Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Gardens and Greenspace Volunteers Surpass 10,000


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Community Gardens and Greenspace program drew more than 10,000 volunteers in 2009. This record-setting volunteer turnout follows another record-breaking year, when volunteers surpassed 8,000 in 2008.

The volunteers contributed a total of nearly 50,000 hours in 2009 to bring the benefits of greener cities, towns, neighborhoods and schools to Western Pennsylvania residents and visitors.

The volunteer ranks included community gardens volunteers, who planted and tended to 140 gardens in 20 Western Pennsylvania counties; TreeVitalize Pittsburgh volunteers, who helped to plant street trees throughout the Pittsburgh region; and volunteers for the School Grounds Greening Initiative, which involves Pittsburgh Public Schools students, their parents and community members. Together, the volunteers planted 3,500 trees, 193,000 flowers and 1,500 bulbs – and moved 200 tons of mulch.

Their work improved the region’s quality of life by making neighborhoods more beautiful, welcoming and walkable; strengthened communities by creating connections among neighbors and co-workers; and improved the environment by managing storm water impacts and reducing heat from cement and parking lots.

“This remarkable volunteer turnout suggests that the commitment of Western Pennsylvanians to creating greener, healthier and more vibrant communities is stronger than ever,” said Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “Thanks to their efforts, the entire region benefits from beautiful flower gardens, new trees and greener school grounds that instill community pride and optimism.”

The Conservancy welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to participate as volunteers with the Community Gardens and Greenspace program. For many, volunteering with WPC provides a fun and social way to improve the environment and even ignites a lifelong passion for environmental stewardship. Volunteers in 2009 included individual participants, as well as those who signed on to help as part of groups:

“It’s really important to give back to the community. We are fortunate that our administration at Point Park University supports our efforts. Community engagement is an important component of our strategic plan.”

- Nicole A. Peffer, CMP – Marketing/Database manager, Point Park University

“Planting a community garden has been a fun and rewarding experience for the volunteers at WYEP. It’s another way that we get to give back to our community and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a wonderful organization to partner with – we’ll definitely be back next year!”

- Kathleen Radock, membership director and volunteer coordinator, 91.3 FM – WYEP

“It is easy to get required school community services hours from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy from spring through the fall. The staff are always friendly and appreciative of your help and they always welcome you back.”

- Nick Albert

Pittsburgh Cares is thrilled to support the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in reaching a goal of 10,000 volunteers! Community gardens maintained by WPC are vital to neighborhoods throughout Allegheny County and showcase the incredible efforts of volunteers throughout our region.”

- Alexa New, Interim Executive Director, Pittsburgh Cares

The Conservancy’s Gardens and Greenspace volunteer programs are managed by Lynn McGuire-Olzak, volunteer coordinator for WPC. Volunteers are needed throughout the year. For information, call Lynn at (412) 586-2324 or lolzak@paconserve.org.