Executive Director Appointed
“This is an historic moment for our young organization,” Chuck Duritsa, chair of the Westmoreland Land Trust, said after the board endorsed the hiring of Mary Tate as the group’s first executive director at its meeting on January 20, “and the beginning of what we hope will be even greater success in conserving open space for the people of Westmoreland County.”
Tate has degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Boston Architectural College and experience in the areas of planning and preservation. She worked as a preservation specialist, preservation consultant, and city secretary in and around metro Dallas, Texas where she also was involved as a volunteer for Cub Scouts, the PTA, and Autism Awareness. Originally from western Pennsylvania, Mary and her family recently left Texas to return to the local area.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help the Westmoreland Land Trust build on the great foundation that’s already in place,” Tate said. She will quickly get the chance to do that, as her first day on the job is Monday.
Since 2008, the nine-year-old Westmoreland Land Trust has been achieving its goals solely through the volunteered time, efforts, and energies of some 23 board members. Board members will continue their active involvement, but having Tate as the dedicated staff person will help achieve goals more quickly and comprehensively, Duritsa said.
The Westmoreland Land Trust has conserved some 235 acres in six Westmoreland County communities, including the City of Greensburg, North Huntingdon Township, and Murrysville. Its most recent acquisition was 28 acres in Rostraver Township, obtained in partnership with the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, and added to Cedar Creek Park.
The Westmoreland Land Trust executive director position was created with funding from the Allegheny Foundation.
REIMAGINING OUR WESTMORELAND
Thanks to everyone who came and offered their thoughts on Westmoreland County’s strengths and needs at the Reimagining Our Westmoreland workshop we held in conjunction with the Loyalhanna Watershed Association on Nov. 2.
Your input has been sent to the county for inclusion in the County Comprehensive Plan now being developed. This plan will help guide local decisions through the year 2031.
Day of Giving — Thank you!
The Day of Giving was rescheduled for Wednesday, September 21 from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.
That day, all donations earned **MATCHING Funds** from the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County.
And Westmoreland Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization so your gift is tax-deductible under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, to the extent of the law.
“The Sky’s the Limit” — 28 acres added to Cedar Creek Park
The skies cleared…the people came…the planes flew…and the deed for 28 acres of land was transferred to the county, so it can be added to Cedar Creek Park. Thanks to everyone who came to “The Sky’s the Limit” celebration event on May 12.
Here are some scenes including the property deed delivered by drone!!
Mike Walsh, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spoke at the event.
Members of the Mon-Valley Radio Control Club put on an amazing airshow.
Kids’ activities included customizing their own airplanes.
Wildflower walks were held.
The new, 28-acre parcel of land we were celebrating will create a protective “buffer” for the Cedar Creek Gorge (behind the tree line), site of one of the best wildflower shows in western Pennsylvania, as well as new recreation opportunities for visitors, including hiking trails and more room for the radio-controlled model airfield (out of photo, to right).
The Westmoreland Land Trust and the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation raised the money for this land acquisition through competitive grants, one from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Recreation and Conservation; and one from the Colcom Foundation. THANK YOU!!!
The Westmoreland Land Trust and the Westmoreland County Parks Department are partnering on several efforts that will add even more land and more fun to our free Westmoreland County parks.
One of these efforts is to develop a new walking/running/biking trail — the Turtle Creek Trail — that will extend from Export to Trafford.
We raised funds for this trail in late March during the March for Parks event.
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Acquisition Provides Uninterrupted Access to Some 500 Acres of Natural Area
We were able to acquire a 22-acre parcel that connects Duff and Pleasant Valley Parks, so visitors can have uninterrupted access to more than 500 natural acres! Read more about the acquisition.
The Westmoreland Land Trust is currently nearing completion of its first-ever strategic planning process.
The majority of the trust’s volunteer board members have been actively involved in this organizational assessment and planning tool, which is being facilitated by Arvind Paranjpe, president of Dynamic Leadership Ltd. Arvind has more than 30 years of experience in facilitating strategic planning, organizational consulting and CEO development.
During this process, the Westmoreland Land Trust has identified seven three-year goals and five key strategies for achieving them. Focus areas include:
- Property selection
- Revenue stream
- Board of Directors and committees
- Organizational identity
- Organizational standards and practices
- Participation in the creation of the Westmoreland County Comprehensive Plan
SMART goals, which include measurable outcomes and deadlines for completion. have been identified for each key strategy.