The Green Building Alliance (http://www.gbapgh.org/) is a non-profit organization that advances economic prosperity and human well being in Western Pennsylvania by driving market demand for green buildings and green building products.
GBA is partnering with the SCA this year to take on a Sustainable Climate Fellow.
This Green Cities Corps Fellow with be responsible for:
Supporting Green Building Alliance's work with the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative (PCI). PCI seeks to raise awareness and engage Pittsburgh's residents, businesses, government, and higher education institutions in taking actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on our local economy and human well being.
PCI has a Steering Committee of local partners. The GBA Climate Intern will have the following duties:
- Help implement the Pittsburgh's Climate Action Plan, Version 1.0.
- Update the PCI Action Plan and the PCI website www.pittsburghclimate.org
- Assist in organizing community outreach activities.
- Coordinate the PCI Steering Committee, PCI Working Group meetings, and conference calls. Provide meeting support and follow-up.
- Help develop metrics associated with the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan and Inventory. This includes familiarity with ICLEI's climate software, on which training will be provided
GTECH Strategies (http://gtechstrategies.org/) is a Pittsburgh based non-profit dedicated to building community, reducing blight and growing the green economy. Their mission is to reclaim vacancy and empower community through innovative green strategies. They believe that vacancy is a source of blight and the green economy presents opportunities for equitable, sustainable and innovative renewal.
GTECH's core values are:
• To enable, stimulate, and cultivate energy
• To engage, empower and realize community
• To promote and secure social economic and environmental health
• To conduct, develop, and refine responsible business practices
• To innovate, contribute, and measure value
• To practice, advance, and share resourcefulness
GTECH is partnering with the SCA to take on a Sustainable Community Fellow.
This Green Cities Corp Fellow will be responsible for:
- Project coordination of the Green Jobs Advisory Board managing the communication and
administrative duties for the 50+ member group.
- Program assistance for vacant land reclamation programs including volunteer coordination, database
management and communications
- Ongoing organizational development assistance including taking board minutes, stewardship of the
strategic planning process and staffing of multi-organizational collaboratives
- Job tasks also include: Meeting facilitation, note taking and follow up coordination, newsletter
writing, research volunteer coordination, and event planning.
Green Cities Sustainability Corps
SCA’s Green Cities Corps program was developed to assist cities in the creation and implementation of climate action plans. This initiative is in support of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement developed to advance the execution of policies and actions to address climate change. Members of the Green Cities Corps engage in projects within the municipal and nonprofit sectors of Pittsburgh aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Pittsburgh’s Green Cities Corps members work with the Pittsburgh Climate Initiatives’ organizational partners to execute the recommendations in the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, identifying and reporting the progress Pittsburgh has made toward its emissions reduction goal, and raising public awareness about Pittsburgh’s efforts to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
SCA Green Cities’ goals are to:
• Place trained and experienced college graduates with local agencies looking to mitigate climate change through local actions,
• Develop and/or implement policies and actions which address sustainability, and
• Provide meaningful opportunities to its’ corps members while building the capacity of our partners.
Pittsburgh Climate Initiative
The Pittsburgh Climate Initiative works collaboratively in the Pittsburgh region to reduce greenhouse gases through measurable actions. PCI organizational partners participate in each sector of the climate action plan including: PCI Management, Municipal, Community, Business, and Higher Education. (www.pittsburghclimate.org)
This month, I was pretty evenly split between volunteer days and public education and outreach. My major project for April was planning and executing the Panther Hollow Extravaganza, an event in Schenley Park with over 200 volunteers. Additionally I led 10 other volunteer days in Frick, Schenley, Highland and Riverview parks. A significant amount of my time was also spent developing curriculum and activities for the Highschool Urban EcoSteward program. Both of these required a large degree of personal organization, which was challenging, yet beneficial to me.
April was a busy month at GTECH as the office moved to a new location on Hamilton Avenue between the Homewood and Larimer Neighborhoods. The new space is beautiful and required lots of packing, heavy lifting and organizing but it well worth the hard work. In moving forward with SPARC related projects, I completed the AutoCAD design for the Larimer Village Green which was approved by the Larimer Green Team on April 28th. The implementation of the design will begin in May and continue throughout the year. I continued work on the Troy Hill Vacant Land Assessment report and will submit to the Troy Hill Community Group in May. I assisted on a variety of land reclamation projects from tilling at Pennley Gardens, trash pickup in Perry Hilltop, site design for Manchester and finalizing budgets for the Regency Lot in Wilkinsburg.
This April, Loralyn had three main projects that stood out from the rest: TreeVitalize, the Borland Sustainable Urban Garden project, and the Green Roof for Bus Shelter project. With TreeVitalize, Loralyn conducted outreach to property owners in a particular section of East Liberty to gain signatures for new street trees. After the outreach process, she wrote the TreeVitalize grant application and submitted it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy along with the signed forms. East Liberty Development, Inc. will hear this fall if the grant is awarded. Also with TreeVitalize, Loralyn planned and hosted a volunteer-based street/park tree planting event in another section of East Liberty where TreeVitalize trees had been awarded from a grant submitted by her last year. Loralyn continued to move the Green Roof for Bus Shelter project forward alongside her partners and colleague. With a bus shelter donated from the Port Authority, the Team is now moving in fast forward to work out logistics to start retrofitting the shelter for the future green roof! Local developers/partners, the Mosites Company, are currently designing green roofs for their new bus shelters outside Target, due to the ELDI Team engaging them in this project. So before ELDI's pilot demo has even been installed, other partners will be installing green roof bus shelters in East Liberty! Lastly, Loralyn heavily worked on the Borland Sustainable Urban Garden project design alongside Pashek Associates, a local landscape architecture firm. This month, Loralyn and Sara Thompson, RLA, worked on the site analysis and several conceptual schematic designs to present to the Borland Co-housing group.
The Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign made some big strides this month toward having a greater presence in the community. We’re now equipped with professional-looking handouts with the campaign actions for the year that we can give to anyone interested. I entered our first two monthly videos in a local film contest, where one made it to the final round (but didn’t win, sadly). I was invited to speak on a local podcast/radio show called Positively Pittsburgh Live. The theme of the night’s show was “The Greening of Pittsburgh” in honor of Earth Week; the Black and Gold City Goes Green was featured alongside some big environmental hitters like the Green Building Alliance, Ecko Green Technologies, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. This month we also made tabling appearances at the Pitt Student Symposium, 10,000 Villages, and PennFuture’s Global Warming Conference.
The Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign’s Youth Community Partners are finishing their semesters, so I’m helping to compile videos for each of the three groups involved in the program. One of the groups at the Kingsley Association studies compost piles and rain barrels; since composting is one of our yearly actions, the footage from this school will also be used for next month’s video.
We’re currently holding our breath for a promising grant that will enable us to plan a big blitz event this year. Next month’s blitz in Mount Washington is coming up fast, and with very few volunteers signed up so far, we’ve been doing some serious recruiting. Everything else for the event is falling into place nicely; we’ll see how it goes on May 7th!
This month involved a variety of tasks pertaining to wood smoke pollution and education/outreach opportunities. I'm assisting the Education/Outreach coordinator with Wood Smoke Education requirements that must be completed by a June grant deadline, including but not limited to creating educational materials, designing surveys, coordinating webinars, and organizing the distribution of information. April also led me to a number of demonstrations discussing public concern related to Marcellus Shale gas drilling - GASP has been networking with different environmental groups to make sure that air quality effects are considered along with drilling effects on water resources. In general, during staff meetings and through email reading, I am slowly amassing a greater understanding of air quality issues and the legal aspects of air quality cases. I am also growing my understanding of the political structure that dictates air quality regulation decisions and enforcement, by attending meetings and through further reading and discussion with the GASP staff.
This month, my main priority was getting the macro-sort process up and running. I started my first regular volunteer shift (1-3 on Thursdays) which has helped me make the macro-sort run as smoothly as possible and to ensure the volunteers are having an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Our back log of blue bag donations has been kept in check by my Thursday volunteer group which sorted 143 blue bags this month. Next month I will be taking on 5 more regular volunteer shifts to start reducing the significant donation back log. A new project from this month is the creation of a Global Links high school curriculum, which is still in the research phase. Some highlights of the month included volunteering at the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy’s Earth Day Extravaganza, attending our end of the school year Medical Supply Assistant party and tabling at Ten Thousand Villages Green Fair.
This month I spent most of my time finalizing and launching the inaugural Pittsburgh Climate Initiative Newsletter, organizing and hosting a film screening, and working on Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan v 2.0. The newsletter currently has a distribution list of about 80 individuals and is intended primarily for stakeholders and media outlets. The PCI Newsletter will be distrbiuted monthly with the goal of giving PCI more consistent exposure. On Earth Day, I hosted a public film screening for 'Carbon Nation', a recently released movie on climate change solutions. The event culminated about 2.5 weeks of planning and advertising through email, flyers, announcements, Facebook, and other websites and attracted about 70 community and student attendees. I have also been working with wetlands and mapping experts to develop the 2 new community recommendations for Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan v 2.0. I am currently seeking local organizations to be potential partners on the projects.
In April 2011, my time as an SCA Sustainability Fellow with the Allegheny County Sustainability Program has been lively and worthwhile. I perform a wide variety of tasks in support of efforts to implement measures that will result in a cleaner, more cost-efficient Allegheny County. In addition to such daily administrative tasks as scheduling meetings and delivering documents to County partners, I have also been engaged in numerous projects.
Under Sustainability Manager Jeaneen Zappa, I have continued to work with the County’s internal “green teams” to identify and support energy efficiency measures that are happening within each respective County department. As part of Allegheny County’s recycling efforts, I have drafted and designed a draft “intranet” resource page that is aimed at best assisting County employees with what can be recycled and where it can be recycled. I have proofread and edited numerous documents related to recycling efforts and green purchasing, and am still currently engaged with efforts to implement a more comprehensive and wide-spread recycling policy. I also performed project research, aided in the editing and drafting of internal recycling policies, and assisted the Coordinated Weatherization Campaign by writing a "white paper" report on the annual progress of the campaign. In addition to this work in the "primary" tasks, I also organized and hosted several meetings consisting of both internal and external stakeholders, business interests or employees. These activities range from coordinating projects with various partner organizations to writing and drafting newsletter articles, emails, or policies in support of advancing the County's sustainability goals. Lastly, I have been engaged with both Allegheny County and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in a project to inventory and address CCAC's greenhouse gases and its carbon footprint. These activities, along with numerous other small projects and several dozen meetings, are among the many service items that I have performed in the month of April.
At the begining of the month I attended the Brownfields Conference in Philadelphia where I learned about many aspects of brownfieldsbrownfields including whole community engagement, economic barriers and incentives of redevelopment, art's role in telling the brownfield story, and specific laws revolving around redevelopment. After that, my time spent with in the urban forester's office revolved around tree plantings and volunteer work. We just passed the 10,000 tree mark for TreeVitalize during our final day of planting this season, which was a fun and important milesotne to cross. We also gave away 1,000 white flowering dogwood trees with the Shade Tree Commission, and I made it onto the news! I have a list of potential trees to plant to mitigate pollutants, which is currenlty being cross-checked by Matt at Tree Pittsburgh. For Action Housing, I spent time on the newsletter, meeting with the architects of the Pittsburgh Green House, and helping with various research projects. I've increased the resource list for the PGH and I helped Nancy with an educational session about energy efficiency in homes at the McKeesport YMCA. Things are going very well at both of my placements and I have no setbacks or frustrations to report.
The month started out very excitingly with my first conference, Brownfields 2011, in Philadelphia. It was a fabulous networking opportunity and I felt like I got a great taste of what is going on in urban farming in many other cities across the country.
Work for Penn State revolved mostly around getting our name out there. That included three blogs, including an in depth look at PA Act 106 and how Penn State can help farmers/vendors through the process, tabling at an EnviroFair, and starting to plan for the Value Added Conference in July.
Work with PGE focused on designing the 2011 bumper sticker but was augmented by a day of building raw compost beds, and several highly successful events including Veggie 101 and Vacant Lot Remediation.
Work with the Food Policy Council really ramped up in preparation for inviting new steering committee members. Heather and I have been meeting with Leah, from PASA, and Berry, from the Co-op, to strategize for membership recruitment and to plan the next two PFPC meetings. Also, my research continued in regards to the symposium in the fall of regional food policy councils and I made contacts with a grad student at Tufts and joined the Food Policy Council listserv.
The SCA trainings for the month were very informative (body mechanics/bike maintenance/marketing/grant writing) and I was also able to participate in various volunteer activities outside of SCA. This include tree plantings and reusable water bottle distribution. In addition I attended several lectures/symposiums on sustainability and food systems to further my repertoire on those subjects.
In April 2011 my time has been focused primarily on preparing for the upcoming Green Workplace Challenge. I have recruited an oversight committee for the competition, with representation from non-profits, various-sized businesses, academia, and property managers. I prepared for and facilitated the first meeting of this committee, during which I explained the timeline and goals of the competition to commitee members, as well as our expectations for committee members throughout the competition. I met with two potential partners for the GWC - a representative from Duquesne Light, and the group of individuals behind CMU's StepGreen project. I also prepared and gave a presentation on the GWC and the BCC to roughly 50 Green Design Institute Masters' students at Carnegie Mellon University.
In March, I began my fellowship with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC) and really hit the ground running. My work varies greatly from one day to next, which has kept things interesting and engaging. The PPC hosts volunteer events of varying size, scope and aim in the 4 largest regional parks (Frick, Highland, Schenley and Riverview) and several smaller parks around the city. E-mails and phone calls from individuals and groups looking to volunteer are directed to me so that I can set up events based on their needs. This month, I coordinated 7 of these events where I planned and communicated with volunteers and crew leaders, secured tools, supplies, food and drink, managed sign-in and tracking, directed volunteers and actively participated in ecological restoration projects. For the Panther Hollow Extravaganza, the PPC’s largest volunteer event (which will hopefully exceed 300 volunteers), many of those tasks are being handled and organized by me.
I have also taken part in planning and facilitating the Urban EcoSteward (UES) program, by attending meetings, fielding inquiries and applications, helping to lead training sessions and updating paperwork. I am the point person for the High School UES program at Westinghouse which meets twice weekly, where I’m responsible for organizing and running meetings between the partners, adapting and presenting curriculum, creating schedules, analyzing and planning stewardship projects, leading sessions, tracking progress and ensuring overall success of the program. We are partnering with the Lighthouse afterschool program, which focuses on audiovisual art and service learning. This particular HUES group is an experimental combination of ecological stewardship, environmental education and artistic expression. In addition to the UES and HUES groups, I assist Marijke with aspects of the Elementary Habitat Explorer programs, and generally make myself useful where I can. I hope to continue this in the coming months as I better understand the operations of the Parks Conservancy and my place in the organization.
In March 2011, my time was spent primarily on three main projects; SPARC, Troy Hill’s Vacant Land Assessment Report and the Regency Lot design. SPARC is a corridor greening initiative in the East Liberty and Larimer neighborhoods along East Liberty Drive and Larimer Avenue. I successfully conducted a charrette for the Larimer Green Team for their “Village Green” on March 24th and am currently refining the design to be presented to the community in April. GTECH evaluated the Troy Hill community’s vacant land and secured a grant to complete a project for this year. I developed a survey to gauge the community’s sentiments on vacant land and greening issues in their community. I also created a series of maps with proposed short-term and long-term uses for 4 potential site locations for residents to vote on. The final report is due mid April and will reflect the community’s opinions. For the Regency Lot, I refined the design, created a work plan, budget and plant list for the project. This installation will require coordinating 2 volunteer days over the next two months.
During the month of March, I had a ton going on – March at ELDI is hectic for an SCA Fellow, but rewarding! My two largest projects/events were the Negley Run Blvd. Clean-up and the Borland Garden Co-housing project’s Community Workshop.
The Negley Run Blvd. Clean-up was a 2nd annual event; the first of which I coordinated last year as well. There is an enormous amount of efforts that go into an event like this, and a great deal of partners that offer their resources. Although we did not get as many volunteers as last year, we believe that we cleaned-up an even larger area! It was another success and it was great to see community members and students work alongside each other for a second year in a row.
With a degree in landscape architecture, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work on the Borland Garden Co-housing project: a community revitalization design project alongside stakeholders and Pashek Associates (a local landscape architecture firm). And although it took a lot of time and a lot of effort to prepare for this Community Workshop, it was well worth it.
This Workshop was created to engage the community members and foster ideas around the revitalization of vacant lot space in a particular area of East Liberty: Outside of a new co-operative. But this is no ordinary co-operative; this co-operative is a group of older individuals who want to age in place and share resources with one another. Instead of creating a new suburban development, they have chosen to take on a much more challenging, yet more sustainable, project: Converting a row of dilapidated town homes and revitalizing the vacant lot space around the homes into a public/private community garden. “Garden” is used liberally here, since this space will include many more elements than just a garden, including stormwater mitigation, permaculture practices, educational spaces, community gathering spaces, environmental art, micro habitats, and so on.
Many funders are involved in this project: The Community Design Center of Pittsburgh, the Sprout Fund, and the Heinz Youth Philanthropy Program. With the CDCP grant, we have been able to hire the expertise needed (Pashek Associates) to facilitate the design process/community meetings/workshops. Utilizing my education background and past experiences/talent, I have been able to play a huge part in the planning/design process alongside Pashek Associates. This Community Workshop allowed us to engage community members in the project and hear their ideas, concerns, thoughts, etc. The next steps are to host design charrettes with the co-housers and Pashek. This project will be pivotal in moving my career forward in community revitalization.
A long-term goal for the Black and Gold City Goes Green campaign this year is to strengthen community ties by making information and communications more accessible and engaging. In March 2011, I created the first of what will be a series of monthly videos that will reinforce our written fact sheets and will focus on one or two energy-saving actions from the campaign. I focused on building up our social media audience by interacting with other Pittsburgh non-profits; posting relevant and interesting information frequently; directing members back to our website; and setting up accounts on various outlets (e.g. Twitter, local forums) to broaden our reach to new audiences. I also had a hand in updating the website and establishing a general information handout for the year to come. Now that we have all these great ways to communicate with the community, we hope to get others to do/talk about campaign actions.
March also involved a good deal of planning for the next couple of months and working on community projects. We met with the Mount Washington CDC to plan a Neighborhood Blitz for May. I also collaborated with a business in Lawrenceville on a microgrant to potentially fund a Business Blitz. Future videos with the Youth Community Partners have been planned out and will be filmed next month. I was lucky enough to work at two widely successful events: a planting event at Schenley Park with Taiji and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and a trail clean up day with Loralyn and ELDI.
One of GASP's roles is to educate the public about ways to reduce air quality, to give updates about regulations and enforcement, and to offer solutions for mitigating air pollution (whether it be through political action, personal behavioral change, or a larger-scale community effort). Identifying, organizing, preparing for, presenting, and providing follow-up for educational presentations takes up a large amount of my time at the office. Of particular importance is finding a wider variety of people with whom we can network, i.e. low-income individuals, youth, the elderly, tourists, etc. It is also my responsibility to keep informed about the issues at hand and identify opportunities for others to get involved with serious issues concerning sources of air pollution and how they can help to mitigate these sources. A number of informational campaigns of interest are the wood smoke education campaign, the diesel/idling campaign, the Athletes United for Healthy Air campaign, and concern surrounding the Marcellus Shale issue in SW PA.
In March 2011 my work has been geared toward familiarizing myself with Global Links’ medical supply sorting processes and recycling streams, community outreach for recycling events and implementing a new macro-sorting system. My primary goal for the year is to assist in reducing the amount donation backlog by being an integral part of their new macro-sorting system. After a few experimental sorting sessions, we formulated a structured macro-sort procedure for volunteers and by the end of the month we were able implement the new system with volunteers, which resulted in the elimination of our blue bag back log. In the coming months I hope to lead more volunteers in our sorting process and begin cutting into the back log in boxes. I also began collecting data on the waste and recycling steams to help Global Links accurately assess their environmental impact and carbon footprint and promoted our upcoming recycling collection events to community and faith based organizations. The rest of my time was spent working with volunteer coordinators, Health Corps members and medical supply assistants to guide me though the entire life of a donated item; where it comes from, where it gets sorted, and how it gets packed up and ready for shipment.
|City of Pittsburgh, Urban Forester (Partner)|
|ACTION-Housing, Inc. (Partner)|
|Map of Green Cities 2011 Partners|
|Group Against Smog & Pollution (Partner)|
|Urban Redevelopment Authority (Partner)|
|Global Links (Partner)|
|Sustainable Pittsburgh (Partner)|
|East Liberty Development Inc. (Partner)|
|Penn State Cooperative Extension (Partner)|
|Pittsburgh Garden Experiment (Partner)|
|Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy|
|Allegheny County Office of Sustainability (Partner)|
|Green Building Alliance (Partner)|
|Taiji Nelson's Bio|
|Megan Zeigler's Bio|
|Christov Churchward's Bio|
|David Chunn's Bio|
|Lauryn Stalter's Bio|
|Loralyn Fabian's Bio|
|Megan Morrissey's Bio|
|Miriam Parson's Bio|
|Lara Nagle's Bio|
|John Jameson's Bio|
|Matthew Henderson's Bio|
|Kyle Kline's Bio|
|Ann DeSanctis' Bio|
|Amanda Virbitsky's Bio|
|Matthew Henderson's October Update|
|John Jameson's October Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' October Update|
|David Chunn's October Update|
|Taiji Nelson's October Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's October Update|
|Lara Nagle's October Update|
|Megan Zeigler's October Update|
|Megan Morrissey's October Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's October Update|
|Kyle Kline's October Update|
|Christov Churchward's October Update|
|Amanda Virbitsky's September Update|
|Ann DeSanctis' September Update|
|Taiji Nelson's Sept Update|
|Megan Zeigler's September Update|
|Matthew Henderson's September Update|
|Lauryn Stalter's September Update|
|John Jameson's September Update|
|Christov Churchward's September Update|