Catherine Salvatore October update

After returning from a trip to visit family, I spent a few days in Greensboro working with their Elm Street Manager to start planning for some exciting events in the winter and for next spring. Greensboro will be holding their annual “Light up the Mon” the first weekend of December which will include some great holiday food and decorated trees sponsored by local businesses. There will also be special extended holiday hours and some great deals provided by the local businesses. Stay tuned for more details! It’s been a beautiful time for foliage in the Laurel Highlands and hard to believe that the winter is right around the corner! We have been in the field quite a bit doing a little bit of everything in our last big push before the weather turns. We have been helping to finish the public art in Point Marion, which is going to be a very large glass mosaic mural mounted on a wall right in the center of town. I absolutely love this mural. It captures so well what this area has to offer. It shows kayakers, wildlife, mountains, trees, rivers, bridges, and of course a beautiful sunset. I was able to cut the tiny pieces of glass that make up the sky when I first arrived in August and this month was grouting them to their permanent home. I can’t wait to see everything in place. I think this mural is going to be an exceptional asset to the community. This month was also our big “Fall Paddle on the Mon,” beginning in Point Marion and ending in Greensboro. The weather seemed a bit dicey but as soon as our guide from Wilderness Voyagers and Lindsey from PEC finished their welcomes and safety speeches, the sun came out from behind the clouds as if to say, “Let’s go!” It was a really great way to see the Mon and really see what it means to have communities connected by the river. The best part of the trip was seeing two bald eagles hunting for fish in the river! It was amazing! I know that normally this eagle is a solitary hunter but it looks like this must have been a desirable enough hunting spot that they did not mind sharing! They were amazing to watch, definitely not something I had seen before and most likely would not have seen if I had not been on the water. I really enjoyed myself on the trip and was able to power through some rough parts, I had never kayaked that far or that long before, and felt pretty accomplished when I was done. It was great opportunity to meet new folks and talk about the outdoors and what we as a program are working towards in our communities. This month we also attended what I thought was a super helpful training on grant writing at the SCA office in Pittsburgh. I am looking forward to utilizing my new skills and knowledge here and in the future. Finally, we were planning on attending the Conservation Landscape Summit in Harrisburg, but were prevented from doing so by hurricane Sandy. Luckily we did not see a great deal of severe weather in this area and are right on schedule for our trip to the Outdoor Nation Conference in Atlanta, GA. More on that coming soon!