2012 River Town Outreach Corps begins

Now that our corps site is up a running, its time for a recap of all of the great work RTOC has done so far this year:

The last few months have been incredibly busy. In mid February the River Town Outreach Corps for 2012 moved to Connellsville to start working. We began with weeks of training in Pittsburgh with Green Cities and the Trail Town Outreach Corps. Everything ranging from basic orientation to volunteer management, publicity and graphic design, to sustainable redevelopment, neighborhood redevelopment, orientation with our partners, to visiting all of the towns we will be working in. We also had the opportunity to volunteer and participate in Greensboro’s Chili Cook-off which raised money for the town while supplying a variety of different delicious chilis.

At the beginning of March we attended the first Regional Action Town Meeting and were able to hear people from all of our towns talk about things that they had done and wanted to accomplish. After this meeting our towns and regional projects were assigned and work began. We attended a few of the Point Marion Public Art workshops as a group. We started attending meetings in all of our towns. The Sustainability Fair was promoted and executed. The fair was open to anyone who wanted to learn more about sustainable energy and practices to save money in their home or business. We started and in some cases finished researching and creating flyers, guides, and other materials. We even had more training in Pittsburgh and at our office in Connellsville.

April has been the busiest month by far. Jenna and Jeff attended the WVU Landscape Architecture presentation of entrance way improvements for Point Marion. Samantha and Jenna attended a Fight Blight Workshop in Pittsburgh that focused on the legal process of fighting blighted property owners and actions a town’s leaders can take. Samantha, Marah, and Ryan volunteered to host a table at H2O Know, an Izaak Walton League event where they also had the opportunity to listen to some of the presenters and learn more about what is going on in local tributaries to the Monongahela River. Everyone attended the Brownsville street clean up and we had a good time that day seeing who could find the most interesting pieces of trash while we worked. Samantha, Marah, and Ryan attended the first paddling trip from Brownsville to California. Everyone spent a day in Fredericktown working to plant trees in their park and do other park improvements. Earth Day was particularly successful because we had events in almost all of our towns, so we split the day up and everyone went somewhere different. Samantha went to Rice’s Landing’s Hammer In event where she volunteered to help with the event and also set up a table to distribute information about our program. Ryan went to Fredericktown and worked with the local Boy Scout Troop to clean-up the town. Marah went to California to volunteer and set up a table during their Fishing Festival. Jenna went to Greensboro for their street clean-up and also spent some time cleaning up the river banks that are accessible to the public. After Earth Day events Jenna left with Jeff for Asheville, NC where they attended the River Management Symposium and were scheduled to give a presentation on the work the River Town Program has been doing over the last year and plan to do over the next year. They also attended other presentations given by people from RiverLink, a local non-profit, the American Canoe Association, American Rivers, the National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other local, state, and federal agencies. During that same week Marah helped California plan for their Charette Day, which her and Ryan participated in. They also participated in the Brownsville Town Assessment. Brownsville is a new town added to our program this year, so Ryan and Marah were able to go out with a group of local residents, members of the River Town Program, and Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation (BARC). They walked around taking notes on how the town might be viewed by a visitor and looked for things that someone who is visiting might need.

Now as we look on to May we continue to work on planning for the Point Marion Memorial Day Parade, Paddling trips in all of our towns, more clean-up events throughout the summer, the concert series in Rice’s Landing, the Children’s Water Fair, as well as many other projects.