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URP Community Service Options 2017

Murphy’s Bottom

Wednesday, June 14, at 8 a.m.

Murphy’s Bottom is located along the north bank of the Allegheny River in Armstrong County, [about 40 miles from Duquesne] and it is the site of an on-going habitat mitigation project. The site encompasses approximately 100 acres. The dominant feature on the property is a 21-acre pond. The area to the west of that large pond is occupied by deciduous forest, portions of which are flooded.

In 2006 Pennsylvania DEP approached representatives of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Duquesne University about participating in, and ultimately leading to the current Murphy’s Bottom Ecological Project.

The purpose of this project is to guide the reclamation, development, and subsequent use of the Murphy’s Bottom site including

  • Habitat creation and enhancement
  • Long-term biological studies
  • Educational activities
Invasive Species Control at Murphy’s Bottom

Invasive plant species are taking over some of the disturbed areas of the site. Once these non-native species become established, they crowd out native species and become a monoculture, thereby reducing the biodiversity of the site. There are optimal times to administer control for each invasive species due to their life history traits. Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a native of central China, is a rapidly growing deciduous tree that resembles our native sumacs. It was introduced as an ornamental to Philadelphia in 1784 and has spread rapidly throughout the Eastern United States. The book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith is based on her observations of the ailanthus tree. It can reach heights of 80 feet, grow in almost any open area, and releases toxins in the soil that prevents other plants from competing with it. A single female tree can produce up to 325,000 winged seeds called samaras each fall. Attempts to control Ailanthus by chopping it down will result in the propagation of numerous stump sprouts and root sucker, thereby increasing the problem of removal. This project will map out the existing stands of Ailanthus on the site using GPS and topographic maps so they can be revisited next year to evaluate our removal progress. We will chop into each tree and apply wetland-friendly herbicide to the cuts to kill the extensive root system; a process that should be most effective in early summer when root reserves are lowest.

Raccoon Creek State Park

Sunday, June 18, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Beaver County Sportsmen’s Conservation Camp is a co-ed outdoor education camp for children, ages 12 to 15. The purpose of this camp is for these kids to learn about what the outdoors truly has to offer, in the state park setting. URP volunteers will be working with graduate students from the Environmental Science and Management program to develop age-appropriate activities for these kids.

St. Vincent de Paul

Day 1: Sunday, June 25, at 7 p.m.
Day 2: Sunday, July 23, at 7 p.m.

Duquesne University’s chapter's main ministry is working with the homeless of downtown Pittsburgh. Every Sunday night we gather at 7 p.m. in Laval House, to prepare food for our homeless

friends downtown. Not only do we bring food, but also clothing, and our open hearts. As we walk downtown together, we visit some of our long-time friends while also meeting new ones along our route. Sometimes they share stories or their concerns with us, and we listen and try to help as best we can. By ministering to their spiritual and personal needs and desires, we show solidarity with them. We confirm their dignity as human persons.

Tree Pittsburgh

Wednesday, June 28, at 9 a.m.

Tree Pittsburgh is an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the City's vitality by restoring and protecting the urban forest through tree maintenance, planting, education and advocacy.

Our vision is to be a leader in creating a healthy, attractive and safe urban forest by inspiring and engaging citizens to plant, maintain and protect trees. Trees provide substantial environmental, social and economic benefits that greatly enhance our quality of life.

URP students will assist in weeding, mulching, adjusting stakes, planting flowers, getting to know neighbors and fellow Tree Tenders, and ensuring the health and longevity of our next generation of urban trees!

Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh
Love Your (Resilient) Block

Saturday, July 8, at 9 a.m.

We will all meet at the Tustin Street Tot Lot, located in the 2000 block of Tustin Street in between Jumonville and Seneca. The volunteers, residents and youth will gather, sign-in and an overview of the project will be given. We will be digging several holes and planting roughly 20 ornamental grasses along the now drab, chain-link face outside of the Tot Lot. Volunteers, with the help of youth from the neighborhood, will help dig, plant, pick up any garbage, and finally, paint chipped benches, swing set, and picnic table at the sight. The afternoon will include some games for youth, food, and prizes. Also, UP will be purchasing a new basketball set for our older youth, and we will be presenting the options that day so that the kids can choose (poster display of options).

Phipps Conservatory

Saturday July 8, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Saturday July 8, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phipps will be showcasing the Tropical Forest Congo Festival, which Duquesne University sponsors, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will need four volunteers from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and another four volunteers from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., to be present at our table. All eight volunteers will each get two free passes for a future visit to Phipps Conservatory. Some details can be found on this site… https://phipps.conservatory.org/calendar/detail/tropical-forest-congo-festival.

Registration