Local volunteers show up to make a difference
Sharon Ellis is new to Harrison Hills Park. And on Saturday, she was new to using a leaf blower.
Ellis of Natrona Heights was among a handful of volunteers who came out on Saturday to help spruce up the park's environmental learning center and outdoor classroom as part of the nationwide Make A Difference Day.
Her goal with the leaf blower was to get wet leaves away from wood in the outdoor classroom area behind the learning center so it wouldn't rot.
“I just decided I needed to get out in the community and help out,” she said. “It's a way to get to know some people who are committed to the community.”
The community service day was created by USA Weekend Magazine in 1992. It is every year on the fourth Saturday of October.
In addition to Harrison Hills, events planned in the Alle-Kiski Valley included cleanups by the Brackenridge Improvement Group and Trinity United Methodist Church at Grandview Upper Elementary School.
In Apollo, the Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation and Apollo Area Business Association were gathering volunteers for light chores, mowing, trimming, sweeping and painting around the borough. They were motivated by remarks from former state Rep. Jeff Coleman, who in an April appearance said people need to talk with and get to know each other if communities such as Apollo are to survive.
At Harrison Hills Park, Paul Dudek of Freeport, a volunteer for several years, was raking leaves despite cool wind gusts that threatened to undo his work. He came dressed for the chilly weather, which didn't deter him.
“Groups like this need people who are workers. I have the time. I'm retired,” he said. “This park's a gem. It's really a nice place.”
Mardelle Kopnicky, a former member of the Council of Friends of Harrison Hills Park, said she was expecting about 20 people to come over the course of the day, for one or two hour sessions. It was their third year taking part in Make A Difference Day; another cleanup is held in the spring on Earth Day.
The work is important.
“It's just like a home. If you don't do the upkeep it will get worse and worse and worse,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do here.”
Work inside the learning center included removal of scores of stink bugs, alive and dead, and insulating the front door in hopes of keeping them out.
Odessa Garlitz of Buffalo Township was using a shop vac to get them out from between the pipes of a radiator. She may have been perfect for the job. “I can't smell them,” she said.
Cleanup of a butterfly garden unearthed a sizeable crop of Jerusalem artichokes, a root vegetable from a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.
“It's amazing how plentiful they are,” said Kopnicky's husband, Patrick Kopnicky.
For anyone interested in helping out at the park, volunteers are welcome all the time, Mardelle Kopnicky said.
“More people would make it a lot easier,” she said.
Ellis said her interest in the park goes beyond just the day.
“This is going to be as much of a commitment as I can make it,” she said. “This is a hidden gem.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelworkers: ATI talks to resume Sept. 11
- New Kensington police seek shooting suspect
- Steelworkers scoff at ATI earnings claim
- New Kensington firemen honor fallen brother, ‘hero’
- Allegheny League of Municipalities names executive director
- Butler organization seeks answers for unexplained phenomena
- ATI picketer injured at Harrison mill
- Arnold bakery reopens at its new ‘old’ location
- New Kensington physician fought for social justice
- Grandview Upper Elementary in Tarentum marks 100th anniversary with open house
- Alle-Kiski Valley municipalities to re-evaluate how to pay for police protection