O'Hara unveils plaque to honor environmental advocate Beulah Frey
The late environmental pioneer Beulah Frey was memorialized with a plaque during a rededication recently at her namesake park in O'Hara. Frey passed away in 2006 but her influence on the science programs at Fox Chapel Area High School continues, O'Hara historian Tom Powers said.
“During her lifetime, Beulah Frey was honored many times including by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Association of Biology Teachers,” Powers said. “Her work and influence in environmental studies continues beyond her passing, and this memorial is a legacy of the area's love of nature, by not only Beulah but by the students she influenced, our local garden clubs and nature studies programs.”
O'Hara officials hosted the rededication of Beulah Frey Park on May 6 in an effort to familiarize a younger generation with the former educator, township Manager Julie Jakubec said.
The plaque was unveiled near the main entrance to Lauri Ann West Community Center at Frey's memorial stone, off of Powers Run Road
The park sits adjacent to the community center.
Jakubec said the ceremony was a way to reintroduce the community to Frey, a teacher who spearheaded the first school district-wide environmental education program in the state.
“To this day, the program continues to focus on connecting our youth and their families to the natural resources of our community,” Jakubec said.
Frey was a math and biology teacher at Aspinwall High School in the mid-1940s who believed that environmental advocacy should be part of the curriculum. She formed a nature club with her students and became active in the programs at Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
In 1949, the Fox Chapel Garden Club awarded Frey a scholarship to attend an environmental education class and her commitment to activism skyrocketed. In 1969, about 11 years after the Fox Chapel Area School District was founded, Frey helped shape the environmental program that the district still uses today.
Beulah Frey Park was opened in 1983, and council has approved recreational updates over the past few years. In addition to playground equipment and benches, there was a $15,000 flex court installed in 2017 for basketball, tennis, deck hockey and pickleball.
The park also is used for programs at the community center.