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Be a Better Birder!

Join us for a 2 hour workshop to have fun and improve your birdwatching skills!  These free family-friendly morning events will introduce you to the skills and resources needed to grow your birdwatching skills.  Workshops will be offered from 9 AM – 11 AM on Saturday mornings:

Saturday August 7, 2021 – Jeannette Junior/Senior High School
Saturday August 14, 2021 – Twin Lakes Park Pavilion 03
Saturday August 21, 2021 – Historic Hanna’s Town

The workshops are free but registration is required!

Revitalizing Westmoreland Grant

The WLT is honored to receive award of a Revitalizing Westmoreland grant from the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, toward planning of the Carl A. Schwarz Memorial Park.

Many thanks!

to all who helped at the Ackermann Preserve, with special thanks extended to members of the Steel City Ruck Club!

Property Acquisition


On March 11, 2021, the WLT acquired a significant 96-acre property with the help of funding from Colcom Foundation and Allegheny Foundation, and other supporters. The exceptionally scenic Schwarz farm is located on Beech Hills Road in Hempfield Township, three miles from downtown Greensburg. It will be conserved as a nature and art park, with meadows to provide habitat for pollinator and upland meadow bird species.

The WLT will engage a planning consultant for the conservation project. Planning will include input from residents of nearby communities and others interested in the project.  The property had been previously farmed, and farm use will continue throughout the planning process.

For some time the property will only be open to the public during Visitors Days which will be announced on the WLT website and Facebook page. A video of aerial views of the property may be seen on the WLT’s Youtube channel.

The park will be formally known as the Carl A. Schwarz Memorial Park, and the WLT invites suggestions for a short banner name for the park. The one or two word banner name should reflect the property’s beauty, conservation value, or Westmoreland County heritage. Please send your suggestions – or your request to be placed on a mailing list for the future nature and art park – to westmorelandlandtrust@gmail.com or Westmoreland Land Trust / 218 Donohoe Road / Greensburg, PA 15601. (photo courtesy of Dick Byers)

Quarry Scavenger Hunt for Ackermann Preserve

Visitors to the Ackermann Preserve can now enjoy a Quarry Scavenger Hunt thanks to Simetra Design, Sense of Place Learning, and volunteer photographers!  The Quarry and the Floodplain scavenger hunts can be printed at home, and laminated copies for use at the Preserve are available at the Ackermann Information Kiosk.

Thankful for …

The WLT has so much to be thankful for – the vision of our landowners, the help of our volunteers, the support of our contributors, the assistance of our partner and sister organizations, and the dedication and commitment of our board and committee members.  The WLT was very pleased to welcome Loree Speedy as our AmeriCorps Service Member this year.  Loree served on the Board of the WLT since 2011 (including as Secretary for many years) before stepping down in August 2020 to become WLT’s AmeriCorps Service Member.  Here Loree is pictured exploring a coke oven while conducting research for an interpretive sign, photo courtesy of Mark Bowers.

Giving Tuesday

Thanks so much to all who supported our work with a donation on Giving Tuesday!  And many thanks to all who help us throughout the year; we couldn’t do our work without you.  If you missed Giving Tuesday you can still donate at http://westmoreland-landtrust.org/make-a-donation/ or by mail to Westmoreland Land Trust/ 218 Donohoe Road / Greensburg, PA 15601.

Online STEM Workshops Available for Public Schools

The WLT is excited to offer excellent online STEM nature workshops free of charge to Westmoreland County public schools, to the extent that funding permits.  Dr. Paula Purnell, our Partner for Educational Programming, has developed Earthworm Wonders and Microgreen Gardeners workshops under Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program featuring engaging videos, narrated PowerPoints, and supplementary activities and handouts.  More information is also shown below.

Floodplain Scavenger Hunt for Ackermann Preserve

Visitors to the Ackermann Preserve can now enjoy a Floodplain Scavenger Hunt thanks to Simetra Design, Sense of Place Learning, and volunteer photographers!  The scavenger hunt can be printed at home, and laminated copies for use at the Preserve are available at the Ackermann Information Kiosk.

Educational Workshops

We are excited to announce the availability of WLT nature oriented educational workshops to participating Westmoreland County school districts! Dr. Paula Purnell, our Education Partner, has developed excellent STEM-based workshops and supporting materials.

Video and online materials suitable for teachers’ use while schools are closed are available to public schools for use free of charge (to the extent that funding permits). For your school district to participate, a letter of support from your superintendent is required. Once the WLT receives that letter, teachers may request a workshop for their class(es).

For businesses, the WLT’s PA Educational Incentive Tax Credit program is an excellent way to support delivery of high-quality educational workshops free of charge to participating Westmoreland County schools. A business may apply for generous tax credits (90% for a 2-year commitment, 75% for a 1-year commitment, up to $750,000 for the business annually) for commitments to the program. Tax credits are offered each year to eligible applicants until the PA funding allocation is spent; for this reason it is important for a business to apply very promptly (new applicants on July 1, renewing applicants on May 15). More information is available online.

For 2021, school districts that have authorized use of the workshops are:

Belle Vernon
Burrell
City of Jeannette
Franklin Regional
Greensburg Salem
Hempfield Area
Leechburg Area
Ligonier Valley
Mount Pleasant Area
Norwin
Penn-Trafford

Earthworm Wonders materials for remote instruction include videos, narrated presentations, and supplementary materials. Teachers’ and students’ responses to the workshops – whether in-class or online – are uniformly positive and enthusiastic. Email

westmorelandlandtrust@gmail.com for more information.

Thank you Colin Sheehy and Pittsburgh Camera

Thank you Colin Sheehy and Pittsburgh Camera for your extraordinary contribution to the WLT! Colin produced several short videotaped interviews of members of our board and community.  Colin’s videos cover many topics, and may be found on the Youtube page for the Westmoreland Land Trust.

Story Map for the Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve

Thanks to AmeriCorps Service Member Stephanie Jellison for creating our new story map about the Ackermann Preserve!

Brochure/Trail Map for the Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve

Thanks to our excellent designer John Hapach and WLT volunteers for our new brochure/trail map for the Ackermann Preserve (funded in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnership Program Environmental Stewardship Fund under the administration of PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, administered through Pennsylvania Environmental Commission’s Laurel Highlands Mini Grant Program).

Aerial Tour of the Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve

Thanks to I.B. Dronin Photography for a generous donation to the WLT of a beautiful drone aerial tour of the Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve.

Natural Areas book

The Westmoreland Bird and Nature Club offers an excellent book, Natural Areas in and around Westmoreland County.  It is the combined work of over 35 members of the WB&N Club, the Audubon Society and local naturalists, most of whom are self-taught and have a love for the local Pennsylvania landscape.  It was edited by long time club leader Dick Byers, and is a guide to 98 natural areas within 35 miles of Greensburg.

The book has something for everyone—hikers, birders, wildflower enthusiasts, and history buffs. A little bit of the history of each site is included, as well as a list of birds and plants that the visitor is likely to see. Scenic views and can’t-miss features are given. Even for those who are new to exploring nature, or looking for a short excursion for the kids, the book is an excellent resource.

If you would like to see the book, each of the member libraries of the Westmoreland Library Network has a copy.

Story Map

Here is a story map about our project, Green by Design, to evaluate land across Westmoreland County.  Please contact us or stop by for a brochure about the project, or to learn more about our work.  The story map was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation and Partnerships Program Environmental Stewardship Fund, under the administration of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, through Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Laurel Highlands mini grant program.

 

Upcoming Events

Aug
7
Sat
Be a Better Birder! @ Jeannette Junior/Senior High School
Aug 7 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Be a Better Birder!

Presented by the Westmoreland Land Trust and Hosted by Jeannette City School District

This free, family-friendly event will introduce you to the skills and resources needed to improve your birdwatching skills. Participants will build a birdfeeder, learn some basic bird anatomy, and then use binoculars, field guides and new smartphone technologies identify some of the amazing birds living in, and passing through, our area.

Register soon! Participation is limited to 10 groups of 1-4 people, and each group must include at least one adult.

Questions? Contact Paula at pgpurnell@gmail.com

Each group of 1-4 participants will have access to a “Be a Better Birder Kit” which includes,

For your use:

• 1 pair of Celestron Outland X 8×25 Binoculars

• 1 Pennsylvania Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species

• Cornell University Ornithology Lab app instructions, laminated

Take-aways:

• Materials to make 1-4 bird feeders

• Packet of resources and fun birdwatching activities to do at home!

Questions? Contact Paula at pgpurnell@gmail.com

Aug
14
Sat
Be a Better Birder! @ Twin Lakes Park Pavilion 03
Aug 14 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

This free, family-friendly event will introduce you to the skills and resources needed to grow your birdwatching skills. Participants will build a bird feeder, learn some basic bird anatomy, and then use binoculars, field guides and new smartphone technologies to see, hear and identify some of the amazing birds living in, and passing through, our area.

• To make the best use of our resources, participation is limited to 10 groups of 1-4 people, and each group must include at least one adult.

Each group of 1-4 participants will have access to a “Be a Better Birder Kit” which includes,

For your use:

• 1 pair of Celestron Outland X 8×25 Binoculars

• 1 Pennsylvania Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species

• Cornell University Ornithology Lab app instructions, laminated

Take-aways

• Materials to make 1-4 bird feeders

• Packet of resources and fun birdwatching activities to do at home!

Questions? Contact Paula at pgpurnell@gmail.com

Aug
21
Sat
Be a Better Birder! @ Historic Hanna's Town
Aug 21 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Be a Better Birder!

Presented by the Westmoreland Land Trust and Hosted by Historic Hanna’s Town

This free, family-friendly event will introduce you to the skills and resources needed to improve your birdwatching skills. Participants will build a birdfeeder, learn some basic bird anatomy, and then use binoculars, field guides and new smartphone technologies identify some of the amazing birds living in, and passing through, our area.

Register soon! Participation is limited to 10 groups of 1-4 people, and each group must include at least one adult.

Questions? Contact Paula at pgpurnell@gmail.com

 

Each group of 1-4 participants will have access to a “Be a Better Birder Kit” which includes,

For your use:

• 1 pair of Celestron Outland X 8×25 Binoculars

• 1 Pennsylvania Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species

• Cornell University Ornithology Lab app instructions, laminated

Take-aways:

• Materials to make 1-4 bird feeders

• Packet of resources and fun birdwatching activities to do at home!

Questions? Contact Paula at pgpurnell@gmail.com

Sep
17
Fri
WLT Board Meeting @ WCD Barn or Zoom
Sep 17 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Meeting will be held at the Westmoreland Conservation District Barn at 218 Donohoe Road, Greenburg PA 15601 or may be held remotely by Zoom videoconference.  Please contact the WLT at 724 325-3031 or westmorelandlandtrust@gmail.com if you would like to participate.

Nov
19
Fri
WLT Board Meeting @ WCD Barn or Zoom
Nov 19 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Meeting will be held at the Westmoreland Conservation District Barn at 218 Donohoe Road, Greenburg PA 15601 or may be held remotely by Zoom videoconference.  Please contact the WLT at 724 325-3031 or westmorelandlandtrust@gmail.com if you would like to participate.