For the Love of Parks is an original podcast series created by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to celebrate the nonprofit's 25th-anniversary. The 12-episode series will highlight the Parks Conservancy's impact on the region for the past 25 years through unique stories told by past and current members of the organization, local community leaders, and Pittsburghers that cherish their beloved green spaces.
The Secret Life of Frick Park
We’re counting down the top five most surprising and interesting things about Pittsburgh's largest regional park. Loved by hikers, bikers, birders, and nature lovers of all ages, Frick Park is also home to the Frick Environmental Center. Throughout this episode, you'll also hear Pittsburghers' reflections about the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse.
A Work in Progress: Lawrenceville's Arsenal Park
Arsenal Park is a place where solemnity and joy sit side by side. It was the site of the largest single loss of civilian life during the Civil War. 78 people were killed - most were women and children. And even though some of the historical structures from that time remain, many who use the park today have no idea about its history. The tragedy that happened there has been overshadowed by new memories. That’s something a park is particularly good at – creating new stories. For the past seven years, the citizens of Lawrenceville have been engaged in a master plan for their beloved park that they hope will honor its past and reimagine its future. But Arsenal Park is still in that sometimes rocky period of going from vision to reality.
Landslides, Deer, Crazy Jumping Worms, Vines: The Ecological Threats Facing Riverview Park
We are back in Riverview Park for this episode and the story we want to tell this time is about the very serious ecological threats facing many of our city parks, especially this one. Any geologist will tell you that the geology of Pittsburgh, and especially Riverview Park, is unstable shale. That makes conditions even more favorable than usual for landslides. But there are many other ecological threats facing Riverview. And we’re going to hear about those from Robin Eng, the Ecological Project Manager for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Robin was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and has always felt at home in the forests of Western Pennsylvania - including the urban ones. She went to the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied both Ecology & Evolution and Philosophy. Later, she got a master’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. Robin’s work in both forest ecology and wildlife biology makes her particularly good at understanding and explaining the factors that contribute to a healthy ecosystem. We met up with Robin in Riverview Park to talk more about landslides, the out-of-control deer, crazy jumping worms, vines — all of it.
BONUS EPISODE: Back to the Beginning
We are hard at work on the next few episodes (did you hear about the bridge collapse?). In the meantime, please listen back to our very first episode to hear how it all began.
The Parks Conservancy might feel like an institution today, but in many ways, we are still a grassroots organization full of dedicated volunteers. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, learn the origin story of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and how one woman's idea led to a unique public-interest partnership that has changed Pittsburgh in so many positive ways.
The Finest Breathing Room in the City
The reservoir at Highland Park was built in 1879, and the park was officially created around it about 20 years later. It was the brainchild of Edward Bigelow, Pittsburgh’s first Director of Public Works, who called it the 'finest breathing room in the city.' On any given day, you will meet people there from all over the region. And one of the reasons it is such a popular place for walking is because of the reservoir - there’s just something about being in the sight of water that draws people in. But this reservoir - there’s a story there.
McKinley Park: Community is Key
McKinley Park is one of the oldest parks in Pittsburgh. As far back as people can remember, McKinley has been the backdrop of picnics, fish frys, family reunions, parades, concerts and childhood memories. In contrast to how large McKinley Park looms in the lives of community members, a lot of Pittsburghers have never even heard of it. And in some ways, people on the Hilltop feel forgotten.
This podcast is lovely and so interesting, definitely give it a listen!
Extremely informative fun and uplifting, definitely give it a listen!