Allegheny Land Trust News | June 2020
Helping Local People Save Local Land
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Inequity in Our Ecosystem
Envisioning a More Resilient Region for Today and for Tomorrow
 
We envision a resilient region with abundant green space that is easily accessible and recognized as essential to the quality of life for all. It is our vision that everyone can enjoy the benefits of green space like clean drinking water, clean air, locally grown and healthy food, and close-to-home places to exercise, re-energize, socialize, and appreciate nature. COVID-19 has amplified the truth that community green spaces are an essential contributor to quality of life.
 
These uncertain times have also amplified the injustice and inequity that exist in our society as demonstrated most recently by the tragic killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the racial intimidation of Christian Cooper while birdwatching in Central Park. These and other senseless acts of violence and racism threaten our communities and the very fabric of our society.
 
Our friends at The Nature Conservancy said it best: “When injustice reigns— whether it is unequal access to nature, unfair and inequitable laws, or police brutality—we must all do our part to push for change.”
 
We know that conserving green space is just one small voice in the overall chorus needed to bring about change, but we cannot ignore these recent senseless acts and the many others like them. We must stand together in solidarity to lift up the suppressed, the intimidated, and the threatened. At ALT, we are committed to using our capacity as a nonprofit land trust to address environmental inequity across our region especially in Environmental Justice Areas.

To view areas defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as Environmental Justice Areas (any census tract where at least 20 percent of the population lives in poverty, and/or 30 percent or more of the population is minority), please utilize the "Other Key Features" > "Environmental Justice Areas" toggle in our Greenprint Planning Tool.
|                    NEWS                    |
What We're Reading
Stay Safe, Stay Engaged in Conservation
 
Fungi peek through leaf litter at Devil's Hollow Conservation Area in May 2020. Photo by Lindsay Dill.
 
While we're all staying home to get through this pandemic together, we thought we'd share a few of our team's favorite ways to stay engaged. We hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do.
 
FOR READING
Studies show economic injustice and environmental racism are linked. As individuals, the health of our community's ecosystem is in all of our hands. The tragic killing of George Floyd is not an isolated incident, and requires that we tend to our ecosystem. Here are a few related things we're reading:
  • In response to the incident in Central Park, the Audubon Society invites "everyone to participate in the inaugural Black Birders Week, organized by a community of African American birders, scientists, and nature enthusiasts, including Tykee James, a former Audubon Pennsylvania/Alliance for Watershed Education Fellow who is now a member of National Audubon Society’s Government Relations team in Washington, DC."
  • Our Daily Planet's take and resources.
  • Want to make a difference? Support these Black-Owned Pittsburgh businesses and check out this article by The Cut with additional suggestions to help right now.
 
FOR LISTENING
Staying home impacted traffic, but air pollution levels were not heavily impacted. "Car traffic across the country is down about 40%, but ozone pollution has barely decreased compared with levels over the past five years," -NPR. Here's the NPR story about why
 
 
FOR GIVING BACK WHILE STAYING SAFE
A few of you have emailed asking us how you can help during this time. We came up with a list of ways to make a difference while staying distanced, safe, healthy, and engaged!
  • Renew Your Membership | Green spaces are one of the best places to practice social distancing, now more than ever we should appreciate and conserve the access to local green spaces in our communities. Becoming a member of ALT today will help us continue to do our work for years to come.
  • Leave No Trace & Pack It Out | While following above recommended guidelines and Leave No Trace principles, enjoy a hike while leaving a green space better than you found it. Bring a bag with you on your next hike to remove found trash along the way. Spot something too big for you? Let us know! This time can be counted toward your volunteer hours, so be sure to log these hours using our link below!
  • Capture the Beauty | We always need more seasonal photos of our conservation areas. Send along some snapshots you take on your hike through the warming days and budding trees. This time can be counted toward your volunteer hours, so be sure to log these hours using our link below!
  • Manage Invasive Plants | If you are confident in your ability to identify invasive plants, help keep them at bay by pulling and cutting species along trails on our Conservation Areas. Our Steward Resources page has links to identification tools; and if you’re unsure of what to work on, contact CaitlinThis time can be counted toward your volunteer hours, so be sure to log these hours using our link below!
  • Become a Citizen Scientist | Observe, identify, and log what you find along your hike to learn more about your natural surroundings and help us better track what’s on our land. Download the iNaturalist App and join the project for your favorite ALT Conservation area. This time can be counted toward your volunteer hours, so be sure to log these hours using our link below!
  • Create A Native Backyard Garden | Whether you have a few pots on a patio or a large piece of green next to your home, you can support bird and pollinators by planning to plant native trees, shrubs, and flowers. Find plants and guides here.
  • Read A “Green” Book | Check out this list of the top conservation and environmental books from 2019.
  • Share With Your Community | Know someone who could use a brief escape to the woods? Did you really enjoy an article we posted? Spread the word. With many folks locked inside, we are all increasing our time online, it’s a great time to share resources.
 
A Note on the Global Pandemic from ALT
Isolating For Now To Get Through This Together
 
The health, wellness, and safety of all ALT visitors, volunteers, and staff are our top priority. As we continue to follow this fluid situation with COVID-19, we will adhere to recommendations from the PA Department of HealthCenters for Disease Control, and local authorities.
 
At this time, all ALT conservation areas are open to the public for passive outdoor recreation from dawn to dusk. We recommend everyone follows guidelines associated with social distancing, including bringing a mask along your hike in case the trail is more crowded than expected. 
 
ALT’s office is operating on a modified schedule. ALT personnel are largely working from home, and will have access to email and phone messages. There may be some delay in responding, and we ask that you are patient with us. 
 
We will not hold any in-person environmental education or volunteer events between now and June 15. Individual participants of impacted events will be notified of cancellations via email, and events will be rescheduled when possible. Fees associated with classes will be refunded if desired by the participant. Events beyond June 15 are under review, and may be cancelled or rescheduled depending on the recommendation of state and local health officials. Attendees of impacted events will be notified. We will release more information on this page as needed.
 
Thank you for continuing to support ALT. Please be safe and well,
 
The ALTeam 
 
We'd Love Your  Notes From the Land
Have you visited an ALT conservation area or any other green space or conservation area since the start of Pennsylvania's stay at home order? If so, we’d love to hear from you about your experience.
 
An explorer hikes the Churchill Valley Greenway conservation project at sunset during the current global pandemic. Photo by Lindsay Dill.
 
We've worked to help local people save local land since 1993 to improve the quality of life for current and future generations. Part of our work is in communicating the role green space plays in protecting the quality of life for current and future generations so that we can continue to protect, maintain, and improve more lands.

During the current pandemic, Allegheny Land Trust conservation areas and publicly accessible green spaces of all kinds are seeing far more visitors than ever before as people seek ways to interact with the outside world while staying safe and following CDC, state, and local guidelines. This dramatic increase in green space visitation is further evidence of the importance it has in the health and well-being of each of us and all of our communities.

We want to document this increase in visitation to better tell the story of the importance of green space in our daily lives, and we need your help. Please tell us how green space is helping you and your family through this situation by answering the short survey below. We may use your answers publicly in grant requests, future newsletters, social media, etc.
 
|                    UPCOMING EVENTS                    |
* NOTE: We have programming for Girl Scouts & Scouts BSA.
Contact Julie to learn more jtravaglini@alleghenylandtrust.org *
 
OUR EVENTS AND THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC | All events prior to June 15 have been rescheduled or cancelled. We will keep ticket-holding attendees up-to-date for future events, and we'll update our events calendar as necessary. Thank you! 
 
June 4 | 4 - 5 pm | Free Webinar: Creating Backyard Habitat 
What's It Owl About? Learn More While Indoors
Learn how to attract pollinators, birds, and more to your yard by creating an inviting and sustainable backyard habitat! ALT Education Director Julie Travaglini will guide you through all of the important parts and pieces to creating your very own backyard wildlife oasis. Generous support from PPG enables us to provide this one-of-a-kind environmental education programming.
 
COST: FREE | AGES: Geared Toward Adult Learners, Open to All | RSVP
 
June 16 | 6 - 8 pm | Trail Tuesday @ Dead Man's Hollow
Make a Stunning Green Space Better
Lace up your boots, get outside, and lend a hand in helping improve local land with the Allegheny Land Trust! Join us every third Tuesday (June-October) as we work to improve and expand the Hollow’s trail system by building and improving trails, planting trees and native seeds, and removing trash and invasive plants.
 
COST: Free to Attend | AGES: All | RSVP
 
June 20 | 1 - 3 pm | Creek Critters @ Wingfield Pines
Sift for Critters, Learn What They Say
Wade into the waters of Wingfield Pines in search of “creek critters”. Our trained educator will guide collection, identification, and release of everyone’s findings, and you'll learn what the critters say about the water’s health.
 
COST: $5 | AGES: All | RSVP
 
June 20 | 9 - 10 pm | Starlight Stroll: Summer Solstice @ Wingfield Pines
Stroll Under the Stars
Take advantage of the longest day of the year and hike our green spaces after dark! Topics vary depending on the evening’s leader and can include nocturnal and crepuscular creatures, astronomy, lore, and much more!
 
COST: $5 | AGES: All | RSVP
 
June 24 | 3 - 6 pm | Girl Scout Fairy Garden Day @ Dead Man's Hollow
Enjoy Hands-On, DIY Learning While Earning a Badge
Join us for a flower-filled day where Junior Girl Scouts can earn both their Flowers and Gardener badges! Scouts will even make their very own mini fairy garden to take home with them. Other levels of Girl Scouts and children not enrolled in scouts are welcomed to attend as well!
 
COST: $20 | AGES: All | RSVP
 
 
We're always up to something! Stay tuned to this email, our Eventbrite page, our web calendarand/or our Facebook page to find more environmental education and volunteer events.
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