Become a Community Greening Volunteer
“We like to do this as a family thing…” — Family planting at the Liberty Tunnel
More than 12,000 Western Pennsylvanians helped beautify our region in 2011 by planting 200,000 flowers and helping tend to the beds throughout the summer into the fall. Our volunteers range in age from 5 to 85 and come from all walks of life. They live in city neighborhoods, suburbs and rural communities. They may come as individuals, families, community groups or corporate volunteers. Some have never planted before; others are skilled gardeners and have been planting with us for years.
“I like to drive by later and tell people I helped plant this beautiful garden.” — Corporate volunteer
What Garden Volunteers Do
As a Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Community Greening Volunteer, here is what you can expect during a spring planting:
- You will be planting and mulching annual flowers.
- The planting activities will take about four hours on site.
- Children are welcome under adult supervision (planting day is not usually appropriate for children under eight).
- We plant rain or shine, usually in the morning.
- The Conservancy provides the plants, general planting instructions, plastic gloves (though you are welcome to bring your own), and safety vests for all volunteers.
- Dress for the weather—layers if it is cool, rain gear if it is wet, sunscreen and hats for bright days. You will get dirty!
- Wear sturdy shoes to protect your feet. No sandals allowed!
- Bring some water (and snacks if you wish).
"It's a great way to bring out the residents of our neighborhood. We have a wide variety of volunteers—all working well together! What a fun day!" —Community Garden Steward
Where Are the Gardens?
Our gardens range in size from small beds to large and dramatic plantings. We plant at schools, in neighborhoods, along busy highways, in business districts, at bridges and other landmarks or gateways in our region. We plant gardens in 20 counties. Tour our gardens by clicking here. If you would like driving directions to any of our gardens in the region, click here.
How Gardens Are Maintained
Each garden has a trained Garden Steward who tends the garden once it is planted and keeps it looking beautiful throughout the growing season. Gardens are planted on public land. All projects are partnerships among local community groups, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the local municipality. We also welcome volunteers throughout the summer to help care for the gardens and provide extra care through weeding and other maintenance.
“I love to plant this garden so I can make things more beautiful.” —Youth volunteer
Become a Garden Steward
We are always looking for new Garden Stewards to help tend gardens during the growing season. Most Stewards visit their gardens once a week for watering and weeding. Some larger gardens have groups that tend them as part of their organizational activities.
What You Will Take Away
As a Community Greening Volunteer, you will have the satisfaction of meeting other people who care about making the world a more beautiful place, and of watching your efforts grow into an inspiring landmark!
If you or your group are interested in volunteering at any of our gardens in the spring or summer, please contact Lynn McGuire-Olzak at (412) 586-2324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.