at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Hood discussed the Greenprint plan for the Hill District: Phase One at his presentation. It taps successful landscape strategies from Pittsburgh and

Cliffside Park will be included in the Greenprint project. The Parks Conservancy is raising funds to make over this space to include interactive elements and a community gathering space. The view of the Allegheny River will also be reestablished, as an important step in connecting the Hill to the rivers.

The excerpt above from Hood’s September 3 presentation demonstrates what the Hill will look like with woodlands, conveyance and a centralized village.

John Altdorfer

The Hill plan: A village in the woods

Walter Hood, Meg Cheever, and Denys Candy at Hood’s presentation: Sampling Urban Landscapes on September 3 at the new August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

developed by the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning. Since June, Walter Hood has been working with team members -- Arup, Studio for Spatial Practice, and FTR! -- to develop a practical and innovative vision for the Hill. The team reviewed previous plans, collected additional data, and gathered insights from residents and stakeholders who gave ideas for the Hill’s edges, high points, and valleys. The Greenprint defines three distinct regions. The Woods, the Hill’s outer edge, wraps the community with dense vegetation. The Village is a collection of diverse neighborhoods at the geographic center of the Hill. Conveyance is a system that moves people, water, and wildlife through the Hill, highlighting historic stream paths. Project sites will be detailed during Greenprint Phase Two, to be completed in spring 2010. Ultimately, the Greenprint offers an historic opportunity to change the language which describes the Hill, to invest differently, and to think about the Hill’s importance to Pittsburgh.

Page 4 Deer disrupt ecosystem balance in Riverview

the VOICE New faces and focus on education at the Parks Conservancy

As part of the Riverview Park 2008 Chapel Shelter restoration project, garden beds of liriope and hydrangeas were planted adding to the natural beauty of the park. Unfortunately, these charming garden areas are now suffering due to the overwhelming deer population in Riverview Park. It is not uncommon to walk through the park and pass a family of deer snacking on native plants and flower gardens. Riverview’s deer population is so large that the liriope and hydrangeas are decimated and will need to be replaced with an alternative set of plants less appealing to the deer. Entire areas of the park are stripped down with nothing but undesirable vegetation, such as garlic mustard and multiflora rose. Some experimental deer exclosures have been set up in the park by the Parks Conservancy and other organizations that attempt to protect the native saplings and groundcover that we plant to regenerate the canopy and understory. The Parks Conservancy hopes to work with the City and the community to address the serious issue of deer overbrowse in our wooded city parks. Parks Conservancy employees Bryan Dolney and Marijke Hecht are the newest additions to the staff.

This summer, the Parks Conservancy said goodbye to two longtime employees as Volunteer Education Coordinator Gudrun Wells returned home to Australia and Field Ecologist Jake Milofsky began working toward a Master’s Degree in Environmental Horticulture at the University of Washington in Seattle. With their departure, there are two new faces at the Parks Conservancy. Bryan Dolney joined the staff in July as the new Field Ecologist, and Marijke Hecht became the new Director of Education in August.

Deer have eaten the once beautiful flower beds outside the Chapel Shelter leaving barren patches in the landscape.

Home runs for Trees The Parks Conservancy has partnered with the Pirates this year planting a native tree in the regional parks for each home run hit in

PNC Park. This season 75 trees were planted!

The entry garden at Riverview Park was planted by the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works with zinnias, dahlias, salvias, and marigolds creating a beautiful welcome to park visitors.

Bryan Dolney

Marijke Hecht

Bryan Dolney is working to manage invasive species, erosion, and restoration projects. He is also involved in GIS mapping, data management, and environmental education. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, he worked in two of Florida’s most heavily visited parks, coordinating volunteers to remove invasive plants, representing Florida Park Service on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, and assisting in controlling wildfires in Florida’s forests. He remains involved in scientific research, administering a Pennsylvania DCNR grant to study lichens at Frick Park, Mingo Creek County Park, and Roaring Run Natural Area. “I think the Parks Conservancy is a product of what Pittsburgh is all about,” Dolney says. “There are a bunch of people who have committed themselves to making their home and community better. Additionally, there is the practical side—the parks are beautiful places and offer a biologist a great place to learn, grow, and apply his craft.”

Marijke Hecht’s arrival signals the Parks Conservancy’s increasing emphasis on environmental education. Hecht brings experience and passion to assume a leadership role in community outreach and education efforts and to manage the growing volunteer program. Most recently, Hecht served as the TreeVitalize Director for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, managing a five-year regional tree planting initiative to add 20,000 trees to the urban forest. She was previously the Executive Director of the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association during the $7.7 million stream restoration project in lower Frick Park. Earlier in her career, Hecht was a public school math and science teacher and trained inner-city high school students in conservation as a Field Supervisor with the Nature Conservancy of New York. Says Hecht, “I am so thrilled to join the Parks Conservancy and get the chance to use my experiences with urban environmental restoration and education for for the City and its parks.”

Page 5

Fall 2009

The Parks Conservancy was recently honored with two international awards for the 2006 transformation of Schenley Plaza. On October 12, the Parks Conservancy won the Silver Award in the Environmentally Sustainable Project category at the 2009 International Awards for Livable Communities (the LivCom Awards) held in the Czech Republic city of Pilsen. Meg Cheever, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, presented the project to a panel of judges and an audience representing 15 countries. The purpose of the LivCom Awards is to encourage best practices, innovation and leadership in sustainable development. LivCom Awards is sponsored by the Unired Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and is the world’s only competition for local communities that focuses on environmental management and the creation of livable communities. The Pittsburgh project competed with Schenley Plaza was filled with dozens of daredevils on August 22 with Pogopalooza. The event received national projects from Australia, Austria, China, coverage and enlivened multiple spots across the city. the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, England, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Founded in 1954, the International Downtown Association (IDA) and Ukraine. has more than 650 member organizations worldwide including: North In September, the Parks Conservancy received the Pinnacle Award America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Through a network of committed from the International Downtown Association. The Pinnacle Award individuals, rich body of knowledge and unique capacity to nurture is the association’s highest honor, and is presented to projects that community-building partnerships, IDA is a guiding force in creating represent the best of the best in urban development. healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well being of towns, cities and regions of the world. The award-winning Plaza wrapped up another fantastic season on weekday oga provided by October 24 with a Halloween Kids Day. In its fourth season, the Plaza reached record attendance with an average of 1,000 visitors per day. Great events like the WYEP Final Fridays concerts were popular at the Plaza through the summer and early fall months. Yoga was also a big hit, with weekday classes presented by Pratique Yoga of 4027 Butler Street Lawrenceville. Classes reached almost 100 particpants this summer. Pittsburgh, PA 15201 The Plaza held new events like the Visionary Arts Fest and Jazz Day, which brought in new crowds. The nationally famous Pogopalooza! 412.728.2625 crowded the park as pogo athletes wowed fans. Look forward to another fabulous season in 2010.


John Altdorfer

Record-breaking season at Schenley Plaza


Pratique Yoga of Lawrenceville

Board Spotlight: Debra Meyer

Why did you want to be involved with the Parks Conservancy? The Parks Conservancy is an excellent advocate. As a North Sider, I want Riverview to be represented. I spend time in the park, and there are areas that I would like to see corrected. The demolished Davis Avenue Bridge is currently isolating an entire community from entering the park by foot. How do you see our urban park system and the Parks Conservancy playing a vital role in the future of Pittsburgh? The Parks Conservancy has played a pivotal role in the renovation of our parks. They provide the money and staff to complete the major projects that add value for park users like

me. The City of Pittsburgh has a great Department of Public Works Crew serving Riverview Park headed by Bob Lacki, and their partnership with the Parks Conservancy serves the park well. I am ultimately concerned about the City’s budget plans and how money is distributed for the parks. What is your favorite Parks Conservancy project? I will always have a fondness for the Chapel Shelter Restoration. It has become central to the community – events and graduations are held here. The community uses this building.

Laura Cook

For the past 30 years, Debra Meyer has lived in the North Side community of Brighton Heights and spent at least one day per week in Riverview Park. She joined the Parks Conservancy Board in December 2008 to represent individual park users like herself and advocate for the parks that have played a vital role in her life.

Debra Meyer is a member of the Parks Conservancy Board, a long-time resident of Brighton Heights, and an advocate for Riverview Park.

How important is Riverview Park to the surrounding community? Riverview Park is a community park that is well-used by all the surrounding neighborhoods. It is a central location with

a strong history. Many of the neighborhoods in this area don’t have much turnaround, so people develop a strong affinity for this friendly little place. Our kids grew up using this park and going to nature camp. It’s a special place for me and my family.

Page 6


Seasonal Pools show growth after tender care

Three years after completion, the Seasonal Pools are thriving with the discovery of a native Eastern Hemlock sapling. The site was converted from lawn to wetland by the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh in 2006.


Watching our capital projects grow and blossom is a rewarding process. In 2006, a portion of lawn near Highland Park’s bike track was transformed into an ecologically diverse wetland by the Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works Heavy Construction Division. A series of depressions were dug into the former lawn area to form pools now fondly referred to as the “Seasonal Pools” that collect storm water from the hills of Highland Park. The project has created habitat, replaced an area that was difficult for city crews to mow because of frequent flooding, and allowed storm water infiltration. The Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh have been working with volunteer groups to maintain, monitor and collect information about plants and organisms present at the Seasonal Pools.

Recently, the Conservancy was notified by Urban EcoStewards who regularly volunteer on the site that an Eastern Hemlock seedling was discovered. These well-trained stewards took prudent, swift action and built a deer-exclosure, protecting the tree from overbrowsing by our too-large deer herd. The Eastern Hemlock, also known as the Tsuga canadensis, is an evergreen tree that can grow to be larger than 100 feet and live 800 years. It has played a key role in Pennsylvania state history serving the state’s original settlers as a main source for log homes. The discovery of native species is an exciting glimpse of the continued improved health and ecological future of the Seasonal Pools. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of a well-trained volunteer program, and their care of our urban park system.

The Invasive Advisor

Why do we dig and plant trees during the fall months? Even though the air temperature is cold, the soil underground is still quite warm. We can plant trees, and still have new root growth for many months. The roots don’t shut down until the soil temperature reaches 40 degrees, which doesn’t happen until late December in Western Pennsylvania.

This photo by Online & Community Advocacy Manager/Staff Photographer, Melissa McMasters, won third prize at GASP’s Green Eye on Western Pennsylvania Contest for Photography.

What happens to a deciduous tree during the fall? During the fall, days shorten telling the trees to get ready for winter. The leaves turn colors. As the trees prepare for winter, the last thing they do is to shed their leaves. When winter storms come, the snow and ice will not break the branches. The trees also stop above ground growth, store food and thicken cell walls.

Invasive plants are choking out the biodiversity of our natural areas – even in our own backyards. These invasive, non-native plants are not part of our original habitat, but were introduced from other countries, often for gardening and landscaping. With few or no natural enemies, these plants can now be seen taking over entire landscapes. Join the battle! Learn to recognize and control invasive species by picking up Plant Invaders of the Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas at the Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center. You can also find an “Invasive Plants of Pittsburgh” guide on our website. Please avoid planting these aggressors in your own garden.

Mile-a-Minute Common name: Mile-a-Minute Scientific name: Persicaria perfoliata Origin: Eastern Asia and the Philippines Steve Manning

Director of Parks Management and Maintenance, Phil Gruszka, talks about what is happening to trees during the fall season. If you have questions for Phil, please email with “Phil” in the subject. We will do our best to address them.

Description: Mile-a-minute weed is an herbaceous, annual vine that invades portions of the northeastern United States and Oregon. The delicate stems are reddish, highly branched and covered with small, curved spines with circular, leafy structures (ocreae) surrounding the stem at the base of the petioles. The alternate leaves are triangular, light green, 1-3 in. wide and barbed on the undersurface with small, white, inconspicuous flowers rising from the ocreae. Fruits are metallic blue and segmented, with each segment containing a single black or reddish black seed, and they are present in mid-July through the first frost. Ecological Threat: Mile-a-minute weed invades open areas such as fields, forest edges, roadsides, ditches and stream banks. Its rapid growth allows it to cover existing vegetation and restrict light availability, potentially killing plants below. Dense mats of mile-a-minute weed can also restrict the establishment of new vegetation. Management Options: Seedlings and vines can be easily pulled by hand, but avoid pulling vines with mature fruits as this may spread seeds. New seedlings will emerge throughout the season, so repeated removal is necessary. Wear gloves to protect hands from the hooks.

Page 7

Fall 2009

The last few months have been full of activity at Mellon Park’s Walled Garden, and the garden is planned to re-open in spring 2010. This summer, as many plants as possible were transplanted to other park locations before construction crews removed the remaining foliage in order to restore the garden and construct an art installation. An installation by artist Janet Zweig will use fiber optic technology to create a pattern of the night sky over Pittsburgh in memory of Ann Katharine Seamans, to whom the restoration project is dedicated. 150 “stars” and “planets” were installed throughout the lawn before new grass was planted this fall. Making stars glow from underground has Construction and placement of the “stars” and “planets” at the Mellon Park Walled Garden. been an interesting challenge. Jake Meyer, great to work on,” he says. who is working on the garden for his LaQuatra Bonci Associates developed a sustainable and historically Eagle Scout project, helped make it appropriate planting plan. New additions include an octagonal planter possible by working under the supervision and seating to make the garden an even more beautiful place to gather. of the Parks Conservancy’s Phil Gruszka Still to come this fall are plantings of new trees, shrubs, perennials, and to lead a crew that assembled the stars out daffodil bulbs, and then work on the site will cease until spring. Then, of PVC piping and installed them in the after additional spring plantings, the Parks Conservancy and the City of lawn. Pittsburgh will hold a re-opening ceremony and welcome visitors to the “For my project, I really wanted to Walled Garden once again. work in a park,” Meyer says. He attended If you’d like to contribute to the restoration project, the Parks Eagle Scout Jake Meyer the Mellon Park groundbreaking event in helped assemble the stars Conservancy is still raising funds for additional work such as restoring for the Mellon Park Walled July and then started working on the stars the historic iron gates by Samuel Yellin, repointing the brick walls, Garden restoration. The star in August. “I feel like I’ve been in on the purchasing urns, and installing benches. Make your donation online at assembly is part of his Eagle project from the beginning, and it’s been Scout project.

Park trails provide a chance to escape into the woodlands and connect with nature. The Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh work hard to maintain these valuable park assets with partners like Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (PTAG) in Frick Park. The Letters to the Editor section on page 2 demonstrates how these groups cooperate to address user needs and concerns. While our regional parks have many trail options, sometimes park users choose to create their own trail seeking adventure or a quicker route. These new trails are called rogue trails and are often unsustainable and can have detrimental effects on our park system. The Parks Conservancy, PTAG, and the City of Pittsburgh promote park user safety and the

ecological health of the park by blocking and roping off unsustainable sections of rogue trails. Rogue trails often take the path of least resistance, straight downhill. This is an easy avenue for storm water flow, producing erosion that can damage woodlands and herbaceous species. Straight downhill rogue trails also block sightlines, creating danger and raising the probability of conflicts among park users. The Parks Conservancy is currently working with the City of Pittsburgh on a comprehensive trail and signage project, which will increase and improve trail signage throughout the regional parks. If park users are unsure of what trails to take, visit for a downloadable map and trail recommendations.

Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

John Altdorfer

Rogue trails undermine park safety

University of Pittsburgh students help clean up Schenley Park.



Vine clearing & tree planting Hosted by the Parks Conservancy and the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, meet @ intersection of Nine Mile Run trail and Fire Lane Extension trail in Frick Park, 9:30 a.m.

Urban EcoSteward Training Geology Tour, Frick Park, Biddle Parking Lot, 10 a.m.


Planting Techniques Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center, 9 a.m.


Winter Tree Identification, Frick Park Biddle Parking Lot, 10 a.m.


Urban EcoSteward Training Urban EcoSteward Training Citiparks Skate with Santa presented by Q92.9 at the Schenley Park Ice Rink, 1:30 p.m.

Coming this Holiday Season...

Holiday Lighting Rogue trails like this one in Schenley Park create danger for trail users, damage plant life, and erode hillsides into gullies.

at Schenley


Phil Gruszka

Mellon Park Walled Garden getting ready to glow

Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE


Pittsburgh, PA PERMIT NO 4906

Printed on Recycled Paper

Photo courtesy of the Gerjuoy family

Fitting memorial for a nature lover Stroll through Schenley Plaza on a fall evening, and you will find the garden benches full of people. Among these benches are striking gardens with plaques remembering and honoring Jacqueline was an avid loved ones, gardener who loved nature. some who loved the parks and some who just loved to be outside. Dr. Edward Gerjuoy made a decision to honor his late wife, Jacqueline, with one of these beautiful benches. Jacqueline was a lover of nature who spent time gardening and had a special affinity for Schenley Park. She spent time with their children sliding down the sloping hills of Schenley Park. Dr. Gerjuoy said, “I am not as devoted a nature lover as Jacqueline was; I spend my time in other ways. But this seemed like the perfect way to remember her. She really truly loved nature.” The Gerjuoys have been longtime supporters of the Parks Conservancy and other environmental organizations. At

91, Dr. Gerjuoy is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh working on Quantum Computing/Information, hoping to apply quantum mechanics to a future super computer. Jacqueline was an avid gardener for most of her life, but had an appreciation for all natural things. Two plaques stand in her memory in the Plaza gardens. The first reads, “She loved nature. We loved her.” The second plaque

says, “She loved gardens. We loved her.” A third plaque is mounted on the bench saying, “She lived with love for all and malice towards none.” The Parks Conservancy is honored to be a part of this memorial and to help Jacqueline’s memory live on. For more information about a memorial in the park, please contact Laurie Anderson at 412.682.7275 x213.

Benches surrounded by beautiful gardens in Schenley Plaza serve as a memorial for Jacqueline Gerjuoy given by her husband, Dr. Edward Gerjuoy.

Fall 2009 - The Voice  
Fall 2009 - The Voice  

Fall 2009 issue of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy's newsletter, The Voice.