Community Gardens & Greenspace
The Conservancy believes that greening communities with gardens, trees and other greening approaches are important components to the quality of life for residents. These approaches also help spur community and economic revitalization. The key to this work has been strong collaboration and engagement with community leaders, residents and volunteers. Together we’re working to help make local communities more desirable and sustainable places to live and raise families.
In partnership with communities, the Conservancy produces green scans, which include assessments of existing green assets and recommendations for additional opportunities to implement green solutions to problems using natural green infrastructure systems. In addition, WPC has completed ecological assessments of several Allegheny County parks offering recommendations for natural solutions to problems, such as stormwater runoff, and natural resource enhancement.
Municipality Green Scans
The Conservancy developed a “Green Toolbox” as a way to systematically analyze the green assets of communities (parks, trails, community gardens, etc.) and offer realistic solutions to implementing additional greening features. WPC has worked with several community, municipal, and organizational partners to undertake greening assessments and provide assistance in implementation of the greening recommendations.
Below are some of the assessments that WPC has created through community partnerships:
Allegheny County Parks Ecological Assessments
The Conservancy has worked with the Allegheny County Parks Foundation and the Allegheny County Parks Department to undertake ecological analyses of four county parks—Boyce Park, South Park, Settlers Cabin Park and Hartwood Acres Park. These projects inventory and assess the natural areas of the parks, identifying valuable natural assets such as native plants, water bodies, and older growth forests. Issues such as invasive plant species, tree pests and diseases, and soil erosion are also identified. Recommendations from the project reports include specific areas that should be protected, invasive plant management, opportunities for green infrastructure at buildings and high use areas, locations to reduce mowing and restore meadows, tree plantings and trainings for park staff. WPC is beginning to actively work with the Allegheny Parks Foundation and stakeholders on one additional park: White Oak Park.
Other Greening Assessments and Solutions
Erie Downtown Greening Report – The Conservancy worked with private funders, Erie Downtown Partnership, Erie city and county officials, and Gannon University to develop a plan to improve the urban forest of Downtown Erie. This work has resulted in dozens of new trees throughout the area as well as ongoing maintenance.
Garfield Green Zone – The Conservancy and Evolve worked with the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation and Garfield residents, to analyze and suggest opportunities for areas of largely publicly-owned wooded land within the neighborhood.
The endeavor has gone through two phases to date: