I had a nice, shortened July thanks to an awesome San Francisco and Mt. Shasta, CA vacation. It has been reaffirmed – I love mountains! Despite 10 days out of the office, a lot of great things happened with the City’s Urban Forester and ACTION-Housing.
With the City, I was able to coordinate a meeting with Dr. Jane Clougherty, a University of Pittsburgh researcher who focuses on the relationship between air pollution and environmental and human health. She is the leading air pollution researcher in Pittsburgh and she was excited at the opportunity to expand her current research to accommodate trees. I will be working with her and Danielle Crumrine from Tree Pittsburgh to acquire more information that can be used in conjunction with our LIDAR tree canopy assessment. Teaming up with Dr. Clougherty is an awesome opportunity for us, and we look to take full advantage of it. Associated with this, I have begun a PowerPoint presentation highlighting all of the research I have done thus far on trees and air pollution.
The Homewood busway tree project is also chugging along smoothly. I received the soil sample results, which indicate a heavy amount of salt, but nothing so bad that trees won’t grow (according to Matt Erb). I met with Shaina Madden to discuss next steps, which includes contracting out the removal of knotweed this summer and fall in anticipation of planting trees next spring. I spent another day using GASP’s air monitoring equipment to test air quality. This time, instead of sitting very close to the busway, I monitored from the Homewood pool/baseball fields at a spot 85 yards from the road. Upon analyzing the data, however, because I was sitting relatively far away from the busway, I wasn’t able to correlate any spikes in particulate matter or any other air pollutant with bus travel.
My month with ACTION-Housing was highlighted by our first meeting with contractors at the Pittsburgh Green House. Now that we have the property, demolition (which I get to participate in!) is getting under way. We were able to do some light work at the end of the month, with the majority of the demo work coming next month.
We have also finalized the logo design, which is awesome. We’re now working with Paul Schifino, our graphic designer, to design the layout of our infographic signs, which will be sprinkled throughout the house. These signs will orient visitors and give them textual and graphic information about various aspects of weatherization. I spent a few days this month editing the infographic text and compiling a list of information we need to gather in order to complete the graphics.
The August newsletter – farmers markets – turned out really well. I needed to do some major editing work in order to combine two article submissions and six pages of text into the one-page feature article. Both authors were happy with the result, which will hopefully attract some fresh faces to all of the wonderful farmers markets around Pittsburgh. We increased distribution of the August newsletter by 36 (2 online, 34 print) over July’s numbers. Along with the rest of the Green Team, I am currently devising a system to measure the readership of our newsletter. We currently send it out to 912 people and it will help us write a more effective newsletter if we know who reads it and what they want to hear more about. We will be sending our readership assessment test with the September issue.