Out & About: Land trust celebrates wide open spaces
Celebrating 10 years of conserving the county’s land, water and wildlife resources, the Westmoreland Land Trust hosted a Wide Open Spaces Party on Sept. 22 at its Hempfield headquarters.
Formed in 2008, the organization has so far conserved 274 acres in seven communities, beginning with the 59-acre Otto and Magdalene Ackermann Nature Preserve in Ardara in North Huntingdon .
The acreage also includes additions to Cedar Creek, Mammoth and Twin Lakes parks.
Party guests were invited to place stickers on a large county map in areas where they knew of more land in need of conservation.
Party guests were treated to Americana music by the NewLanders, heavy hors d’oeuvres from Elegant Catering, cupcakes from Happy Camper Cakes and beer from Rivertowne Brewery.
Board chairman Chuck Duritsa gave a short talk on the trust’s mission and a thank-you to supporters and volunteers, noting that volunteer contributions range from pulling weeds to drone video production to the offering of legal advice.
He noted that for nine years, the trust operated strictly with volunteers, but that a recent foundation grant made possible the hiring of executive director Betsy Aiken .
Guest speaker was Josh Raulerson, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
Special guests were Norbert and Joanne Ackermann , whose family donated that first parcel of land to the trust.
Seen: Greg McCloskey, Malcolm and Patty Sias, Tammy Colt, Karen Jurkovic, Bill Aiken, Susan Hunter, Arvind Paranjpe, Barbara Ferrier, Greg and Leanne Phillips, Mark and Jill Jackson, Bob and Diane Reintgen, Jim and Nancy Valley, Lauren Jones and Rob Titterington, Terry and Rhonda Pegg, Carol Demi, Ted Harhai, Jim and Marty McGuire, Brandon and Alicia Simpson, Alison Beeghly, Virginia Stump, Joe Kiray, Mark Bowers and Loree Speedy, Jay Tarara and Del and Jeanne Smith.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @shirley_trib.