Thank you!

Thank you to the 25 volunteers who came out to help improve trails, remove invasive plants  and plant trees in Twin Hills Trails Park. The weather was beautiful and it was a great reason to get outside.

Our next volunteer work day will be in Bird Park on April 29th, from 9 to noon.

We’d love to see you there! What you may not realize is that all park trails are volunteer-maintained by Conservancy volunteers and through Scout projects coordinated by the Conservancy. We do as much as we can, but we’d love to do more-with your help. Get involved! Let’s make our community even better.

Sign up here-

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Help Us Help the Parks!


Spring is here, and with it our Conservancy activity increases. If you love the parks as much as we do, or would like to get to know them better, we invite you to join our park work days to help improve trails, pick up trash, and remove invasive plant species.This work is suitable for ages 10 and up, and there are many different tasks available.

We suggest you wear long pants and long sleeves, and wear gloves. If you have tools for cutting brush or moving mulch, they are certainly welcomed.

Sign up for upcoming work sessions by following the links below. All sessions are 9 AM to noon.  Thank you! We look forward to meeting you.

Follow us on Facebook for the most current news.
April 8th Twin Hills

April 29th Bird Park

June 3rd Bird Park

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Annual Meeting 2016

The Annual Meeting of the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy was held on Sunday, Nov. 6th at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Members were treated to a talk featuring beautiful images from an African safari by board member Rich Zahren.

Officers for 2017 will be:
President-Allison McGee
Vice-President(Projects)-Ron Block
Vice-President(Programs)- Jim Phillips
Treasurer-Chris G. Phillips
Secretary-Tom Schevtchuk

The board thanks outgoing officers Thomas Schevetchuk (president) and Paul LaQuatra (secretary) for their service.
The Conservancy would also like to thank the following board members for their dedicated service. They are stepping down at the end of 2016. They include Peter Argentine, Mike Hathy, Michael Irwin, Nomi Wheeler and Rich Zahren.

The Conservancy also thanks the nominating committee for their efforts. The team consisted of Nancy B. Smith(chair), Chris G. Phillips, Ashley Setcavage, Louanne Baily, and Jim Webster.
No new board members were added for 2017.

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Holiday for the Birds 2016

The Annual Holiday for the Birds will be held on Saturday, December 17 from 10 AM to Noon at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library.holidaybirds-2016

Preschoolers (aged 3-6) are invited to stop by the library and make a biodegradable bird feeder for their yard, listen to stories, and learn about local birds and wild animals with naturalist Verna McGinley.

The event is free and is limited to 25 children, Pre-registration is required… or 412-341-7307.

Presented by the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy and the Mt. Lebanon Library.



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Autumn Newsletter 2016

Follow the link below to learn all about the Conservancy’s work over the summer and fall. You’ll find information about recent scout projects, invasives clearing updates, and a tribute to two of our founding members, June Delano and Katie Anderson.

Thanks to our President Thomas Schevtchuk for putting it all together. 


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Wild Edibles hike with Adam Haritan

The Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy is sponsoring a second free nature program “”Spring Foraging For Wild Edible Plants & Mushrooms” on Saturday, June 11th from 1-3 pm.  Space is limited, please register with Chris Phillips at or 412-341-7307.  Participants should meet at the gravel parking lot on Beadling Road.

Description:  Mt. Lebanon is home to countless plant and mushroom species — many of them edible and medicinal.  Join Adam Haritan from and for an interpretive walk through Bird Park where you will learn wild plant and mushroom identification, nutritional benefits of wild foods, harvesting methods, drying and storing methods, medicine making, and much more.  If you are looking to deepen the connection between you and your land, this is a program you do not want to miss!  This interpretive walk will entail light hiking.  Recommended items to bring include water, camera, pen, and notepad.


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Autumn 2015 Newsletter

Follow this link for an update on the activities of the Conservancy in 2015. It’s been a busy year!

MLNC Sept 2015 Newsletter Web s

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Goats At Work!

imageimageHere is an article by The Almanac’s Harry Funk, about our invasive plants removal efforts using goats from Steel City Grazers. The goats will be in Bird Park until Sept. 26th, eating their way through vegetation that is preventing the woodland from renewing itself. After this is complete, members of the Conservancy will return to the area to remove remaining invasive species, and replant with native trees and seed the area with native grasses and wildflowers.

Photos by Chris Gregory Phillips


By Harry Funk

When it comes to animals eating plants in Mt. Lebanon, some are welcome guests.

They’re the nine goats plus one miniature donkey with a temporary home in Bird Park, helping to rid it of invasive species of plants.

“Wherever we bring them, they adapt very quickly,” Doug Placais said. “Their love in life is eating, so they’re well-suited to the task.”

He and his wife, Carrie Pavlik, recently formed a business called Steel City Grazers, which provides animals as an alternative to weed whackers.

“We’re sort of like an eco-friendly landscaping operation,” Placais explained. “Homeowners or businesses or nonprofits can bring us in, and we’ll set up a perimeter of fencing and bring our goats to eat invasive species, weeds, anything unwanted.”

That includes poison ivy, to which goats are impervious, but members of the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy are not.

The nonprofit organization has been working with the municipal public works department on a program to clear invasive species out of local parks. That often involves volunteers pulling weeds by hand, a process that can take a lot of time, effort and potential exposure to urushiol, the substance that makes poison plants the bane of gardeners.

“Goats are great at that,” nature conservancy board member Janice Seigle said as she surveyed the animals work Monday. “They’ve really done a job on it, in just a few days.”

Wimpy, Favorite and the other goats – along with Hobo, the donkey – arrived Saturday at the behest of the nature conservancy.

“We like the eco-friendly, no-fuss option the grazing offers, and we’re hopeful this is a viable solution to a serious problem in our natural parks,” Tom Schevtchuk, the organization’s president, said.

The animals are contained by an electric fence, set up by Steel City Grazers, that is powered by an equally environmentally-friendly solar panel.

The idea for Steel City Grazers came from Pavlik’s Peace Corps stint in Zambia.

“Farming is a way of life there, and everybody has chickens and goats,” Placais said.

The Pittsburgh couple picked up on the concept when they returned home.

“After we got our two milk goats, people started jokingly asking, ‘I hear goats can eat poison ivy. Can you come and clear our backyard?’” Placais recalled. “We thought it was kind of an interesting concept, and we’d heard about it in California, they use it a lot to clear fire breaks and that sort of thing.”

Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy members heard about Steel City Grazers and invited the goats to gobble up unwanted vegetation.

“They’ll just come in and eat all that up,” Placais said. “And then, hopefully, they can do a native planting and wildflower blend that will shade out the weeds next year.”
Harry Funk
Multimedia reporter
Harry Funk has been a professional journalist in Western Pennsylvania for 30 years, working primarily for community-oriented newspapers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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Bird Park Restoration Underway

The restoration of the upper, eastern area of Bird Park has been underway since late July. Members of the Conservancy and Parks Advisory Board spent several days hand-cutting invasive honeysuckle bushes from slopes and areas that could not be reached by machine. These shrubs create a dense area of shade which allows very little to grow beneath them.

The work took a dramatic step forward recently when specialists from Eichenlaub Landscaping cleared a large area of invasive shrubs and vines with a forestry mulcher. As one can see by the photos, tree growth in this area has been severely restricted for many years because the shrubs and vines had created such a dense layer at the ground level. With the space now open, members of the Conservancy and the Parks Advisory Board will be seeding the area with native plants in a meadow mix, and planting several dozen new trees this fall.We will also be monitoring the area over the next several years to prevent the re-introduction of invasive species.

Jonathan Farrell has taken the lead on coordinating this project. Thank you to Tom Schevtchuk, Allison McGee, Angie Phares, John Franz, Ashley Setcavage and Ron Block for help with hand-cutting.

Thanks also to the Mt. Lebanon Commissioners, the Mt. Lebanon Public Works Department, the Mt. Lebanon Parks Advisory Board, and Eichenlaub Landscaping for support and assistance.

If you would like to help with trail reconstruction or tree planting this fall or next spring, contact us at, or Jonathan Farrell at 412-400-8755.


Here you can see an uncleared area next to the work area. The smothering effect of the invasive shrubs and over-running vines is clearly evident in this photo. Conservancy members will now work their way into these bordering areas by hand over the next few years to clear them of invasive plants and replant with native trees.

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Bird Park Restoration Planned for Summer 2015

Reprinted from Mt. Lebanon Magazine June 22, 2015

BIRD PARK RESTORATION The eastern half of Bird Park will undergo a much-needed restoration this summer. The dense thickets between the soccer field and Washington Road will be cleared of invasive honeysuckles and vines through a joint effort of the Parks Advisory Board, the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy and the public works department.

Invasive plants can quickly take over an area, killing native trees. The proliferation of invasives was cited as a significant concern in the 2004 Mt. Lebanon Parks Master Plan, and the conservancy has been working to remove the invasives over the years. This summer’s work is targeting the densest areas of invasive shrubs and vines so that new native tree plantings can establish a self-sustaining woodland such as the one in the western half of the park.

The restoration plan consists of clearing shrubs and vines using a small motorized forestry mulcher within four acres of eastern Bird Park, and selective hand-cutting of an additional three acres along the edges of the park. Existing trees will be preserved. Because of their aggressive growth, the stumps of the shrubs that are cut must be painted with a low-toxicity, non-persistent herbicide to prevent re-growth.

Shrub clearing and stump treatment is anticipated to begin in July, and will be completed by August. During clearing, access to active work areas will be restricted and signage will be posted. The project is not anticipated to conflict with the use of John Doctor Field or public roadways. Tree plantings and re-seeding is planned to be completed in October.

Volunteers will be needed for both clearing and restoration activities—if interested, please call Jonathan Farrell at 412-400-8755 or contact the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy at

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