Welcome New Board Member Rob Cronauer
Rob Cronauer has been appointed to the board of directors of the Westmoreland Land Trust.
Rob has a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Penn State. He currently serves as the Westmoreland Conservation District Assistant District Manager/Projects Coordinator, where his work focuses on improving water quality by advancing conservation principles through education, examples, and programs, to improve the environmental health of Westmoreland County. Rob is a board member of the Sewickley Creek Watershed Association and the Westmoreland Heritage Trail.
Rob joins 16 other members of the board of the Westmoreland Land Trust.
Salamanders and Snakes of Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve
WLT Americorps Service Member Aaron Capouellez has prepared a story map about the Salamanders and Snakes of Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve. The story map features excellent photos and clear descriptions of types of salamanders and snakes that either have been observed or are likely to be seen at the Preserve.
Welcome New Board Member Jack Paulik
Jack Paulik has been appointed to the board of directors of the Westmoreland Land Trust.
Frogs of Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve
WLT Americorps Service Member Aaron Capouellez has prepared a story map about the Frogs of Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve. The story map features excellent photos and clear descriptions of 5 types of frogs that either have been observed or are likely to be seen at the Preserve.
Westmoreland Nature Backpacks
To help you explore nature in Westmoreland County, WLT AmeriCorps Service Member Loree Speedy led a project to enable you to borrow a Westmoreland Nature Backpack, available throughout the Westmoreland Library Network (WLN)! There are different backpacks for exploration of Streams & Forests, Birds, and Flowers & Pollinators.
WLT created the backpacks in partnership with the WLN to make high quality tools, materials, and nature guides available for children’s and families’ use.
Dr. Paula Purnell, WLT’s Partner for Educational Programming, will visit several libraries during the summer of 2022 to explain use of the backpacks.
Earth Day Nature Walks
Thanks to AmeriCorps Service Members Loree Speedy and AAron Capouellez, and thanks to everyone who participated, the WLT hosted 2 most enjoyable nature walks at the Ackermann Preserve on Earth Day, April 22. Loree led a wildflower walk in the afternoon, and AAron led a twilight exploration of the floodplain of Blue Dell Run in the evening. Late April and early May are ideal times to enjoy the abundant spring wildflower bloom at Ackermann. If you visit early in May, be sure to walk down the Wedding Trail to see the hundreds of Trillium grandiflorum on the hillsides.
Planning for Future Nature & Art Park
The WLT has engaged LaQuatra Bonci Associates to coordinate planning for the future Carl A. Schwarz Memorial Nature and Art Park. Please email email@example.com or write to us at 218 Donohoe Road, Greensburg PA. 15601 if you would like to be added to our email list or old-fashioned mailing list for the park and the planning effort.
Many thanks to everyone who helped, or participated in the New Year’s Eve Glow Stick hikes at the Ackermann Nature Preserve. The glow sticks added quiet beauty to the preserve to create a magical experience after sunset on New Year’s Eve! Please email or write if you would like to be added to our email list or old-fashioned mail list for future events.
Thank you to all who supported our work on Giving Tuesday! And thanks to all who help with a donation or by volunteering throughout the year – we couldn’t do it without you. If you missed Giving Tuesday you can still send a donation at our website, or by mail to Westmoreland Land Trust / 218 Donohoe Road / Greensburg PA 15601.
Our 2021 fundraising appeals have been issued with a wish and a prayer that many will support our work to conserve and care for land of special ecological, cultural, or recreational value in Westmoreland County. We are fortunate to work on transformative projects such as conservation of the beautiful and ecologically valuable Schwarz Farm. And we are privileged to have your help.
Welcome New Board Members Cary Bohl and Kim Miller
Cary Bohl and Kim Edward Miller have been appointed to the board of directors of the Westmoreland Land Trust.
Cary Bohl is an active conservation volunteer who lives in Murrysville. She has generously given her time and energy over the years in service to other environmental and outdoor organizations, including the Westmoreland Conservancy, the Municipality of Murrysville’s Environmental Advisory Board, and the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation. A graduate of Miami University of Ohio with a BS degree in marketing, Cary and her husband Ken have three adult children.
Kim Edward Miller of Ligonier is a full-time farmer who raises grass-fed beef. He volunteers with both the Westmoreland Conservation District and the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County as treasurer and chair, respectively. He previously served in volunteer leadership positions with the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, the Laurelville Retreat Center, and the Pennsylvania Farmers Union.
Cary and Kim join 15 other members on the board of the Westmoreland Land Trust.
Thank you for Visitor Days at the Schwarz Farm
Many thanks to all who helped or came to our October 22nd – 24th Visitor Days at the Schwarz Farm! Special thanks to our dedicated board members and volunteers who helped out; to WestCentral Equipment of New Alexandria for their loan of a John Deere utility vehicle; to all the visitors who shared information about the farm’s history; and to everyone who expressed interest in helping with this project or other work of the Westmoreland Land Trust.
Thank you for 2021 Westmoreland Ramble
Many thanks to all who supported, helped, or participated in the 2021 Westmoreland Ramble.
Special thanks to Signature Sponsors Patrick and Lynn Gurrentz, Major Sponsors Spitzer Toyota/Scion and Gridiron Partners, and Sponsors SCORE Westmoreland, Keytex Energy Solutions, Quatrini Rafferty and Hillview Motors.
Thank you Old Joe Club Charities and the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County!
A huge thank you to Old Joe Club Charities and the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County for our invitation to be a featured nonprofit at the 2021 Annual Tournament of the Westmoreland Croquet Club. It was a beautiful event that provided the opportunity to spread the word about our work, the October 17 Westmoreland Ramble (road rally), and the October 22 – 24 Visitor Days at the future nature and art park now known as the Schwarz Farm.
United Way Days of Caring
Many thanks to our terrific volunteers from Bayer for the 9/15/21 Day of Caring at the Ackermann Preserve! In spite of the threat of rain, Kenton Derikiro, Veronica Thompson, and Michelle Zowacki completed much work at the Preserve – including clearing trails, cleaning signs, moving logs, and removing Japanese stiltgrass. AmeriCorps Service Member Loree Speedy organized and led the Day of Caring, and Mark Bowers cut downed trees.
Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers for the 9/14/21 Day of Caring at the Schwarz future nature and art park. Everyone worked to make the farmhouse sparkle! Thank you Chandler Daugherty, Kaitlyn Lewis, Walter Moorhead and Lori Tyke from PES Testing* and Chee-Kay Tai from West Penn Power! *Product Evaluation Systems, Inc.
Thank you United Way of Southwestern PA for this year’s Week of Caring!
Our 2020 Annual Report is available online, along with all of our other annual reports. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to its preparation – and also to everyone who contributed to, or supported, our work during the year. Our work would not be possible without you.
Our Annual Reports may be found under “Publications” via the “About WLT” menu item of our website.
Be a Better Birder
Thank you Paula Purnell for this summer’s Be a Better Birder workshops offered in Westmoreland County communities.
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.
to all who helped at the Ackermann Preserve, with special thanks extended to members of the Steel City Ruck Club!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 https://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.
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 right on the appropriate date (new applicants on July 1, renewing applicants on May 15). More information is available online.
For the 2021/2022 school year, school districts that have authorized use of the workshops are:
City of Jeannette
Mount Pleasant Area
New Ken – Arnold
Yough School District
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
email@example.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.
Thanks to AmeriCorps Service Member Stephanie Jellison for creating our new story map about the Ackermann 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).
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.
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.
Meeting will be at the Westmoreland Conservation District Barn and may also be attended remotely by Zoom videoconference. Please contact the WLT at 724 325-3031 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate in the meeting.