Project Leader: Emma Strong, firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Dates: February 12, 2012 through December 21, 2012
- May marked the real start of the trail count project with a trail wide synchronized count on May 19th. More Synchronized counts are planned for,
Tuesday July 10 from 10:00am - 12:00 pm
Sunday August 12 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday September 22 from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Synchronized Trail Counts occur when a group of volunteers count trail users at many different locations along the Great Allegheny Passage on the same day for the same two hour period. This gives us a snapshot of trail use.
- Manual counts were held in Ohiopyle, Deal and Rockwood. The data from these counts is being compiled and will be analyzed at the end of the year. A new trail counter has also been installed in Garrett. If you would be interested in helping with one of the trail counts this summer please contact the Trail Town Program.
- Manual counts are conducted by the Trail Town Outreach Corps.
~ Kaleb Shissler
- A brochure designed to market the GAP SBN to trail users is in its final stages of development.
- Weekly blogs are posted to www.gapsbn.com with sustainable business tips and suggestions.
~ Cara Madden
- I have a PowerPoint presentation almost ready to introduce to the pertinent local trail groups as soon as it is reviewed more. It should last ten to fifteen minutes, and contains most relevant information regarding the guidelines and morals of the Sustainable Trail Manual.
- The main objective is to let the various groups, such as the Yough River Trail Council, learn about sustainable trail maintenance and work along side them to implement sustainable practices. It overviews the importance of native versus invasive plant species, alternatives to pesticide use, “Leave No Trace” practices, and links to research more on the topics.
~ Joe Crumbley
- The Armory plot is booming, jam-packed full of vegetables, berries, and flowers. The barrage of humid sunny heat followed by dense rainstorms allows many plants to flourish.
- In Meyersdale the Levi Deal Mansion Bed and Breakfast is excited to get more rain barrels, as well as help set up a community garden there.
- Similarly, the West Newton community is taking steps with their garden club and city council to put one in place, most likely a flowerbed for lower maintenance. One way to keep the weeding down more is to have a no-till bed. You put lime down, the eight layers of wet newspaper down, then mulch on top about a foot thick.
~ Joe Crumbley
- On Saturday, May 19 I participated in a cleanup of downtown West Newton sponsored by DWNI (Downtown West Newton, Inc.). This event beautified the town’s sidewalks and streets through trash removal, weed removal, and the planting of annuals.
- The Progress fund has purchased the Old Riverside Lodge, which has a scenic location on the edge of the Youghiogheny River. The building will be renovated for a new business.
~ Cara Madden
-Bike for Books in Connellsville had a good turnout. The B.f.B had between twenty and thirty participants, and I was there to hand out tickets at the end of the five mile marker. The library raised some money, had kids events like face painting, decent food, and a live band.
- The first Connellsville manual trail count of the season was completed with a descent amount of people passing through the area during the random time periods that we obtained the info. There was a significant percentage of out of state bikers, and many were very talkative.
- Most recently, there was a Geranium Festival, followed by a fundraiser for the Connellsville Community Gardens. Both were very popular within the town, and brought in some tourism as well. It was scorching hot that day which made the Geranium Festival’s crowds diminish a little early, but each event held it’s own and could easily be deemed the events to top so far this year regarding income yielded and public inception into the town of Connellsville.
~ Joe Crumbley
- This May I coordinated a fundraising event in Connellsville that raised money for the Trail Towns’ Community Gardens Program. The event was a success, as there was a great turnout, lots of fun, and generated interest in the regional Trail Town projects.
~ Cara Madden
- In Ohiopyle the Adopt a Bioswale program’s business proposal packets with letter, map, and mock sign were handed out to the businesses open at the time, with good reception. One signature was obtained, one business wasn’t the least bit interested, but the rest were very into the idea. I will return soon to collect the signed paperwork, as well as mail out the rest of the packets to the businesses not reached. So far we theoretically have over half of the bioswales called for.
- I met with Stefano’s Printing out of Dunbar who gave me pricing that was approved by Stacie Hall, the State Park Ranger who is over-seeing how the grant money is used for the project. I also ordered two sample signs, one .40 alluminum, and the other a more expensive but more durable material.
- The first trail count of the season was successfully completed in Ohiopyle, helping us to better understand traffic patterns on the Great Allegheny Passage
~ Joe Crumbley and Cara Madden
Train Day, an annual community and family focused event in Rockwood, had a huge line of kids at all times to run through the train shaped bounce house. Many attendees visited the Amtrak booth where we collected people’s information in exchange for a free raffle entry. Many people in town as well as businesses are working to get an Amtrak station in Rockwood.
~ Joe Crumbley
Two new businesses have opened in Meyersdale. Clips and Ahah
A Sweet Boutique.
I arrived at the Connellsville office this past February and after training picked up some of the projects that were started in past years. Some of the things that have happened or are happening right now include:
• Counters have been put into place along the trail close to the same locations as last year, but now in protective posts.
• Manual and synchronized trail counts are planned to begin in May.
-Trail Town Ice Cream-
• The ice cream has been ordered and should be available in restaurants and bed and breakfasts along the trail by the middle of May.
• The oral history project that was started in 2010 has been re-envisioned, and a new work plan and set of project materials are being assembled.
• The focus this year will be to build grass roots interest and support for the project.
-Trail Wide Survey-
• Trail wide survey of trail town businesses is entering its final stages for the year.
I have been assigned to work with the communities of Confluence and Meyersdale Pennsylvania, and to coordinate regional initiatives with the Maryland towns of Frostburg and Cumberland.
• Meyersdale recently held its annual Maple Fest a celebration of local history and culture, and of course the maple syrup so important to both.
• Presentations on the trail town program and the outreach corps have been given twice to groups meeting at Meyersdale’s new Morguen’tool restaurant.
• New signage will soon be installed at the trailhead in Confluence
• The Mount Davis challenge bike race is planned to start in Confluence in August.
• Developing brochure to market GAP SBN to trail users
• Planning networking event to further generate discussion among GAP SBN members about sustainable success in their businesses
• Updated member profiles on gapsbn.com, complete with updated leaf ranking illustration
• Posting weekly blogs to gapsbn.com
• Coordinating a fundraising event in Connellsville that will benefit the community gardens in the trail towns. Proceeds will go to purchase seeds, plants, and tools for existing and future community gardens.
• Ohiopyle is implementing an Adopt-A-Bioswale program where businesses will maintain the bioswales in exchange for an advertising sign. I attended the April Ohiopyle Borough Council Meeting where the council approved the Adopt-A-Bioswale business package that I submitted. The package includes a letter introducing the Adopt-A-Bioswale program, a contract to be signed between a business and the Ohiopyle Borough, and a mock-up of the sign. With the council’s approval, the project is getting underway.
• I attended the Downtown West Newton, Inc. (DWNI) Design Committee meeting in March. One of my projects this year will be to design a walking tour of the historic sites in downtown West Newton.
• I attended the April Westmoreland Yough Trail Counil (WYTC) meeting. There will be a 5K run starting at the GAP trailhead in West Newton on Saturday May 12.
• On April 11, the TTOC interns gave a presentation about the TTOC program and our individual projects to Atlantic Canada, a Canadian tourism group. They visited the area to learn about the Trail Town Program’s initiatives, and to look into implementing similar projects in their communities.
Trail Town Summit
• On May 2, the TTOC interns participated in the 2012 Trail Town Summit. Here, individuals representing the different trail towns gathered to network and provide updates about happenings in the different towns. We gave a presentation about the projects we have been working on, and our goals for the year.
The project that calls for the most attention is the community gardens, but the Youth Action Crew and Sustainable Trail Manual are progressing more and more.
The recent Earth Day events went well, although the turnout was less than expected. The events consisted of:
* mulching and planting native wildflower seeds and by the GAP trail near St. Rita’s Parish and the local pre-school in Connellsville
* bioswale clean-up in Ohiopyle
*Seed-pod making at the Penn State Fayette Campus.
There were Connellsville Area High School Senior Volunteer Days the week following Earth Day, with a far better turnout. The events included:
*invasive species removal
*planting native species
Connellsville Community Gardens
*So far the gardens are mulched, but the community center plot still needs lime put down in the areas where berries aren’t growing, since berries like acidity and lime neutralizes that.
*The Boy Scout planting went well, spending most of the time educating them on soil nutrients, and organic pest control methods such as eggshells and beer trays to deter slugs. The eggshells give calcium to the soil and cut up the slugs underside, while the yeast in beer attracts the slugs, and traps them. The Boy Scouts gave a bunch of starts leftover from the event to the community gardens, as well as hundreds of seeds.
*Grasso’s Greenhouse is expected to give some free starts after May fifth. Marigolds are bordering a lot of the garden, and act as a natural pesticide to many bugs and critters. Slugs have become a nuisance in this garden as well, and we’ve implemented spraying soap on the leaves of lettuce and peppers, which they seem to go after the most.
*Jan of the Levi-Deal Mansion in Meyersdale also wants to implement more gardens in her town, and will help be the liaison for her town in this process.
The first annual Bikes for Books and Community health fair benefitting the FRIENDS of the Carnegie Free Library will be hosted on Saturday May 19th, at Youghiogheny River Trail/Park, otherwise known as the GAP Trail. There will be free food for those with a library card, and the 10 mile bike ride along the GAP is $15.00 pre-register, $20.00 day of. To be a trail sign sponsor is 50.00, and to be a health fair vendor is free, but the person must provide a raffle item at booth. Please send all payments to: Exquisite Event Planners, Co. PO Box 980 Connellsville, PA 15425. For more information visit: email@example.com.
I have met with Gene of Gene’s Sign Dezign, and I’m expecting a response back from him soon on a sign prototype for the Adopt-a-Bioswale project. The packets containing the business agreement, letter, and mock sign will be handed out soon to local businesses soon trying to get them to Adopt a Bioswale. There are twenty eight bioswales, and the city council is
Cara Madden is from Ipswich, Massachusetts. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Government, and particularly enjoyed courses in environmental politics and economics. Cara has work experience in the nonprofit sector, and also running the operations of a local farmstand. In her free time Cara enjoys swimming and yoga. She is looking forward to working on projects that combine sustainability and small business.
Joe Crumbley is from Seattle Washington and graduated from The Evergreen State College with a degree in Environmental Studies. He has past experience in carpentry, organic farming, outdoor education, and forestry. He is very enthusiastic about the different projects this program has to offer, since they're expanding on previous experience, as well as providing hands on experiences, working towards tangible economic and environmental results. Joe enjoys snow-sports, running, and surviving in the remote wilderness with very little.
Emma Strong was a corps member in the 2011 SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC) and loved the work so much that she has decided to carry on as Project Leader for the 2012 corps. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and often rode the Great Allegheny Passage as a child. She loves working for a group that brings her back to her southwestern Pennsylvanian roots and allows her to work in a discipline she is passionate about, sustainable economic development.
After taking an Environmental Science class during her senior year of high school, Emma developed a deep seeded concern about how people interact with the environment in which they live. She continued along that focus path and studied Environmental Studies at Hiram College in northeastern Ohio. Her experience working in the environmental field includes watershed and storm water management, corporate environmentalism, and zero-waste non-profits.
Emma loves to travel and has had life changing experiences in Bhutan and Florence, Italy – two very special places and spaces. In her free time Emma spends time running, hiking, biking on the Great Allegheny Passage, and enjoying good movies. She is an avid photographer and plays her cello in a community orchestra.
SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps Mission: To foster economic revitalization and sustainable redevelopment in the Great Allegheny Passage Trail Towns through minds-on and hands-on community service.
SCA TTOC Goals:
• To be an integrated resource and asset to the Trail Town communities
• To communicate sustainable economic development opportunities
• To coordinate and increase reliance on local and regional economies
• To promote appreciate of rich cultural heritage of Southwest Pennsylvania
The SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps (TTOC) is an SCA Sustainability Corps composed of college graduates hailing from the southwest Pennsylvania region and from across the United States. This multi-year partnership blends the missions of the SCA and the Trail Town Program (a project of the Allegheny Trail Alliance and The Progress Fund), while engaging community members, businesses, non-profits, municipalities, and civic clubs in their local economies and communities.
Corps members spend 10 months of service spurring sustainable economic and community development in the Trail Towns along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail. These towns, once quite prosperous during the peak of the coke, coal, and steel industries, are now in the process of economic recovery. SCA TTOC and our various partners see this internationally recognized trail as one source of sustainable re-development for the Trail Towns. The corps builds upon the region’s strong cultural heritage and regional recreational assets in pursuit of rural sustainability.
Each corps member is the point person for one or two Trail Towns. They attend meetings, sharing with each community our work and the work of the Trail Town Program. They then share town specific happenings with the rest of the region through our partner organizations and social media efforts. In addition, corps members take the lead on regional, local, ongoing, and short term projects. Due to the nature of our work, many projects require the entire team to participate, thus they take turns leading and being led.
Follow our progress in the Trail Towns this year to learn more about our corps and the innovative projects they work on.
Check us out on facebook!
TTOC - http://www.facebook.com/TrailTownOutreachCorps
Trail Town Program - http://www.facebook.com/TrailTownProgram
Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network - http://www.facebook.com/gapsbn
|Trail Season Winding Down - TTOC November project updates|
|TTOC November Town Updates|
|About the Site|
|Emma Strong - Project Leader|
|TTOC 2012 winds down|
|C&O Canal Towpath trip - TTOC October|
|Trail Town October Updates|
|GAP Sustianable Business Network October TTOC Update|
|Trail Counts Winding Down - TTOC October Update|
|Sustainable Trail Guide - TTOC October Update|
|Putting the Gardens to Bed - Connellsville Community Gardens - Oct. update|
|GAP SBN September Update|
|TTOC Town Updates - September|
|Trail Counters - Sept. TTOC Update|
|TTOC Sept. Events|
|Trail Town Ice Cream Sept. Update - TTOC|
|GAP Ride Part 3|
|GAP Ride Part 2|
|Sustainable In Ground Aquifer - Irrigation methods to preserve water through underground condensation|
|Sustainable Trail Guide - TTOC August Update|
|Adopt-A-Bioswale - TTOC August Update|
|Trail Town Ice Cream - TTOC August Update|
|Wet counters, Spiders, and Bears, Oh My: TTOC August Trail Count Update|
|Connellsville Community Gardens - TTOC August Update|
|TTOC August Education and Outreach|
|TTOC GAP SBN August Update|
|TTOC August Town Updates|
|GAP Ride Part 1|
|Wet Counters - TTOC July Trail Count Update|
|Sustainable business rack cards finished - TTOC GAP SBN July Update|
|Harvest Time - TTOC July Community Garden Update|
|TTOC July Ice Cream Update|
|July TTOC Town Updates|
|June TTOC Town Updates|
|Great weather for Trail Town Ice Cream - June update|
|Connellsville Community Gardens are in full bloom - June update|
|Spiders and mis-placed trail count posts - Trail Count June updates|
|Tabling and Radio Shows - June Trail Town Outreach Corps Outreach Events|
|A Sustainable June - GAP Sustainable Business Network Update|
|Trail Town Ice Cream - TTOC May Update|
|Trail Counts - May TTOC Update|
|Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network - TTOC May Update|
|Sustainable Trail Manual - TTOC May Update|
|Community Gardens - TTOC May Update|
|TTOC May Town Updates|
|Kaleb Shissler's Monthly TTOC Update - April|