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Citizens Against Litter

September 2012 Newslitter

In this newsletter: Our mission; "Good citizen"; Art Festival and litter come together; Community Conversation Sept. 6; Fall Redd Up Oct. 19, 20, 21; Monaca has its act together; Starting a community garden; Thirsty trees; September call out; Paddling Without Pollution; Adopt a Redd Up Zone ; Zones by the numbers; 5 more zones adopted; Litter's serious business in Brookline; Stamp out mail box graffiti; "I Litter" awards; Garbagevilles; Important phone numbers; Next to last word; The last word

Our mission

Our mission is to inspire people throughout the city and region to collect litter and connect neighborhood.

"Good citizen"

Mr. Litterman was bending and picking up litter last week as he walked from his home to the mail box. A cyclist, whizzing by, made him feel pretty good. "Good citizen", he shouted above the street noises. Now that's a great compliment. That's what Citizens Against Litter is about: Hoping pedestrians pick up other people's litter everyday. Eventually we can rid our streets and sidewalks of lots of litter by 1) not littering ourselves and 2) picking up other people's litter. Mr. Litterman suggests changing this definition slightly. A "good citizen" is someone who votes, pays taxes, doesn't cheat on taxes and contributes to public housecleaning (rather than just talking about it).

Art Festival and litter come together

With the Walnut Street Art Festival as a backdrop, 30 students from Chatham University launched their school term last Saturday with a day of community service on the other streets of Shadyside, painting a pretty picture if you ask me. They did their best turning litter into glitter in five areas in the heart of Shadyside and on Ellsworth and Centre. Our thanks to them.

Community Conversation Sept. 6

Clean Pittsburgh Commission's Community Conversation is Thursday, Sept. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the CCI Center, 14th and Sarah Sts., South Side. Neighborhood Clean Pittsburgh Stewards and others are invited to attend this open meeting. It's an opportunity to tell commission members how they can do their job and serve neighborhoods better. Speakers will talk about the city's litter prevention initiatives, the Redd Up Zone adoption program, the Mayor's Neighborhood Initiative' programs and Keep America Beautiful programs and resources. A backpack leaf blower will be raffled off. Contact Sarah Shea at 412-488-7490, ext. 236 or e-mail

Fall Redd Up Oct. 19, 20, 21

Neighborhoods and groups are signing up for the Fall Redd Up weekend Oct. 19, 20 and 21. (Stash the Trash Day for public, private and parochial schools is Friday; Pitt Make a Difference Day and Panther Hollow Extravaganza are Saturday.)

Participating in Pittsburgh: Allegheny CleanWays, Allegheny West, Allentown, Banksville, Banksville Road, Beechview, Bloomfield, Bon Air, Brightwood, Brighton Heights, Brookline, California-Kirkbride, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carrick, Central Northside, Chartiers, Crafton Heights, Downtown Pittsburgh, Duquesne Heights, Jail Trail, East Allegheny, East Carnegie, East Liberty, East Hills, Elliott, Fineview, Friendship, Garfield, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, Hazelwood, Highland Park, Homewood, Larimer, Lawrenceville, Lincoln-Lemington, Lincoln Place, Lower Hill, New Homestead, Manchester, Mexican War Streets, Middle Hill, Morningside, Mount Washington, Mount Oliver, Oakland, Observatory Hill, PA. Resources Council, Perry Hilltop, Phipps Conservancy, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Polish Hill, Ridgemont, Schenley Heights, Shadyside, Sheraden, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, South Oakland, Spring Garden, Spring Hill, Squirrel Hill, St. Clair, Stanton Heights, Strip District, Summer Hill, Tree Pittsburgh, Troy Hill, Uptown, West End, Westwood and Windgap.

In Allegheny County: Brentwood, Carnegie, Dormont, Etna, Heidelberg, McKees Rocks, North Versailles, Penn Hills, Shady Side Academy, Sharpsburg, South Park, Stowe and Wilkinsburg.

In Beaver County: Aliquippa, Beaver, Chippewa and Monaca.

Neighborhood groups and individuals should contact Citizens Against Litter's or 412-688-9120 to participate.

Monaca has its act together

Patricia Majors of Monaca Volunteer Community Outreach writes in:

"Monaca (Beaver County) has an ongoing cleanup project from early spring into late fall. I am chairing a volunteer outreach that does plantings, weeding, clean up, weed-whacking, etc., and have just expanded our program utilizing help through the juvenile probation office and Adelphi in Beaver County. We are currently in the process of clearing brush and litter from four gateway entrances into our community. Monaca just completed its first riverfront clean up of private riverfront property at the end of June, and we also maintain the floral islands in our core business district, the riverfront park, the Baker-Baldwin Cemetery, borough parking lots and the George Washington Plaza. With the kids beginning school, the maintenance of all of the aforementioned projects will continue through late Fall through after-school community service and volunteer hours. Thanks again for inviting us to join the area-wide Fall Redd Up."

Thirsty trees

With the many new trees planted in the Allegheny Commons this past spring and the drought that occurred earlier this summer, the watering of this new vegetation is extremely important. Neglecting to properly water trees can have severe consequences such as premature leaf fall and coloration, as well as stunted growth, and in some cases, the death of trees. To help assist in the preservation of these newly planted trees, the Allegheny Commons Initiative has teamed up with Tree Pittsburgh and contracted a field crew team who does watering on a regular basis. This field crew is part of Tree Pittsburgh's Stewardship Program, which focuses on maintaining Pittsburgh's urban forest. On average the field crew waters the Commons once a week and it generally takes the entire day to cover all of the newly planted trees in the park.

Here are a few tips to follow when watering your own trees:

How: The best technique for watering newly planted trees is to use a five-gallon bucket or bag around the base of the tree with small holes poked in the bottom. When filled the buckets and bags are equivalent to the trees receiving one inch of rainfall. This is similar to the mechanism employed by Tree Pittsburgh. Younger trees need more care when it comes to watering, but a general rule of thumb is that a tree needs one to three inches of water per week to stay healthy, newer trees being on the upper end of that estimate.

Where: It is important especially with new trees that the water is concentrated over the root ball, in other words where the main mass of roots at the base of the tree are. This is done to insure healthy and continual growth. For more established trees, you should water no closer than three feet to the trunk of the tree and the water area should cover underneath the stretch of the foliage; using a hose system is more appropriate for older trees.

When: The best time to water your trees is at night, because less water evaporation occurs in the evening compared to the middle of the day when the sun is overhead.

Helpful Tip: Planting a tree pit garden to surround your tree is a great idea and encourages watering.

Starting a Community Garden

The following 10-steps are adapted from the American Community Garden Association's guidelines for launching a successful community garden in your neighborhood. More and more city neighborhoods and starting community gardens. The following should help newcomers.


Determine whether a garden is really needed and wanted, what kind it should be (vegetable, flower, both, organic?), whom it will involve and who benefits. Invite neighbors, tenants, community organizations, gardening and horticultural societies, building superintendents (if it is at an apartment building) -- in other words, anyone who is likely to be interested.


This group can be comprised of people who feel committed to the creation of the garden and have the time to devote to it, at least at this initial stage. Choose well-organized persons as garden coordinators. Form committees to tackle specific tasks: funding and partnerships, youth activities, construction and communication.


Do a community asset assessment. What skills and resources already exist in the community that can aid in the garden's creation? Contact local municipal planners about possible sites, as well as horticultural societies and other local sources of information and assistance. Look within your community for people with experience in landscaping and gardening.


Some gardens "self-support" through membership dues, but for many, a sponsor is essential for donations of tools, seeds or money. Churches, schools, private businesses or parks and recreation departments are all possible supporters. One garden raised money by selling "square inches" at $5 each to hundreds of sponsors.


Consider the amount of daily sunshine (vegetables need at least six hours a day), availability of water, and soil testing for possible pollutants. Find out who owns the land. Can the gardeners get a lease agreement for at least three years? Will public liability insurance be necessary?


In most cases, the land will need considerable preparation for planting. Organize volunteer work crews to clean it, gather materials and decide on the design and plot arrangement.


Members must decide how many plots are available and how they will be assigned. Allow space for storing tools, making compost, and don't forget the pathways between plots! Plant flowers or shrubs around the garden's edges to promote good will with non-gardening neighbors, passersby and municipal authorities.


Consider creating a special garden just for kids -- including them is essential. Children are not as interested in the size of the harvest but rather in the process of gardening. A separate area set aside for them allows them to explore the garden at their own speed.


The gardeners themselves devise the best ground rules. We are more willing to comply with rules that we have had a hand in creating. Ground rules help gardeners to know what is expected of them. Think of it as a code of behavior. Some examples of issues that are best dealt with by agreed upon rules are: dues, how will the money be used? How are plots assigned? Will gardeners share tools, meet regularly, handle basic maintenance?


Good communication ensures a strong community garden with active participation by all. Some ways to do this are: form a telephone tree, create an email list; install a rainproof bulletin board in the garden; have regular celebrations. Community gardens are all about creating and strengthening communities

September call out

Allegheny Aquatic Alliance will clean 10 miles of Connoquenessing Creek in Butler County on Saturday, Sept. 22. Contact Christina Handley at 724-371-0416 or Also, Allegheny CleanWays' next Tireless Project will be Saturday, Sept. 15 at Riverfront Dr. in Millvale. Contact 412-381-1301 or

Paddle Without Pollution

Kayakers and canoeists are invited to join Paddle Without Pollution ( in September for these watershed stewardship events:

Register at

Adopt a Redd Up Zone

Don't sit on the sidelines. Businesses, corporations and groups are invited to adopt their own Pittsburgh street or zone and agree to pick up litter at least four times a year for two years. Visit for information and an application form.

Zones by the numbers

5 more zones adopted

Melanie Pfeiffenberger, Redd Up Zone coordinator for servePgh, announced five more adopters. Clean Green Hill adopted a zone in Schenley Heights along Clarissa St. and Camp St. Pitt Pathfinders accepted responsibility for litter removal and control along Bigelow Blvd. from Schenley Plaza to North Craig St. In Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh Arsenal 6-8 teachers and students have adopted 39th St. and 40th St. around Butler St. In Oakland, Pitt fraternity Phi Delta Theta is adopting Atwood St. from Fifth Ave to Dawson St. On the Northside, Pittsburgh King Pre-K is adopting area around the school, including Cedar Blvd., East Ohio St., North Commons and Montgomery Place. Thanks to all for committing to clean these areas at least four times a year for two years.

Litter's serious business in Brookline

Here's why Mr. Litterman thinks so. Pamela Grabowski writes in the Brookline newsletter:

"If you find a particularly appalling mess, contact us. We will try to find a way to get it cleaned up. Keep in touch with us. Give us your weekly bag count. We will be waiting to hear which block you are adopting so e-mail us at and put Adopt a Block in the subject line, call us at 412-343-2859, or write to us at The Brookline, P.O. Box 96136, Pittsburgh, PA 15226"

Brookline adopted blocks and reports:

Stamp out mailbox graffiti

Pittsburgh Postmaster Joseph Meimann urges citizens to be proactive and call the Postal Service directly at 412-359-7845 to report mailbox tagging or boxes in need of repair. Help the postal service by giving them specific information of locations and crossing streets.

"I Litter" awards

Advertising and promotional materials turn into litter in Shadyside and elsewhere. Businesses and sometimes non-profits are often responsible when they put their business on Shadyside streets. August's list is short: Post-Gazette's Sunday Extra, White House/Black Market, and Vocelli Pizza.


Garbagevilles are houses, buildings, streets and places that are a mess. Some because of litter; some because of unswept leaves; some because of trash and junk on their property. Some because garbage cans sit in the front of their houses. Many because of the absence of lids on garbage cans and open waste containers. Some of these Shadyside Garbagevilles are always a mess. This is an incomplete list of course.

Important phone numbers

Need to contact the city about something that's been bothering you, like potholes and graffiti? Call the 311 Response line (alternate number is 412-255-2621). Your request will be logged and sent to the proper department. Want to contact someone directly? The following list may help.

Next to last word

There's enough litter for all of us to pick up.

The last word

Remember. Rome wasn't redd up in a day either.

Recent Litter-ature

A complete list of past Litterature is available in our archives.

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