Pittsburgh, Pa. – July 28, 2022 – As if on cue, storm clouds gathered and the skies opened as government and nonprofit leaders gathered today in Larimer to celebrate the installation of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s rain garden system in a community flower garden.
The rain garden, which was installed in 2020, expands the environmental benefits of the Conservancy’s existing community flower garden that has been a community staple at the corner of Lincoln and Frankstown avenues since 1995. It has the capacity to mitigate 2,500 gallons of stormwater runoff per rain event, potentially intercepting up to 100,000 gallons of stormwater annually. The celebration was delayed during the pandemic until the community could gather safely.
Featuring pollinator-friendly perennials, the rain garden is located adjacent to Pittsburgh Public School District’s Lincoln PreK-5 School, whose students helped to select the flowers and design the garden. About 25 Lincoln students were set to enjoy rain garden bingo, a scavenger hunt and flower-shaped cookies in the garden following the ceremony. Although the heavy rain kept them inside, the children enjoyed the cookies inside their classrooms.
The garden offers continuing outdoor education and opportunities where young urban students can learn about pollinators, the effects of stormwater on our water system, green infrastructure and how native plants and trees help with stormwater capture and more.
“This project is exciting because it brings so many things together that we care about in this community and provides an opportunity for our youth to learn about green infrastructure,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Thanks to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, there have long been beautiful flowers and plants to brighten the neighborhood. Now we’re celebrating the addition of an innovative rain garden that helps address stormwater and showcases how to incorporate sustainable projects and practices into our community.”
Designed to be engaging with the community, the large site features more than 260 beautiful pollinator-friendly native perennials, including black-eyed Susan, iris, coneflower, beardtongue and more, and nine native trees, including redbud, serviceberry and American hophornbeam.
Pittsburgh Community Services (PCO) received a grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation for the Larimer rain garden’s installation and upkeep and asked WPC to partner on the project. Conservancy staff and contractors installed the rain garden at the Lincoln and Frankstown flower garden in partnership with PCO and Pittsburgh Public Schools.
“This rain garden system is not only functional but educational and beautiful, and we are thrilled to provide this wonderful opportunity in Larimer,” said Cynthia Carrow, vice president of the Conservancy. “We are very appreciative of the project partners, the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Pittsburgh Community Services.”
The rain garden is maintained by community garden volunteers throughout the year with assistance from WPC staff. For more information about volunteering in this or any of the Conservancy’s 130 community gardens, please contact Lynn McGuire-Olzak at 412-586-2324 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit WaterLandLife.org.
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped establish 11 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands, protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams, and assessed thousands of wildlife species and their habitats. The Conservancy owns and operates Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and 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 more than 7,000 volunteers. The work of the Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.