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



  

Welcome!

USC Citizens for Land Stewardship (USC CLS) is a community conservation organization serving Upper St.Clair, PA.
Here you will find information about local conservation happenings and issues. 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!

Join us for two outdoor experiences in April and one in May


Spring_postard_2018_1

iNaturalist is a free application for Smart phones that was developed by the California Academy of Sciences.  There is no cost to download the application or to use it.  iNaturalist puts nature at your fingertips.  Whenever you want to record something you see in nature, you can open iNaturalist, use your phone's camera to take a picture of what you see and use the built-in references to help you identify it. iNaturalist automatically records your geographical position, the date and the time of your observation. These are saved as your observations.  There is more.  If you are participating in an organized group effort to identify objects in our environment such as a BioBlitz, you simply add yourself to an ongoing project and your observations are included in the cloud-based data for the project.

When using new applications for your Smart phone, we all benefit from having some experienced person help us set up the application and show us how to use it.  Once installed, it is very helpful to have a chance to practice and compare results with others.  Your friends at USC CLS want you to celebrate Earth Day with training and practice and great pizza and good company plus iNaturalist experience so that you can come back the next weekend really prepared to enjoy the City Nature Challenge and help us identify more species than any other city.  
For more information, click
iNaturalist logo


Spring postcard 2

USC CLS is representing Upper St. Clair as part of the Pittsburgh Region.
Help us show the world how biodiverse our home region is by making as many observations of as many species as possible April 27-30!  
Over 60 cities on six continents are asking residents of and visitors to these urban areas to explore nature all around them and document the species they find .  See the panel on the left for more details.


USCCLS Schedule of Events

  • Friday April 27 2-4 PM Meet at Boyce Mayview Park, Southwest Entrance, Boyce Road, near Ardolino's Pizza

  • Saturday, April 28 2-4 PM Meet in lower parking lot, Wingfield Pines Conservation Area, Mayview Road

  • Sunday, April 29 12:30 - 3:30 PM Meet in lower parking lot, Wingfield Pines Conservation Area, Mayview Road

  • Monday, April 30 2-4 PM Meet at Boyce Mayview Park Pavillion, Mayview Road

For more information at the Pittsburgh Region participation, click City Nature Challenge - Pittsburgh Region

To see the names of the cities who are our competition, click Participating Cities in the challenge

Using iNaturalst, your observations will be uploaded and added to a database of all our observations.  Experts will look at each of your observations and identify them.  Each identified observation is then uploaded to the project record for you to see either on your Smart phone or your computer.  

If you would like to see what a project record looks like, you can see the results of our Bioblitz project from last year.  Click Chartiers Creek Bioblitz 2017




  

 Spring Migratory Bird Count - Saturday May 12, 2018Orchard Oriole



Join in the fun of spotting and identifying birds as they pass through our region as part of the annual Migratory Bird Count.  The count takes place on Saturday, May 12th.  Experience and expertise is not required.  There will be experienced people in the various groups who will help you learn.  The count is in Boyce Mayview Park and groups meet and leave at various times throughout the day.

Contact Nancy Page for more information about starting times and where to meet. Phone: 412-221-4795.  Email: nanpaul@verizon.net

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


Current Issues: 

Strip Mining - The Risk is Past

Mayview State Hospital property will be developed without mining

South Fayette Township is working with Charter Homes & Neighborhoods of Lancaster to create a new development to be called Hastings.  The first phase will consist of 44 single-family homes, 49 townhouses and 260 apartments along with a restaurant, pool, clubhouse and day-care center.  Upper St. Clair Township is working with the developer to provide a connecting trail across or around this property so that the Boyce Mayview Park Perimeter Trail can connect to a proposed connection to the Montour Trail which is south of the site.

The developer does not plan to either strip mine or conduct fracking on the site.  USC CLS actively encouraged the South Fayette Planning Commission not to approve a zoning change which would have enabled the site to be strip mined before developed for longer term uses.  We are pleased that this is not going to happen.  We will be following the project as it develops and encourage responsible land use practices when appropriate..

light pollution

Light Polution

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.

http://www.darksky.org/

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/Downloads/Athletic_Field_Lighting_draft0710.pdf
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/darkness-natural-resource-and-were-losing-it.html

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 usccls@usccls.org for more information.

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