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Rivers of Steel will host Women's History Month programs


February 27, 2018

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Rivers of Steel will host two panel discussions, occurring on March 13 and 27 at The Brew House on South Side.

The Tuesday evening events will explore various ways in which contemporary women have found inspiration from their relationships with the outdoors – and from the pioneering women who preceded them. With discussion topics designed to highlight both the commonalities and the unique aspects of the panelists’ wide-ranging experiences, audience members will be encouraged to contribute to the conversation.

“From its earliest days, Rivers of Steel has worked to enhance outdoor recreational spaces throughout our National Heritage Area,” said Brianna Horan, manager of tourism and visitor experience, “contributing to the restoration of natural areas previously impacted by industry, and helping individuals to rediscover the wonder of the outdoors.”

“These women are truly inspirational,” she continued. “It’s delightful to be able to offer our guests – both women and men – the opportunity to connect with the dynamic experiences of each panelist, while sharing unique, personal tales of their own adventures outdoors.”

The March 13 program, Opening Doors to the Outdoors, explores the historic legacy of women advocating on behalf of the environment and park spaces, as well as current day efforts to protect and connect with natural areas.

The March 27 event, How Getting Outside Changed My Life, features storytelling and examines the ways in which spending time outdoors has enhanced the lives of five women. Attendees at this program have the opportunity to record their own oral histories, sharing the impact the outdoors has had on their lives. Interviews will be housed in the Rivers of Steel archives.

Both events are free and open to the public. They will be held at The Brew House, 711 S. 21st Street, from 7-9 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. Street parking and bike racks are available.

Program descriptions and panelist information follows:

Opening Doors to the Outdoors: A Legacy of Advocacy and Play, March 13, 7-9 p.m. at The Brew House, 711 S. 21st Street, South Side.

Come in celebrating pioneering women – from the trailblazers who were early advocates for natural spaces and environmental protections to the women of today who carry on their legacy.

Panelists will consider the impact of regional icon Rachel Carson on the environmental movement, the appreciation of nature as a response to industrialization, the land grants by society women that formed Frick and Schenley Parks, and how author Annie Dillard’s childhood play in Pittsburgh’s East End may have influenced her groundbreaking work, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, among others considerations.

Inspired by the legacies of women who have opened doors to the outdoors, our panelists represent the women of today – advocates and scientists, academics and athletes, executives and volunteers – all inspired to improve the quality of life in our region and make it possible for us to continue to enjoy our natural places.

Scheduled to attend are:

• Karen Abrams, program officer, Equitable Development at The Heinz Endowments

• Lisa Brown, executive director of both the Saw Mill Run and Streets Run Watershed Associations

• Sabina Deitrick, associate professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and co-director of Urban and Regional Analysis, University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh

• Jane Menchyk, land protection manager at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

• Joey-Linn Ulrich, executive director of Venture Outdoors

How Getting Outside Changed My Life: An Intimate Conversation, March 27, 7-9 p.m. at The Brew House, 711 S. 21st Street, South Side.

Join in an evening with women who credit trails and time spent outside with transforming their lives. More conversation than presentation, the program features stories of women whose experiences highlight the aspirational and the accessible capacity of trails to enhance our quality of life. From traveling great distances and building communities around shared passions to advocating for accessibility for all, these women’s journeys reveal the power of making personal connections to the natural world.

Scheduled to attend are:

Jayne Miller, president and CEO of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, an active cyclist and hiker and recent transplant from Minneapolis

Kerry Gross, who biked across the country in 2017, interviewing women along the way and now produces the Women Who Dare podcast

Lucia M. Aguirre, a.k.a. “Bikeygirl,” a renaissance woman who serves as president of the cycling advocacy group 412 Flock! and credits riding a bicycle to improving and changing her life. 

Valerie Beichner, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, who did a 335-mile family relay run on from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. in 2016

Heather McClain, a resident of Beechview who connects with nature and the urban forest in small but meaningful ways in her daily life and serves as a board member for Pretty Up Beechview.

Both programs will be held at The Brew House at 711 S. 21st Street in South Side, and will be emceed by Amy Camp of Cycle Forward. The events are open to all ages and genders. Doors will open at 7 p.m., with the panel discussions beginning at 7:30. Attendees are invited to view the current gallery exhibit before the program begins. Light refreshments will be provided. Street parking and bike racks are available.

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, the Heritage Areas Program under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

For more information on the series, visit or contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 43 or by emailing


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