Blog

Blog

Krysty’s Goodbye

Though my time with Grounded has unfortunately been cut short due to COVID-19, I will be forever grateful for this irreplaceable experience. Social work is a demanding field. It can often feel like an endless run on a treadmill, unsure whether to step off or to keep going in pursuit of that slight chance that you reach the carrot at the end of the stick. That carrot, in the context of social work, is the knowledge that someone’s circumstances have…

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Any Exposure is Bad Exposure: A Comparison on Lead Safety & COVID-19 Safety Practices

As we learn more about the Coronavirus and how to limit exposure, proper health and safety precautions are on everyone's minds. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending we wash our hands for 20 seconds, avoid touching our faces, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces like countertops or doorknobs. You may know that these are important measures to take to mitigate risk of catching the virus, or spreading it to other more vulnerable people…

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What’s New in Youth Engagement at Grounded?

  Since embarking on my journey at Grounded in September of 2019,  I have been having some fun and making a difference in several communities.  By and large, one of my favorites is Hazelwood. As a Greenfield native, I grew up just around the corner playing and learning about life in Hazelwood with friends and family. My engagements as a Grounded staff member have ranged from formal building projects to networking events and (many) teaching sessions. In one of my…

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The Role of Greenspace in Pittsburgh’s Transportation Equity Conversation

Currently, the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) is developing a Mobility Vision Plan for the next 50 years! While on its surface this may not seem like an environmental justice issue tied to vacant or disinvested land, the implications of this plan are incredibly far-reaching. As the main entity tasked with managing the city's transportation infrastructure, DOMI governs many aspects of your movement through your day-to-day life. In addition to the roads most of us use…

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Natural Trailside First Aid

In October, I completed a field training with Jen Dalke of Blue Heron Nature Skills reviewing the first-aid uses of plants readily growing in Western PA. We identified different natural medicines and discussed preparation methods to activate their medicinal properties. Many of the plants are multi-use, with effects ranging from stopping bleeding to clearing parasites from the body and providing food in a pinch. I have compiled a brief list of plant medicines accessible in Western PA and suggested methods…

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Community Visioning Appeal

The spirit of Hazelwood can be found in its community of multi-generational residents, many of whom put down roots during the bustling era of the steel industry. Although the steel mills have closed and families have migrated due to economic collapse, Jourdan Hicks (she/her/they), a life-long resident of Hazelwood, foresees the community is “on the precipice of a new day.” The uninhabited lots left behind, legacies of a changing economy, represent plots of untapped potential. In partnership with Grounded, Jourdan…

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Herbal Medicine Making

In an introductory course lead by Melissa Soto of Cutting Root Farm and Apothecary and hosted by the Garfield Community Farm, participants learned how to extract the medicinal supplements of plants through mediums like syrup, honey, alcohol, oils/salves, and teas. For the purpose of the course, we prepared medicine from the fruit of Rhus typhina, commonly known as staghorn sumac, which is easily identified by its bright red and fuzzy, cone-shaped clusters of fruit. The staghorn sumac is fairly common…

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TRUSS: Masoud’s Takeaways

The second annual Three Rivers Urban Soils Symposium (TRUSS) was a wonderful event where soils experts from around the United States gathered to collectively discuss the unique characteristics and challenges of urban soils. An eclectic gathering of "dirt-worshippers" and "tree-huggers" all deeply concerned with revitalizing our urban environments through careful stewardship of soils, the presenters included individuals from academia, farmers, remediation specialists, and worm ranchers (among others). Even though the attendees and presenters came from such a diverse array of…

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Enviornmental Justice Town Hall Experience

Project Coordinator, Odera Igwe, attended the Environmental Justice Town Hall meeting in Philly and below are the main takeaways from her experience On November 2nd, 2019 I attended the APHA Environmental Justice Town Hall in Philadelphia PA. This town hall was an opportunity for Environmental Justice leaders all around the country to come together and discuss the Environmental Justice (EJ) issues they have encountered in their communities. The main objective of this town hall was to improve the understanding of…

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Community Keystones

Blog by Sean Cuff, Policy Fellow In early August, I interviewed CommunityCare Steward and long-time Larimer resident Tab Duckett outside his adopted lots near Thompson and Joseph Streets. He and his lawnmower have been fixtures of the community, and represent the outsized role neighbors have had to take on to keep their blocks maintained. He was born and raised in the neighborhood. In between at least ten horn honks, waves, and “hey there’s” with passersby, we talked about how the…

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RVP Reflection Series: Shequaya’s POV

The Grounded team attended the Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) Conference in Atlanta at the beginning of October. During their time at the conference, the team learned valuable information that they would like to share! The following video is Shequaya sharing her experience at the conference.

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RVP Reflection Series: What did Masoud see?

Throughout my experience at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) conference in Atlanta this year, I encountered a storm of new, fresh, and different ideas about how to address many of the concerns generated by cycles of disinvestment within 'rust belt' cities. Beyond these techniques though, I think the far more valuable treasure gleaned at this event comes in the form of contacts and relationships with other folks performing similar work in parallel with Grounded across this country. Their insights, challenges,…

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