Our vision is a world where people value connections with each other and nature and human life contributes to the life of the planet. 
Want to know about what RCE members are up to? Check out our blog  – there are new posts several times a month!

Welcome to February!

As I write this, it is late January and much of the Eastern and Southern US is emerging from a deep freeze. Personally, I’ve been visiting Albany, NY and had my first opportunity to shovel snow in 20 years. I enjoyed it, but true confession, it was very powdery and easy to lift.
Things are definitely not in a deep freeze with Rachel Carson EcoVillage at Providence Heights, however. Here’s a snapshot of what’s been going on and what’s ahead.  
– Judy T., Founding Member & Coordinating Newsletter Editor 

Meeting our Knoll Street Neighbors
On December 30th, the Sisters of Divine Providence hosted a meet up of 9 of our Knoll Street neighbors and about a dozen RCE members at the Kearns Conference Center. A number of Sisters also attended. Stefani did a short presentation and the neighbors had an opportunity to ask questions. They seemed curious about our plans and also offered us their advice about living in McCandless. After the formal part of the program, there was some socializing and RCE’ers got a chance to interact with neighbors in small groups. A good first step! Thanks to the Sisters for hosting us.

When the “big screen” malfunctioned, the show did go on with Stefani presenting to neighbors directly at the table! 

From all of us @ RCE to our new (and returning) communitarians! 
Rose Marie M., Cindy H., Shining L., Andy R. from PA, Maryanne (returning) & John S. from NY, MaryJo G. & Ray B. from CO 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.

Another Milestone: Planning Commission approves zoning change!

This really is cause for celebration! If you have any leftover champagne from New Years, bring it on! In case you haven’t heard, on January 3rd the McCandless Planning Commission recommended changing the zoning to residential, which is the first step in granting us permission to build our houses on the site. Now it’s on to the Town Council meeting for their approval on February 28th. Hoping we’ll have more cause for champagne after that meeting. Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, site planning continues

Our site engineers are working with us to work out technical and ecological details: foundations, stormwater collection, utilities, and so on.  We are evaluating proposals for drilling soil borings, which will tell us where we will be able to run utilities. Considerable engineering is required in order to be as unobtrusive as possible on the site!

In person visits

Memories of summer…Explorer – now founder – Beth visits Phipps Conservatory with local Founders.
Zoom is a great tool for RCE as it allows us to participate from anywhere – and our community has members from many parts of the country That being said, it’s a real treat when we do get to our out-of-town Explorers in person. We’ve had quite a few visitors these past few months and enjoyed touring the Providence Heights site, sharing meals and visiting in-town museums and parks, etc.

Out of Towners – now Phipps Conservatory comes to you!

You might have visited Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with our RCE hospitality team while visiting the Pittsburgh area. Or maybe you’ve heard about this wonderful place from others – note the happy smiles in the photo above! Here’s a chance to experience it even before you’ve taken up residence in our cohousing community.
Recently Phipps has unveiled a Virtual Membership option which will allow people who can’t come in person to enjoy the beautiful floral displays, educational events, and online classes offered by this historic landmark and model of sustainable design and practice – a city treasure, beloved by many of us “locals.”
Learn more about this membership opportunity here: https://www.phipps.conservatory.org/membership/virtual/
– by Becky Lubold, Founding Member

All roads – even genealogical ones – lead to EcoVillages
I’d like to share a discovery I made recently that relates to RCE and will hopefully result in a supportive relationship “across the pond” once I’m able to bridge some connections. Or perhaps some of you already have a connection??
The image below shows the baptism record of my great-great-great grandmother, Margaret (Gleason) Kinney, from the Parish Register held by the National Library of Ireland. Margaret was born in 1838 in Kylrea, County Tipperary, Ireland. I recently spent a few hours combing through the online copy of the book to try to find this record. All I had to go on were the names of her parents and a year of birth that family members had reported on her death certificate, which now appears to be a year off. Marriage records had long pointed to this part of Ireland as the focal point for this branch of my family tree, but I had been unsuccessful at finding any birth records until now. It’s a daunting search. You can tell it isn’t easy to read and decipher these handwritten records, whose new entries don’t even begin on new lines!

Here’s where my genealogy and RCE worlds collided. Margaret’s baptism occurred in the village of Cloughjordan, just a few miles from her family’s home. When I studied the map, my jaw dropped when I saw a place marker noting the location of the 67-acre “Cloughjordan Ecovillage” on the north side of town! A quick web search pointed me to the ecovillage’s website, which touts it as “’[t]he village with the lowest Ecological Footprint in Ireland” and, according to a 2016 ic.org article, “has been recognised as one of Europe’s most successful ‘anticipatory experiences’ showing the way to a low-carbon society.” Wow! Could I possibly have some like-minded cousins living there??
I was then thrilled to find this 20-minute YouTube documentary about the ecovillage hosted by a local television station. What I enjoyed most about it was its honest, balanced approach to sharing both the celebrations and the challenges experienced by its members. It’s easy for us to get lost in utopian visions of what it will be like to live at RCE. Stories like this one help ground us in the reality that there will always be challenges to overcome as a community. I’m so thankful for our strong foundation in sociocracy to help guide us in compassionately and creatively making tough decisions together.
I look forward to reaching out and paying a visit to the Cloughjordan EcoVillage when I have time—maybe with a stay at the hostel or completing a course on sustainability. Meanwhile, please let me know if any of you have your own connections to the ecovillage or to the area! Also, what do you think? How might these ties with other ecovillages around the world help support our RCE vision?
-by Kelly Leonard, Founding Member

First Visit to SDP Woods
(loosely based on my first visit to the Sisters of Divine Providence site in October 2023)
By Judy Trupin
brown branches snap under tan hiking boots
leaves crinkle 
our citygrown feet venture willingly
onto the uneven ground
We come upon a gray stone bench
we sit, listening to the land
gazing out at the mega-oak
resplendent with red-hot leaves
brother and sister trees surround us
some thin as my arm, others wider
than the two of us together.
Is this our home we wonder?
we stare at a gopher home
with a backdoor and a front.
We listen
the rustle of leaves in the wind
cars at a distance
children laughing somewhere beyond the next hill.
The bench is cool
I am glad for my mittens
a dog jumps up between us
seeking affection.
Are we home?
The sun peers out of the clouds
A leaf falls onto my lap
up from the ground the land answers
be welcome
be at home.

RCE Happy Hour
February 3rd from 7:30 – 8:30pm ET

It’s a Saturday night Happy Hour! As always, our monthly Happy Hour falls on the 3rd day of the month at 7:30 pm. Come and catch up with what your fellow RCE-ers have been up to and how quickly they think spring will be upon us!

RCE Introductory Meetings
Tuesdays February 13th & 27th 5:30 – 7pm ET
Saturday, February 24th 10:30 – 12 pm ET
Every month, we host three engaging intro sessions about our EcoVillage, designed specifically for new Inquirers. We’ll present an introduction to our community, talk about cohousing in general and have plenty of time for your questions. You’ll also meet several of our members and get a sense of who we are. Repeat attenders welcome! Send an email to RCEintro@gmail.comor text 412-573-1927
*You will receive a Zoom link after your email or text registration has been received.

RCE Monthly Membership Meeting
February 24th from 12:30 – 2pm ET
Following our Saturday Introductory Meeting, we invite you to join us for our Monthly Membership Meeting. It’s a wonderful time to catch up on all the exciting progress our various planning groups and our community have achieved. We’ll also have our special Rachel Carson Moment, where a fellow member shares intriguing insights about our esteemed namesake. We look forward to sharing this time with you!