Award Winner: Garden Club Of Allegheny County
For over a century, the Garden Club of Allegheny County has been a guiding hand in environmental education and conservation, stewardship, and horticulture whose goal is the establishment of values and practices that support and sustain civic improvement.
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn provided the evening’s keynote address.
She applauded the awardees’ achievements in DCNR’s key-issue areas of climate change, water resources, and green infrastructure.
Secretary Dunn also praised the growth of Western Pennsylvania as one of the best places for college graduates to live, work, and play based on factors of jobs, affordability, and life outside of work, a testament to each of the evening’s awardees.
“That is the trails, and the rivers, and the greenspaces, and the places that the people in this room helped to build,” she said.
Founded in 1914 by a small group of men and women who recognized the importance of gardening and horticulture in reclaiming Pittsburgh’s industrial urban landscape, GCAC has remained steadfast to its mission of restoring and protecting the environment throughout the region.
GCAC has been involved at both the local and national levels wherever there is a need to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening through education, conferences, publications, and grants.
Working with a wide range of local partners, including the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Audubon Society, Tree Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, the Allegheny Land Trust, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, Phipps Conservatory, and many others, GCAC has raised and distributed millions of dollars back into the community for programs and projects that advance the cause of environmental stewardship and beautification in and around the Pittsburgh area.
Throughout its history, GCAC has been a driving force in community gardening to provide sustainable sources of fresh produce in inner city neighborhoods.
GCAC worked in association with the Garden Club of America in leading the way to address sight pollution with the “Billboards Must Go” highway beautification project in the 1920s, half a century before the first Earth Day focused public attention on this problem.
More recently, GCAC celebrated its 100 years of service to the region with a special centennial project at Point State Park.
With the help of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, GCAC planted a way station that will emphasize plants native to the site and that also serves as a habitat to birdlife, butterflies, and other fauna.
This project also includes a bioswale to demonstrate current best practices for managing stormwater runoff.
With a membership of only 170 members, the work of the GCAC has attracted the involvement and support of some of Pittsburgh’s greatest benefactors and continues to be an important asset for ensuring the effective utilization of philanthropic resources for environmental conservation in the region.
These resources fund a wide variety of community garden projects, conservation and education programs, scholarships, and local renovation and restoration projects.
GCAC’s signature fundraising event, PIZZAZZ, attracts thousands of visitors for three days each October. Through this event, over $1 million has been donated for Pittsburgh-area environmental programs and projects.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook. Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.
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