About 12 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, young students examine insect larva among the remains of a decomposing log, wade through a creek as they search for salamanders, and test water percolation in forest soils. At The Outdoor Classroom, situated in a 475-acre park, students participate in outdoor field trips where they gain opportunities to connect with the natural world—a new experience for many of these preschoolers and third- to seventh-grade students. The field-trip curricula, such as introductions to ecosystems or examinations of relationships in natural communities, are designed to reinforce the national curricula modules followed by many school districts. In addition to field-trip opportunities, The Outdoor Classroom also sponsors summer day camps and community education programs about topics that reinforce the connection between people and southwestern Pennsylvania's environment, such as backyard gardening.
The 42nd annual Mexican War Streets Society House & Garden Tour guides patrons through Victorian-style homes and gardens, raising funds to preserve the historic north-side neighborhood. Paired patrons stroll through the federally designated historic district, taking in late-19th-century architecture, commenting on flowering and waterfalling gardens, and ducking their top hats beneath doorframes. Character-filled homes open up to show their modern renovations and restorations of chandeliers, hardwood floors, fireplaces, and carved trim and crown molding. Guests can direct questions to knowledgeable domicile docents, stop in at an array of refreshment areas and local-art exhibits, and get advice from restoration specialists on their own historic renovation projects, such as repairing the stained glass in an antique doghouse.
CSCF’s Learn2Swim Program allows children and their families to wade into a heated pool in medically supervised swimming lessons that keep them active and provide a relaxed social outlet. CSCF ensures that the water stays a warm 84 degrees Fahrenheit during lessons with certified swim instructors, under the supervision of medical professionals. Warm towels, snacks, and drinking water await on dry land. Many families cannot afford swimsuits for their children to participate in the program, so CSCF hopes to provide free suits to remove this barrier to their children's participation.
RIF Pittsburgh annually gives 60,000 free books and motivational literacy activities to children in more than 100 schools, community centers, and public housing across the city. Increasing the number of books in low-income homes can directly affect how often children will read on their own or with their families, which helps strengthen their essential literacy skills. Through RIF Pittsburgh’s programs, students can select their own stories or books to take home to keep and peruse with their families, sparking their desire to read in a positive environment.