Volunteering since 2008
Julie Ewing has lived in the tight-knit community of Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill since 1999. Along with her hobby of mushroom gathering, she’s always had an affinity for improving her neighborhood. Julie joined other neighbors – self-named the “Troy Hooligans” – who wanted to make their community better, leading trash pick-ups, community garden plantings and even arranged a local mural. The Troy Hooligans became connected to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s TreeVitalize Pittsburgh partnership through their work as Tree Tenders with Tree Pittsburgh. Julie realized that tree plantings and tree care were fun and rewarding ways to give back to her neighborhood.
I love the instant gratification of planting a big a tree in our neighborhood, and the pride I feel every time I see that tree.
How long have you been a volunteer with us and what motivates you to stay involved at WPC?
I love the instant gratification of planting a big a tree in our neighborhood, and the pride I feel every time I see that tree. Most of my friends in the neighborhood are Tree Tenders, so this also provides us a time to get together. Plus, Troy Hill Tree Tenders always have the best lunches after each tree planting!
Tell us about your favorite volunteer experience at WPC?
On April 7, Provident Charter School, a local elementary school designed for children with dyslexia, had a tree planting with fresh snow on the ground. Despite the weather, we had 54 volunteers, including students and their siblings, parents, teachers, neighborhood tree tenders and even volunteers from outside the neighborhood. After the planting we all had lunch together. At this point you could see that along with planting trees that day, we were also building a community. And the kids had a BLAST!
What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering at WPC?
I would definitely recommend volunteering! You learn a lot. And, the Conservancy is super organized and efficient. You’ll love the feeling of accomplishment—it will leave a smile on your face!