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Community priorities drive national, international leadership on climate adaptation | The Homepage

By Tiffany Taulton

Upper left: two people stand in snowy woods with several brown and white goats in between them. Center top: 11 people in coats, scarves and hats stand in the woods facing the camera. In the center, a young dark-skinned person in a long red coat holds a trophy. Upper right: Snow-covered woods. Center: People sit around a U-shaped conference table in a room under fluorescent lights. Lower right: Four people face away from the camera, looking towards a wintry forest scene; text says: January 24, 2023 Hazelwood Greenway Grant Funding Discussion, National Park and Recreation Association visit. Lower center: A group of 11 people in coats, hats and scarves stand in the woods, facing the camera. Text says Hazelwood Initiative. Lower left: A snow-covered forest scene.
Scenes from the National Recreation and Parks Association visit and Hazelwood greenway grant funding discussions on January 24

Hazelwood Initiative has won national and international recognition for our work greening the neighborhood, improving our greenway and bettering community health. Guided by the priorities in the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan, Hazelwood is becoming a leader in environmental and climate justice.

In 2020, the Trust for Public Land awarded the City of Pittsburgh $50,000 through OnePGH for a pilot program to address ecological issues in the 183-acre Hazelwood greenway. This project measured the benefit of funding greenway maintenance instead of relying on volunteers.

Based on the success of the pilot program, the National Recreation and Park Association awarded the City of Pittsburgh $433,000, through the OnePGH Fund, to increase park equity.

The 2021 United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow Scotland named the Hazelwood greenway project as a finalist in the category of climate change adaptation for the Climate Cup Challenge.

Additional interest from Resilient Cities Catalyst, which studied climate change and landslide risk in the Hazelwood greenway, led to a $5,000 study last year with the Department of City Planning. This paved the way for the city to receive a $1 million grant from International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.

In January, we helped grow the park equity program by meeting with National Recreation and Parks Association representatives and groups supporting the North Charles Street greenway in Perry Hill Top and Beechview’s Seldom Seen greenway.

And I will represent our community as a featured speaker at the Green Building Alliance's Inspire series in March.

This recognition shows that community priorities such as those in the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan can and should drive development and climate resilience work. Hazelwood shows the world that the voice of the community is the heart of healthy development.

How does the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan guide our sustainability work?

Infrastructure priorities: Cleaner air and more green space (p. 10).

  • Tree plantings and tree care events

  • Free solar panels for Hazelwood homes through the largest solar co-op ever in Pennsylvania

  • Free solar installations begin in March

Community priorities: More jobs, physical activity and fresh food, lower rates of asthma and mental illness (p. 41-48)

  • Workforce training and job placement

  • Greenway hikes

  • Garden beds

  • Gardening trainings

  • Free outdoor family activities

Building and maintaining partnerships is essential to success (p. 114). Hazelwood Initiative partners include:

  • Tree Pittsburgh

  • Allegheny Goatscape

  • Landforce

  • Venture Outdoors

  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

  • Grounded

  • Grow Pittsburgh

  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

  • Repair the World

Tiffany Taulton is the director of outreach and sustainability at Hazelwood Initiative.

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