USC Citizens for Land Stewardship
Conservation and stewardship of land and natural resources in Upper St. Clair, PA

2001 Governor's Award for Watershed Stewardship
2002 Enviro Star Award



The USC Citizens for Land Stewardship (USC CLS) would like to welcome you to our website. We are a community conservation organization serving Upper St.Clair, PA.  Here you will find information about local conservation happenings and issues. As an organization, we are committed to promoting
  • education on environmental issues

  • prudent and ethical land use policies to protect and enhance natural resources

  • awareness of the value of our natural landscapes

  • recognition of the enjoyment and benefits of natural spaces within our community

  • activities that promote harmony between people and nature

  • watershed restoration and re-introduction of native plant species

CLS also offers a variety of outdoor activities in celebration of our area's wonderful natural spaces throughout the year. Be sure to check this page often for news of what is happening or coming up in the natural world of USC!

Christmas Bird Count 2015:

19,838 individual birds were counted! The count has been compiled and sent via the Audubon site for the 2015 CBC. It was another successful USCCLS sponsored bird count! 

Coming Events:

Edible Food Hike
USC CLS is co-sponsoring with the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy an Edible Food Hike. This is a free nature program "Spring Foraging For Wild Edible Plants & Mushrooms" on Saturday, June 11th from 1 – 3pm.  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.

Goats at work in Mt. Lebanon
The Steel City Grazers (goats and one donkey who stands guard duty) are once again hard at work clearing invasive plants and other undesirable stuff from Bird Park.  Work starts on April 26th and will last for three weeks.  If you want to see goat power in action, park in the gravel parking lot along Beadling Road in Mt. Lebanon. The sound of chomping will lead you to the goats.

Current Issues:

Strip Mining

All Bets are off.  Mayview State Hospital property may yet be strip mined and drilled

 Based on information presented at a recent South Fayette Township Board of Commissioners meeting, a letter regarding the potential development of the former hospital property as a mixed use residential development was presented to the Commissioners. The developer, Charter Homes and Neighborhoods, has dropped the project and withdrawn its negotiations with the Township. The reason given was “the land owner believes the election results in November may provide an opportunity to overturn the recently passed drilling ordinance, and as a result, drill on the site in the future rather than sell to property..”  Click here for the complete letter. Industrial development of the Mayview State Hospital property poses a real threat to the quality of life in Upper St. Clair and to all the environmental and recreational improvements that have been made to Boyce Mayview Park.  Since the property is in South Fayette Township, Upper St. Clair citizens have little voice in how South Fayette develops the land.  Stay tuned.

Light Pollution

Boyce Mayview Park has become one of the most successful stories of conservation in Upper St. Clair, as well as a fantastic resource for our community with the Community and Recreation Center, many hiking trails, and The Outdoor Classroom. USC CLS is proud to have been a voice in the process that has allowed the Master Plan to come to life on the 450 acre site. However, while the development of the site into an accessible and popular park has been inspiring, it is important to consider the effects that any development have on the natural spaces nearby. One of the main issues that comes into play with any developed space is light pollution. As of July 1, 2013, Upper St. Clair Township has approved temporary lighting for the ball fields at Boyce Mayview Park, including the Miracle Field.

USC CLS understands the appeal of lighting the fields for evening ball games with bright, stadium-style lighting in the park. However, USC CLS is hoping to eliminate any unnecessary use of these lights in order to minimize the effects that light pollution will have on not only the habitats in Boyce Mayview Park, but also the wildlife and people living in surrounding areas.

What is light pollution and why is it a concern? Light pollution can be described as the often disruptive impact of artificial light on both the darkness of the night sky and the light-related biological rhythms of life in the lighted area. As stated in a 2008 National Geographic report on light pollution, “Ill-designed lighting washes out the darkness of night and radically alters the light levels—and light rhythms—to which many forms of life, including ourselves, have adapted. Wherever human light spills into the natural world, some aspect of life—migration, reproduction, feeding—is affected.” You are likely already familiar with the effects of light pollution if you have ever compared the view of the night sky in a city to a rural area. However, the effects of light pollution are not limited to cities; the type of lighting proposed for the athletic fields at Boyce Mayview Park would bring the same negative outcomes of light pollution to the surrounding areas in USC. We are calling for a sensible plan for the management of these lights, including exploring options such as timers and pay per use similar to the successful setup of the township tennis bubbles.

Below are some useful links to learn more about light pollution, including the website of the International Dark Sky Association.

Looking to get involved? Volunteer with us!

There are many volunteer opportunities with USC CLS.  Are you a student  in need of service hours? Are you retired and looking for a way to stay active and involved in the community? Do you have special skills that you could use to assist a small community group? Do you simply love the great outdoors? No matter what your interests, USC CLS can use your help! We are a friendly, passionate community and would love to have you on board. Please contact us at for more information.

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