Our vision is a world where people value connections with each other and nature and human life contributes to the life of the planet. 

Contemplating Time & Space in the Elizabeth Meadows
Where once there were crops grown and then a fallow field, there will now be an ecovillage! 

Over the last 3 years I’ve traversed much of the acreage that comprises the Eden Hall Campus – I’ve meandered lazily on the trails, picnicked in Elsalma Fields, communed with goats and chickens, dozed in the apple orchard, modeled for an artist project in the Elizabeth Meadows and poked around in most of the buildings that can be poked around in.  While there’s still much more to explore and be a part of, I’ve always found myself drawn back to the meadows, especially the part that has a wide swath of path at its highest point where I’ve envisioned large gatherings of neighbors, friends, students and anyone else who would want to lose themselves in the beauty that is the former home of the Monongahelan culture of the Iroquoian Native American cultural manifestation of the Late Woodland peoples (from AD 1050 to 1635.)  

That the land has seen many changes over hundreds of years and plenty of folks have come and gone doing all manner of business, it’s a wonder how it retains the stillness and buzzing of life and story all around its trees, flowers natives and invasives, for it is very much the flora and fauna that make a place what it is…though it is also true that animals like us have affected what has taken place, evolutionarily speaking, to change so much of the natural landscape all across the country.  

One aspect of the the Rachel Carson EcoVillage that I highly value is that the work in the meadows that’s coming from the construction of our homes is  part of the vision that Chatham University has for the campus to be a model for how we can all live more sustainably, and we are already stewarding the land by clearing invasives and planting trees and listening to what it seems the space is asking for in terms of nurturance. There is much still to learn, and as our community grows we have more and more opportunities to hear what will sustain our livelihood as well as the land around us.   

Are you dreaming of belonging to a community like RCE? Learn more about us at one of our introductory sessions this month on Tuesday evening’s (12th & 26th) from 5:30-7pm or on Saturday the 23rd from 10:30-Noon EDT. Email RCEIntro@gmail.com OR Text 412-573-1927 to register for your zoom link and find out how fulfilling and fun life at RCE will be.  

Spotlight on the Spotted Lantern Fly

Image credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org

You’re likely aware that, through our Eco-Resources group, we have organized several volunteer sessions for managing and minimizing invasive plants that threaten native and newly-planted trees and other plants in our future ecovillage location. While these invasives, including Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, autumn olive, privet, and wild grapevines have been the focus of much of our land management so far, a non-native insect has recently come to our attention in western Pennsylvania.

The spotted lanternfly, native to Asia, was first found in North America in Pennsylvania in 2014. It has since spread to 51 of the state’s 67 counties, as well as 13 other states. We now are noticing them in large numbers in the city of Pittsburgh, and a few have been seen on Eden Hall campus. As with other invasive insect pests, such as the spongy moth, brown marmorated stinkbug, and hemlock wooly adelgid, without native predators to control them, populations of these insects can increase quickly, and become a threat to native plants and animals.  The spotted lanternfly has the potential to adversely affect important agricultural and timber products including apples, grapes, hops, and maple or other hardwood trees.

To raise awareness of our members and to avoid further spreading these insects through our travels and visits to and from other locations, we encourage you to learn from the following resources what they are, what makes them problematic, and what we can do to slow their spread and possibly minimize damage. 

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (with state-specific info)
Penn State Extension
Recent locally-specific articles in Pittsburgh’s TribLive:
-Courtesy of Founding Member Becky Lubold 

Speaking of Invasives….

The folks over at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy have been busy assembling a new 90 page guide for residents to familiarize themselves with the sometimes beautifully named, though nevertheless detrimental, plants to keep an eye out for when navigating the city or even just their own backyards.  34 of the most irksome shrubs, trees, herbs and vines that the conservancy has been tackling removing can now also be yours to try and eliminate!

The guide also features tips for identifying species, helpful images of each plant, and of course, instructions on how to manage everything from tree of heaven (a popular host for the spotted lantern fly!) to porcelain berry and mugwort.  Check it out here. 

-Thanks to Laurie E. for apprising us of the guide 

Pets Allowed?

Photo by Robin Siegel of The New Yorker

Things are looking up for other living creatures in the world….or are they? I recently came across a 2014 article from The New Yorker about animals showing up in all kinds of places where (the author at least thinks) they shouldn’t be. *Warning: You may find yourself laughing uproariously at some of the writing (and if you’re not a subscriber to The New Yorker and have reached your limit of free articles won’t be able to access it). 

I will say that while I do support service animals for individuals with needs that make it such that additional support in the form (usually a dog) of an animal is warranted, I did seriously consider the points raised by Ms. Marx in her account of traveling to all kinds of places (and with everything from a pig to a turkey and snake to a turtle) and sharing what has ultimately become a more or less welcoming landscape for all kinds of “emotional support animals” provided one has some kind of documentation showing the necessity of such an animal even though there’s been somewhat of a backlash from businesses and individuals that have experienced quite the opposite of emotional support when exposed to the behaviors of some of these new found mental health helpers.  

While we won’t be having any alpaca’s at RCE, you may find someone will have a turtle or other benign being to help them navigate their lives a bit more easily or, just to keep as a pet.

  In Community 

From all of us @ RCE to our new communitarians!  
Becki O. of FL, Elaine G. of SD, Helen D. of VA, and Lisa H. of NC have joined the dozens of others that are exploring all that RCE has to offer. Want to know more about some of RCE’s other members? Check out the “Meet Some of Us” page on our website.  

RCE Happy HourSeptember 3rd from 7:30 – 8:30pm EDT

Join RCE members for this month’s hosting of the happiest happy hour you’re gonna find in town (or online)…at least as far as the ecovillage circuit is concerned! David Clapp is hosting this month’s virtual happy hour and the theme is “Great Meals” so you may wanna bring your napkins as well as your drinks for this one! Register

Development Forum September 9th from 12:30 – 1:30pm EDT
Join folks from the Legal & Finance Planning Group as they provide an update on the progress of the development along with a Q&A session for anyone interested in learning more about what it means to be a Founding Member of Rachel Carson EcoVillage. Anyone is welcome to attend this session!  Register

RCE Design ReviewSeptember 9th from 1:30 – 3:00pm EDT
Come check out what the design team has been up to!

Tuesday evening RCE Introductory Meetings, September 12th & 26th from 5:30-7pm EDT  We welcome anyone who’s interested in learning about the Rachel Carson EcoVillage to join our *online* introductory session on Saturday. We will have a short illustrated talk about the ecovillage, a virtual tour of the Eden Hall campus, and discussion. We look forward to meeting you! Email RCEIntro@gmail.com OR text 412-573-1927 to register for your zoom link.  

RCE Introductory Meeting September 23rd from 10:30-12:00pm EDT We welcome anyone who’s interested in learning about the Rachel Carson EcoVillage to join our *online* introductory session on Saturday. We will have a short illustrated talk about the ecovillage, a virtual tour of the Eden Hall campus, and discussion. We look forward to meeting you! Email RCEIntro@gmail.com OR text 412-573-1927 to register for your zoom link.  

RCE Monthly Membership MeetingSeptember 23rd from 12:30 – 2pm EDT Our monthly meeting. Join us to see what progress has been made by all of the planning groups and with the organization in general.Register

Strengthening Community 

Member’s Corner – Chris & Tink

If you haven’t met these two newer member’s of RCE via our website, here’s a bit more about them!  

My name is Chris and I’ve lived in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts my whole life until recently moving to Pittsburgh to be close to RCE as it’s being built.  I am a recent founding member (as of June 2023) and I feel very excited to be part of forming/living in community at RCE!  My varied working life has included building inspection, owning a fun used bicycle shop, working at my local food co-op, and working at a nursery in a garden center.  Some things I enjoy: all things outdoors (bicycling, hiking, kayaking, and gardening), a love for all animals, art & music and the joy of cooking.      

Howdy ~ Tink here!
I appreciate: humor, being in community – was a founder of a co-housing community 30 years ago with my first husband in Western Massachusetts; we raised our now three grown children in. And, I am so excited to get back to my core root values of helping heal the planet while living in community – the only way I imagine ever feeling fully at peace since my earliest young memories. A few other of the zillion things I appreciate, aside from the occasional exaggeration: authentic meaningful relationships, metaphor, books (right now heavy into memoirs – the more traumatic, the more healing!) and Nature as my spiritual home. Some of the many things I am grateful for: cotton candy, riding carousels with my hubby (yay to finding true love 2nd time around!), spontaneous art with found nature, travel, poetry, being witness to people and animals as they transition from this life onto whatever is next. 

Labor of Love

Image courtesy of Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary

While we wait to start construction of RCE, there are other communities in PA that are decades into ongoing building projects and one of my personal favorites has been that of the stone circle one at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary in Artemis. This weekend we will be raising, by all hands present, the 29th stone to add to the North Copse section of the circle, which is providing a sanctuary within the sanctuary of the outer circle.

I’ve attended a number of events at Four Quarters over the last 15 years or so and it has become a second home for my family and I, though this will be our first time contributing to the Stones Rising 6 day retreat and it will no doubt involve some labor (but not more than 8 hours!) I’m most anticipating the sense of wonder that will be created from moving the 12′ high x 4′ wide stone with heavy ropes, rollers made from tree trunks and lots of muscle but am also excited to experience another space in our state that’s being created by one more community I’ve grown to love and consider my own. 

Other simmering deliciousness this month

Fall-Apart Caramelized Cabbage – Image courtesy of Bon Appetit

Chorizo & Eggs – Image courtesy of farmtojar.com

Brush out your cast iron skillets and make way for tasty comfort food as the nights cool off and one dish meals take front and center stage! Ok, I made both of these a couple nights ago and just had a serving for breakfast while working on this month’s newsletter and they’re both so good that I had to share. 

 *Make the Chorizo & Eggs vegetarian by swapping in some of the great alternatives to pork. If you’re using a 10″ cast iron skillet (which I would recommend) for the Fall-Apart Caramelized Cabbage add 2 c. (rather than 1.5) of water to the pan where it states to do so if you want a bit more of the delicious sauce…and if you’ve got a slightly bigger cabbage than the recipe calls for you’ll want to be sure to cut the wedges so they’re all about the same size for uniformity in the pan.  Enjoy!  

Submit all newsletter articles to: RCEnewsletter@gmail.com