LERC also collaborates with various state agencies, the County of Erie, local municipal governments, other land trusts and private property owners.
Several environmental partners in the Erie region, including, PA Sea Grant, the Erie County Environmental Coalition (ECEC), the Partnership for a Healthy Mill Creek Watershed (PHMCW), The Lake Erie Arboretum Foundation (LEAF), Environment Erie and the Lake Erie Region Conservancy (LERC) have been working together during the past several years to raise environmental awareness, acquire and preserve green space, and protect and enhance environmental habitats. An integral part of this work has involved an inner-city tree program initiated by ECEC and supported with educational and technical assistance from the Penn State Cooperative Extension. This collaboration of environmental groups has worked under the premise that a thriving urban forest is an essential part of establishing and maintaining a healthy community.
The collaboration outlined above has benefited from a relationship with Mercyhurt University which has a long history of engaging students in environmental issues and projects. Mercyhurst has supported the efforts of the groups with student volunteers, faculty research, meeting and office space, and administrative support. The Mercyhurst University Office of Service Learning has been especially helpful in connecting the environmental groups to neighborhood organizations and community sites within the City of Erie. These inner-city groups include, The Erie Neighborhood Watch Council, the 18th Street Community Builders, Emmaus Kids’ Café, the Neighborhood Art House, Booker T Washington Center, Bayfront NATO, Martin Luther King Jr Center, Boys and Girls Club, Trinity Center, and the John F Kennedy Center. Mercyhurst College students and community volunteers from these organizations have already established several wildlife gardens and planted and/or helped to maintain over 200 trees in the City of Erie.
The Partnership of Environmental groups and Mercyhurst have also participated in numerous public events and workshops to educate the general public and the neighborhood volunteers about how to create and maintain a healthy Urban Forest. Recently, representatives from the environmental group collaborative, Mercyhurst College, and the Penn State Cooperative Extension negotiated with the City of Erie Council and the Mayor’s office to revitalize the Erie City Tree Management Ordinance, which has been on the books for well over 40 years, but has not been enforced or supported for the last 20 years. The City is now planning to partner with the environmental organizations, Mercyhurst College, and the Penn State Cooperative Extension to create a sustainable inner-city tree program that draws on the volunteer base from neighborhood and environmental groups and the Mercyhurst College community of students, faculty, and staff.
Water Street Property