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Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

CONSERVE | SPRING 2008
 
Building on a 75-Year Legacy of Land Conservation

 
 
  
 

 

Help Our Community Gardens Grow

May is planting month for WPC’s Community Gardens and Greenspace program and we are now seeking volunteers to help us beautify our neighborhoods. Last year, 5,300 volunteers joined us in this effort - a great project for neighbors, friends, school groups, co-workers and families who want to help green local neighborhoods.

“The fact that so many people in Western Pennsylvania participate in these gardens is remarkable,” said WPC’s Senior Director of Community Gardens and Greenspace Program Judy Wagner. “The gardens are living proof that people care about the environment of our communities and are willing to invest their personal time and labor into the quality of life. WPC is proud to offer this ‘common ground’ for all ages and backgrounds of people to come together and make our region more beautiful.”

Here’ an additional motivator for would-be volunteers: Helping to plant a community garden does more than beautify a neighborhood - it may actually boost your mood. According to a recent study from the University of Bristol, digging in the dirt may give your spirits a lift and help you cope with stress. Researchers found that mice who inhaled the bacteria found in dirt tried harder to work out a stressful problem, while mice that didn?t sniff the bacteria gave up more easily. It is believed the bacteria stimulate the release of mood- enhancing chemicals in the brain.

Judging from the positive reactions of those who pass by and offer encouraging words on planting day, the gardens themselves seem to improve our communities' outlook. The gardens have become a signature image of our region, symbolizing our beautiful landscape and quality of life. They also provide a backdrop and enhancement for other cultural and civic assets.

If you’re interested in helping improve your community, please contact WPC’s Garden Coordinator Lynn McGuire-Olzak at 412-586-2324 or email gardens@paconserve.org. To take a virtual tour of all 135 WPC community garden projects, visit www.WaterLandLife.org/gardens.