Pittsburgh, PA – April 25 – For more than 30 years, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) has worked with communities across the region to create highly visible community flower gardens in public places.

Today, there are 130 gardens in communities that brighten the commutes of thousands and help beautify neighborhoods, street corners and parks. These gardens also bring a unique identity, character and charm to local communities and are important urban wildlife areas for birds, bees, butterflies and other insects.

With the start the 2016 garden season, there also comes the need to save several local high-profile gardens due to a lack of sponsors and volunteers. During the months of April and May, banners will hang across signs on various WPC gardens in Allegheny County that need financial support.

To sustain these gardens, WPC relies on the generosity of dedicated volunteers and a devoted group of businesses and organizations that lend financial support to these gardens. Sponsorships make it possible for the Conservancy to purchase the flowers, mulch, tools and other materials, as well as coordinate the exceptional network of volunteers that are needed to keep the gardens blooming and free of weeds and invasive plants. Starting at $1,000, garden sponsors’ names can appear on garden welcome signs. Our current sponsors range from businesses, banks and corporations to nonprofits, foundations and individual donors.

Featured sponsorship recognition is available at gardens located in Pittsburgh at the Liberty Tunnels in Beltzhoover, Birmingham Bridge at Carson Street on the South Side; 40th Street Bridge in Lawrenceville; and the intersection of Hazelwood Avenue, Beechwood Boulevard and Saline Street in Squirrel Hill. There are additional gardens with recognition opportunities throughout Western Pennsylvania as well. At each location, sponsor help is needed to pay for the trees, shrubs, grasses and/or perennials to be planted this year to keep these gardens growing and healthy.

“Sponsoring a community garden is a great way for local businesses and organizations to show a commitment to keeping their communities green, attractive and desirable places to live, work and visit,” said Gavin Deming, a community specialist for WPC.

For more information on sponsoring a garden, please contact Julie Holmes at jholmes@paconserve.org or 412-586-2312.

Volunteer Garden Stewards Needed

All 130 of WPC’s community gardens rely on the collective efforts of thousands of volunteers each year to prepare, plant, water and mulch. And after the flowers, ornamental grasses and trees are planted, these gardens need regular attention during spring and summer months to keep them healthy and blooming into the fall.

That extra attention and care comes from a group of dedicated volunteers, called garden stewards, who regularly pull weeds and invasive plants, prune, water and remove litter and debris from community gardens.

The Conservancy currently has 109 garden stewards, but needs at least eight more to help maintain gardens in the following communities that currently are without a steward: Beechview, downtown Pittsburgh, North Side, Hill District, South Side, Polish Hill, Carnegie and Green Tree Boroughs. Stewards can range from one person to a group of people and may select a particular garden or be assigned to gardens in need.

On average, a steward volunteers two hours each week. However, Claire Capes, a WPC garden steward of four years, spends about 10 hours each week giving back to the community by caring for five gardens in neighborhoods west of Pittsburgh. For Capes, it’s more than volunteering – stewarding brings pride, satisfaction and enjoyment as she watches her gardens grow.

“People honk their horns, wave or stop their cars all the time to say thank you for what I am doing,” she says. “People love these gardens. I love these gardens. It would be so sad to lose one just because of the lack of volunteers. So, I hope more and more people realize the benefits of taking care of them.”

If you like gardening, you’ll love stewarding a WPC community garden. For more information, please contact Lynn McGuire-Olzak at lmcguire-olzak@paconserve.org or 412-586- 2324.


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org.

Media contact:

Kristen Blevins
Communications Specialist