Posts Tagged ‘Urban EcoStewards’

Neighborhood Clean-up Impact + Tree Planting next Saturday

Although Saturday started off a bit chilly (did someone mention the s-n-o-w word?), it warmed up quickly as volunteers hit the streets and the dirt to remove litter, invasive species, and illegal dumping from Stanton Heights. What did we accomplish on Saturday? Clean-up organizer extraordinaire, Mike Sturges, has compiled the following update. THANK YOU Mike Sturges for all that you do to make Stanton Heights a beautiful place to call home!


IMG_7013Volunteers:  We had 38 volunteers for the event. Thanks so much to the residents of Stanton Heights for your commitment.

Clean up statistics:  The clean up focused on the Stanton and Woodbine greenspace as litter pick ups on Woodbine St., Coleridge St., Hawthorne St., Azure St. and Christopher St.   The numbers are as follows:

  • 250 pounds of scrap metal,
  • 100 pounds of mixed debris,
  • 4 tires, 60 bags of garbage, and
  • 4 bags of invasive species (japanese knotweed).

All of this debris was left on the intersection of Stanton and Woodbine for DPW to pick up this week.  We were also able to remove 10 buckets of garlic mustard which will be composted. In addition to this, we were able to move 2 tons of concrete from the Stanton and Woodbine greenspace to be recycled.  These stats add to the accomplishments of the last two years with a total of  300 vines, 164 bags of garbage, 64 bags of invasive plants removed, 50 tires, 1.25 tons of scrap, 2.4 tons of mixed unbagged debris and 24 tons of concrete from this site and surrounding streets
A special thanks to the volunteers who helped plant in and weed the flower bed!

We removed less litter and illegally dumped items but this is because we did such a good job removing it the last three years and we have not had a lot of return dumping except for a few hundred pounds of concrete and landscaping debris. If we continue to steward this space we should continue to see a decrease in illegal dumping.  Thanks to past efforts, there was noticeably less garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed on the site than the last two years.

Stanton Heights resident Barry Werber took photos of the event, which can be viewed here.

Future directions:
Tree Planting Saturday 5/2/15 The Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association has received funding from Councilwoman Deb Gross to place signage for the Stanton Heights neighborhood on Stanton Ave. at the beginning of Sunnyside Elementary School property sometime this year. Please join us as we plant trees donated by the Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission to provide backdrop for this signage. Please join us at 8:00 am at Sunnyside Elementary school, and share this invitation with your neighbors!

Urban Ecostewards:  A group of Urban EcoSteward volunteers has been working on this greenspace for the last two years to remove illegally dumped items and invasive species. Beverly Stennett, Jennifer Sturges, Trillium Reynolds and her sons should all be applauded for their efforts working up to this clean up.  Let us know if you would like to join this group of volunteers in the future.

Staying on top of future dumping:  To all Stanton Heights residents, we could really use your help with keeping an eye on future dumping.  We need to be vigilant and need to move dumped materials out of the property ASAP so that people realize that we are a community that will not look the other way anymore.

Community Composting program: This clean up marks the third anniversary of the Stanton Heights Community Composting Program.  It is estimated in the year of 2014 that this compost heap has prevented over 40 yards of landscaping debris from being dumped in other locations, which, at other points, has  attracted dumping of other forms like concrete and tires—that’s over 20 pick up trucks full of landscaping debris that has been recycled responsibly and sustainably.   The compost from this program continues to be available for local residents.  The Stanton Heights Community Composting program continues to funnel landscaping debris and yard waste to prevent dumping in other sites and provides community members with compost to use in their yards.

Thank you Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association for donating lunch for the volunteers and Pesaros Pizza for the discount.  Thank you Allegheny CleanWays for the supplies and support. Thank you PWSA for donating water for the event. Thank you Giant Eagle, Einstein Bros Bagels, Lawrenceville ShopnSave, and Paddy Cake Bakery for donating donuts, bagels and coffee for the event. Thank you, Mike Rizk for allowing us to use your truck for the event again this year. Thank you Jim Heinrich for helping to plan the event, Mary Fischerkeller for working to get donations for food and Anna Marie Caffardo for helping to set up.  Thank you to everyone else who I did not mention.

Clean Up Success!

cleanup
Despite the temperatures and wind, the Stanton Heights Community Cleanup was a complete success! Thank you to everyone who participated! Click here or on the photo at left to check out photos from the event.  The community would like to extend a special thank you to event organizer Michael Sturges, who for the second year in a row spent countless hours to make the clean up possible. Michael gave the following recap:

Volunteers:  
We had 32 volunteers for the event. Thanks so much to  the residents of Stanton Heights and Citizen Care Inc. for your commitment to this project.Clean up statistics:  The clean up focused on the Stanton and Woodbine greenspace as well as parts of Woodbine St., Coleridge St., and Christopher St.
These are the numbers:
  • 500 pounds of mixed unbagged debris,
  • 100 pounds of scrap metal,
  • 6 tires,
  • 35 bags of garbage, 
  • 5  bags of invasive species (japanese knotweed).

All of this debris was left on the intersection of Stanton and Woodbine until DPW can pick it up.  We were also able to remove 5 buckets of garlic mustard which will be composted. About 50 vines were removed but left on site.  In addition to this, we were able to move 8 tons of concrete from the Stanton and Woodbine greenspace to be recycled.  A special thanks to Mark Biggs of Sharper Cut LLC for donating his dumptruck and time to move this concrete.

Flower bed :  
A special thanks to the volunteers who helped to plant the flower bed and to Mike Rizk for donating the mulch for the bed.

Storm drains:  We were also able to use a stencil to spray the storm drains around the greenpace to say DO NOT DUMP WASTE DRAINS TO RIVER. Thanks to PWSA for the stencil and paint and for donating 100 bottles of water for the thirsty volunteers.

Although we did not have as many volunteers as last year, we still accomplished a lot.  We still removed the same tonnage of concrete as last year–8 tons.  We removed less litter and illegally dumped items but this is because we did such a good job removing it last year and we have not had a lot of return dumping except for concrete and landscaping debris. There was noticeably less garlic mustard on the site than last year, however there was an increase of japanese knotweed which will need to be a focus for future years.

What’s Next?

Urban Ecostewards:  A group of Urban EcoSteward volunteers has been working on this greenspace since  last years clean up to remove illegally dumped items and invasive species. Bevery Stennett, Jennifer Sturges Trillium Reynolds and her sons should all be applauded for their efforts working up to this clean up.  Let us know if you would like to join this group of volunteers in the future.

Staying on top of future dumping:  To all Stanton Heights residents, we could really use your help with keeping an eye on future dumping.  We need to be vigilant  and need to move dumped materials out of the property ASAP so that people realize that we are a community that will not look the other way anymore.

Community Park:  The Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association will be getting word out about future meetings to discuss  the proposal of a community park on the greenspace.  A meeting date of April 29th is currently set but a time and location has not been chosen.Thank you Stanton Heights Neighborhood Association for donating lunch for the volunteers, thank you Allegheny CleanWays for the supplies and support.

Volunteers Needed in Stanton Heights

Over a month has passed since the April 21st clean up event, and the greenspace at Stanton & Woodbine is still looking great! To continue the work that was already started in beautifying Stanton Heights, Michael Sturges of Allegheny CleanWays is seeking a few volunteers to help with ongoing projects. If you are interested in volunteering for any of the opportunities he’s outlined below, please drop him a line: mike.sturges [at] alleghenycleanways.org

Dumpbusters: Stanton Heights.  Perhaps the factor that Contributed the most to the high tonnage of the 4/21/12 clean up was the expertise of the DumpBusters program.Developed in 2010 with an Allegheny CleanWays volunteer, this is a year-round program to combat illegal dumping in Allegheny County. A small group of volunteers (anywhere from 1-8 people) go out every day to chip away at dump sites. While they focus primarily on small dumps that are easily eliminated by a small group, they have also tackled the largest cleanup in our Allegheny CleanWays history. The DumpBusters crew can also provide expertise to communities wanting to clean up a difficult site and is “on call” to respond to new dumping incidents. To date, our DumpBusters crew has removed almost 200 tons of debris from the city of Pittsburgh. Our goal for 2011 is to develop additional crews to expand beyond city neighborhoods in Allegheny County.  I am proud to say that the additional crew is being started in Stanton Heights.  We have 5 volunteers who met in April and May and are looking for at least 5 more volunteers.    We are planning to meet on the second Thursday of each month from 5:00 pm until it gets dark to clean up illegal dumps in and around Stanton Heights.  Dates for the next four clean ups 6/14/12, 7/12/12, 8/9/12 and 9/13/12. Locations will be sent out one week prior to the clean up. 

Urban EcoStewardsStanton and Woodbine.  To ensure that the property at Stanton and Woodbine remains litter free and The Urban EcoStewards program enables volunteers in long-term stewardship of greenspaces that they have cleaned, thereby improving the overall health and natural value of the land. Urban EcoStewards receive one-on-one training on the site they have chosen to steward and attend free group trainings on relevant issues. Training workshops cover such topics as invasive plant identification and removal techniques, wildflower identification, erosion control, native shrub and tree identification, native seed collection, and techniques for leading a crew of volunteers. We plan to meet as needed to address issues at the Stanton Ave. at Woodbine St. site when needed but not more than twice a month. Those interested will be contacted a few days in advance to inform them of upcoming events.  If you are interested please let me know as we are trying to schedule an initial training.

Community Composting.  Comcast built a compost bin for the Stanton Heights community on the 4/21/12 clean up.  Many Stanton Heights community members have been utilizing the compost area for grass clippings already.  Over the next few months, we hope to post a set of dos and don’ts on the Stanton Heights blog and put some instructions on the compost area. Before formalizing this, I wanted to see how much interest there is in community composting.  Some families are interested in composting grass clippings, leaves and other yard plants for composting and some are interested in composting plant-based kitchen scraps.  I am trying to gauge the interest in community composting to see how we should design this program so that it has the best interest of our community in mind.

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