Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

January E-Newsletter_2021

thank you for supporting your parks  

As we enter a new year, we want to take the time to thank all of our park friends, both near and far, for coming together and supporting your parks. With your help, we were able to turn the many challenges of 2020 into new opportunities.

From the launch of Parks on the Go, to planting hundreds of trees to support the urban forest, to the completion of the Allegheny Commons North Promenade project, we were able to find light during uncertain times.

From all of us at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, may 2021 be filled with joy, warmth, and prosperity.

Thank you for your continued support of your beloved parks!

Caroline Weiss_Summer Intern 2020
#loveyourparks stories  

"My internship with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was so meaningful because I was able to stay connected to the parks I love, learn how to create digital content, and help the Pittsburgh community engage with nature. I took classes remotely this semester from my hometown, so my internship was a vital way for me to continue learning about and virtually explore parks around my university. Additionally, my internship mentors provided excellent knowledge about best practices for making videos and blogs that interest the public, which furthered my understanding of good environmental education. I thoroughly enjoyed creating my projects, working with such a welcoming community at the Conservancy, and gaining valuable professional development through our career panels. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to learn from the Conservancy and pursue my passions even during a pandemic!" - Caroline Weiss, Parks Conservancy Intern

Do you #loveyourparks, too? Tell us why! Click here to share your story. 


sustainable landcare: winter perennials 

In 2020, the Parks Conservancy's horticulturalists were credited as 'Sustainable Landcare Professionals,' and are working to implement new sustainable practices at the Highland Park Entry Garden. Traditional horticultural practices suggest the fall is a good time to cut back your perennial flowers and tidy up before winter; instead, we have chosen to leave the perennial plants in this well-known city garden standing during the cold winter months. There are many benefits to this sustainable landcare technique. When left standing, every plant serves multiple unique and vital winter functions that support a variety of species in our urban ecosystems.

Click here to continue reading. 

Highland Park_Babbling Brook

then and now: highland park babbling brook  

Parks and green spaces are essential parts of the lives of all Pittsburghers. Throughout the past several months, Pittsburghers recognized the importance of parks and green spaces in helping the community cope during crises. This year has allowed all of us at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to reflect upon our long-standing partnership with the city of Pittsburgh and the work we have accomplished together to restore Pittsburgh's park system to excellence. One of our most memorable projects to date is Babbling Brook in Highland Park.

Babbling Brook is an attractive and functional park amenity! The project was completed in 2003 as a way to avoid the potential eyesore of a concrete chute, which would carry the nearby microfiltration plant’s wastewater. Through this project, water from the plant is naturally cleaned and aerated through exposure to the air. Water then flows over rocks on its way to Lake Carnegie as part of this unique water feature.

The Parks Conservancy is honored to work alongside the city of Pittsburgh, local community members, and to have friends like you to support our neighborhood and park improvement projects year-round.

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the gift of nature 


It has been our family’s 'release' during this last year. Whether it was getting out on a walk in our neighborhood to escape our own four walls, our kids building forts for hours in our backyard, or passing time on one of our many hikes along the calming trails of the Pittsburgh parks ... there’s no doubt nature has served a healthy outlet for us as we've tried to find ways to manage our physical and mental health.

Nature has been that for many of us, hasn’t it?

A place to escape. To find peace. To de-stress. Or to just sit and appreciate the stillness that exists even when a breeze comes in.

Click here to continue reading. 

how to survive a covid winter 

As fall gradually gives way to a long, cold pandemic winter, it’s important to remember — you can still go outside. Pittsburgh’s parks, in particular, provide a great deal of opportunities for socially-distanced wintertime recreation.

“There’s something so calming about the parks during the winter,” says Alana Wenk, of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “It’s as though everything becomes still, and you can really embrace the beauty of nature. Also, the parks are absolutely magical when it snows. Since we don’t get an abundant amount of snow in Pittsburgh, it makes it a really special experience — everything glistens, and you really get to enjoy the parks in a completely new light.”

Click here to continue reading about enjoying outdoor spaces all winter long!

creating art inspired by nature  

"​My name is Iliana DiNicola and I'm a Public Programs Intern at Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Besides having a strong interest in the environment and nature, I enjoy drawing and being artistic. For this project, I want people to utilize the free space around them, aka nature, and to have some creative fun with it!

Drawing and being outside isn't just a fun activity, it can be beneficial for your health! It has been scientifically proven that being outside can create a more positive mood and better cognitive function. Drawing has health benefits such as strengthening problem solving skills, and bringing out more creativity overall."

Click here to unleash your creativity!

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parks remain open year-round  

Together, let’s reimagine our outdoor spaces! Parks provide plenty of space for educators to take their classrooms outdoors, families to celebrate their special occasions and explore together year-round!

As we continue adjusting to our new normal, parks can serve as a valued place for learning, meeting, and safely celebrating the holiday season.

Let's step outside to explore, create, and celebrate! 

Remember, parks are for all seasons.

Click here to explore plenty of ways to enjoy parks and green spaces year-round!

Spotted Lanternfly
stopping the spotted lanternfly

Did you know that the Parks Conservancy's horticulture and forestry team is certified to inspect the invasive spotted lanternfly? The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that makes a direct negative impact on agriculture. 

Spotted lanternflies are easy enough to spot, with ruby red streaks beneath black-and-white wings that blend like an abstract expressionist painting. But six years after the first sightings of them, Pennsylvanians have been told to squash them on sight. They exact a huge toll on agriculture. The insects feed off 70 plant species, including fruit trees and grapevines, and they could cost Pennsylvania $324 million per year in lost crops and 2,800 agricultural jobs if left unchecked. 

Click here to continue reading. 

intern videos

in the spotlight: parks conservancy interns

The Parks Conservancy's amazing group of interns have a passion for parks and the outdoors! This semester's group of interns recently completed nature-based videos to enjoy from the comfort of your home. 
Select a video link below to get started!  

Sounds of the Parks Learning Leaves Leaf Rubbing Activity 

Exploring Habitats  | 
Come to Pittsburgh, Crows Frick Environmental Center Tour

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enhance your time in nature

Reserve one of our themed backpacks! Choose between four different backpacks, each with its unique materials and resources to help experience Frick Park in a new and exciting way. Keeping safety in mind, our team has also created a contact-less procedure for backpack borrowing.

Explore the following backpack themes below!

The Winter Backpack, make new discoveries in Frick Park during the cooler months with our winter exploration backpack; 

The Meadow Backpack, for learning about insects, spiders, and butterflies and a book about common meadow creatures;

The Forest Backpack, featuring a ‘Bird Identiflyer’ for identifying and making bird calls;

The Stream Backpack, with tools, such as a sieve and aquaviewer, for discovering what lives in the local pond or creek; and

The Health Backpack, with hiking poles, a hammock, and a FitBit to help visitors measure their workouts.

To receive a backpack, please submit a reservation by 3:00 p.m. on the Friday before your reservation date, then pick-up the backpack on the designated Saturday or Sunday at the open-air gatehouse at the Frick Environmental Center.

Click here to learn more and reserve your backpack for your next park adventure!

Special thanks to the Katherine Bassara Memorial Fund and the Howard and Carol Lang Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for making this program possible!


Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

317 East Carson Street, West Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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