Winter Walk with Adam Haritan Dec 3, 2017

Wild foods and foraging expert Adam Haritan will be leading a Winter Walk for Edible and Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms in Bird Park on Sunday Dec 3, 2017 from 1-3 PM.

Not all plants have called it quits for the year. Take a walk with Adam Haritan from to discover which species are still hanging around Bird Park in December. We’ll search for edible plants, tasty mushrooms, interesting trees, and perhaps a few toxic species that are best left in the wild.

Hosted by the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy. Pre-registration is required. $15 per person, free to members of the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy. Please contact Chris Phillips at or 412-341-7307 to reserve a spot.

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Annual Meeting to feature Adam Haritan

The Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy will be holding its Annual Meeting on Nov. 5th, 2017 at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, from 2-4 PM.

The featured speaker will be Adam Haritan, wild food enthusiast, forager, and founder of Learn Your Land. Mr. Haritan will be discussing late autumn foraging for edible wild plants and mushrooms, as well as preparation methods and nutritional benefits. Refreshments will be served. This event is sponsored by the MLNC and is open and free to the public. We hope to see you there!

Learn more about Adam Haritan at and

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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.

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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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