Member Highlight: Allegheny Land Trust

13 Mar

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1. Organization: Allegheny Land Trust

2. Founding Date: 1993

3. President & CEO: Chris Beichner

4. Current Staff Size: Full-time 9, Part-time 6

5. Geographic Area Served: Allegheny County, occasionally Washington County

6. Mission Statement: To serve as the lead land trust conserving and stewarding lands that support the scenic, recreational, and environmental well-being of communities in Allegheny County and its environs.

Talking with Roy Kryaynyk, Vice President of Land Protection & Capital Projects

7. What is one project or program that you are really excited about?

We’re excited about all of our programs! Land protection is one of our core missions and the stewardship department takes the land we acquire and enhances it. The education department then works with mainly kids and volunteers all over the region teaching them about stewardship and how to protect and care for their environment. Between those three sections of our organization there are a ton of projects.

I’m particularly excited about the protection of 80 acres of land along the Chartiers Creek called Wingfield Pines and the creation of a 20 acre passive water treatment system that purifies 1500 – 2000 gallons a minute of Abandoned Mine Drainage before it gets to the creek. It is all done through a natural process, no pumps or chemicals, and operated by gravity which makes it completely sustainable. The project was completed in 2009 and in addition to recovering iron oxide from the water, the system accommodates trails, a wetland boardwalk, overlooks, and interpretive signage providing educational opportunities. This project led to the first recorded sighting of the Virginia Rail bird in the region, something that is really special and we are really proud of. Its a really great place that I have been going to for years and each time I come back I find something new to fall in love with.

8. What are some of the corporation’s recent accomplishments?

In addition to smaller accomplishments, last year we closed on four new properties totaling over 130 acres of land. We also acquired two properties outside of Allegheny County in Washington County. The rationale for this decision is that water networks in Washington flow into Allegheny, so whatever happens upstream is going to affect the quality of life, land, and water in Allegheny County. We wanted to take the next step in protecting the environments in this region by working upstream as well.

9. Tell us what you love about your neighborhood. 

While we operate throughout Allegheny County, our offices are located in the Sewickley neighborhood. Sewickley has a very Rockwellian feel, like it is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Its a very walking accessible neighborhood, we can walk to the theater, the coffee shops, restaurants, and other store fronts right from our office, and its really nice to be a part of that. The Sewickley community has been very supportive of our work and we are happy to be able to work in such a great place.

10. Have you partnered with other organizations for events or projects in the past? How has is helped you?

Almost every project that we do involves some other organization as well. Sometimes we partner with other organizations to accomplish a project or we have volunteers from organizations throughout the region helping us complete the projects, either way, the work we do is accomplished by working with other groups. In the past we have partnered with organizations like Allegheny Clean Ways and Venture Outdoors and have had volunteers from the local universities and organizations like Google and some corporate companies assisting on the ground.

11. What is an interesting fact about your corporation or its history?

I’m really proud of the fact that we protect over 2,100 acres of land all over Allegheny County.

12. What are some upcoming events?

We have tons of events stemming from education information sessions to guided trail walks and hikes. Our events are listed on our monthly calendar online and I encourage anyone who is interested to browse the events and attend as many as they can!

13. Contact Information