This month started off with a real Blast. September 1 & 2 were the dates of Greensboro’s Seventh Annual Art Blast on the Mon. It is a two day arts and music festival and a really great opportunity to mix art, music, and history. There were artists of all stripes present, from professionals to school age children, and everyone in between. The highlight of my weekend was button making with a very enthusiastic three year old. Artist Kyle Hallam was on hand to demonstrate his process of turning recyclable materials into sculpture. Festival goers had the opportunity to create all sorts of art during the event. There was an interactive paper making station with a CalU art student, they could make art with Kyle using recycled cardboard, and creative crafts projects like button making, spin art, and jewelry making. There was a wonderful amount of local fresh produce available for sale at the weekly farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and great Labor Day favorites cooked up by the Greensboro/Monongahela Volunteer Fire Department. Musicians performed all weekend in our large outdoor tent and inside at the Everyone’s Art Show. This year there was a special exhibit mixing the area’s history and crafts industries to tell the story of several of the upper Mon towns. It featured historical documents, photos, books, and artifacts. There was a great lecture given by local pottery historian Fuzzy Randolph and a special collection of Point Marion glass from the Houze Glass Museum.
It was such a great event we even had participants weather a pretty rough thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon and by Sunday all the inclement weather was on its way out of town. This is the “biggest” event Greensboro has all year and I was a little intimidated starting the project in August and only having three weeks to prepare, but it was a great success and I look forward to helping next year’s be even better!
This month was super busy, so it definitely flew by! I attended the Connellsville Sustainability Fest, bear and wildlife training in Ohiopyle State Park, Mother Earth News Fair, the Ohio River Watershed Association Boat Cruise, and an organized ride at Ohiopyle with SCA Pittsburgh’s Green Cities Fellows. Tonight I am going to be heading to Greensburgh to catch a showing of short films called “Radical Reels” from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. It’s a collection of films highlighting outdoor sports.
Speaking of outdoor sports, one of our next big upcoming events in Greensboro will be happening on October 20th. It will be a paddling trip from Point Marion to Greensboro! This should be a great way to see the Mon and take in the foliage.
Most of our month was spent working on trails or out in the field helping prepare for a lot of really great events. It was great to experience a lot of these trails myself and get a better idea of the amenities these communities have. One of my favorite work days was working on the Greene River Trail that connects Rices Landing to Fredericktown. There were so many people on the trail all day! I got to cut down some seriously large invasive species called “Tree of Heaven.” It was the first time I cut down a tree during trail work, thanks to some help from my team members.
This month in California I was able to help Marah and her crew of volunteers restore the town’s old caboose. I spent the day helping to scrub rust and smooth out the surface of the caboose for a fresh coat of paint. The before and after are amazing. It looks so great now! It was a pretty big undertaking and I am really proud to say that I was a part of the process.
Our toughest work day was on the Warrior Trail in Greensboro. It’s a beautiful trail that needed re-blazing and a lot of love. The first several miles of the trail starting in Greensboro are the most in need of work and I think we made a good dent in the work that needs to be done. This is going to be something I want to work quite a bit on before I finish the program next year. I would like to maybe even have a group hike in the spring or early summer once it’s well marked and we install some water bars and do some erosion control.
Another project we have going that’s really exciting is a collaborative workshop with the Pittsburgh Film Makers/ Pittsburgh Center for the arts’ artist Becky Keck (from Greensboro) and a group of community members from Rices Landing. We are in the midst of creating a 52’ mural that will be displayed in town. Rices landing has a great waterfront park called Pumpkin Run where we have been working. I really enjoyed seeing the kids in attendance drawing and working together. As someone who always loved art and art making, especially as a kid, I think this is a really great opportunity.
October promises to be a super awesome month. I’m going to be doing some traveling on the West Coast in the beginning of the month and I’ll be attending the Conservation Landscape Summit in Harrisburg, PA at the end of the month!