Conservation internship created at Churchill Valley Greenway
Last updated 12/20/2022 at 12:02pm
Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) has announced The Mark A. MacKay Conservation Internship at Churchill Valley Greenway conservation area in Churchill and Penn Hills.
“This internship will be an excellent annual opportunity for one environmentally-focused student each year to gain hands-on experience in the conservation field through working to manage and enhance incredible green space serving the Churchill and Penn Hills communities,” ALT President & CEO Christopher Beichner said.
Each year, the ten- week MacKay Conservation Internship will provide one passionate, knowledgeable student of the environment an opportunity to work with ALT staff, partners, and volunteers at Churchill Valley Greenway to maintain and enhance the land, restore native plant and wildlife habitat, improve the visitor experience, conduct educational and scientific programming and be the daily face of ALT. The intern may also lead other special conservation related projects as deemed appropriate during their internship at the Greenway.
The internship was made possible by the MacKay family to honor their son/brother Mark, a native of Forest Hills, lifetime outdoor enthusiast and career conservationist who passed away at the age of 46 in 2017. The MacKays felt the creation of this internship would inspire others like Mark to pursue a career in conservation and natural sciences.
“We are pleased to be able to honor Mark and continue his work through this opportunity for the next generation of conservationists,” Mark’s father Neil MacKay said. “We look forward to seeing the seeds of change sown by all future individuals who take part in this internship program.”
The MacKay family was also instrumental in the original protection of the greenway by ALT in 2021 through a donation made in Mark’s honor.
“We are honored that the MacKays have chosen to remember their son through support of the greenway and the creation of such a special internship opportunity,” Mr. Beichner said.
Churchill Valley Greenway is a 151-acres conservation area spanning Beulah Road in the municipalities of Churchill and Penn Hills on the site of the former Churchill Valley Country Club. The land hosts former cart paths and community-forged trails and is adjacent to the Bullock Pens Park and Blackridge Civic Association. Abandoned for a decade, the former golf course has begun rewilding since ALT’s protection of it in 2021. The land is reverting to a natural meadow home to an impressive and growing list of native birds, animals and wildflowers.
The first MacKay Conservation Internship Program will be hired for the summer of 2023. Interested parties should keep an eye on ALT’s website for application details early in March 2023: http://www.alleghenylandtrust.org