Latest Buzz at the Apiary 

John Crist, our beekeeper and Conservancy Board Member, maintains the hives

The bees have been busy this summer gathering nectar and pollen. Have you seen an increase in bee activity in your yards this summer? The hives have been growing, and the hope for a good honey crop in October is good. 


One of the parasites that have affected bees terribly for the past 30 years has been the Varroa Mite. John Crist, Apiary Director, believed that the mites were a big problem last year for the hives to have become so weakened. Besides attaching themselves to the bees and weakening them, the mites also introduce unhealthy viruses into the hive. However, there is growing evidence that the bees are beginning to adapt to the presence of mites in their hives. Several places around the country are reporting bees attacking the mites in various ways. At Purdue University queens are producing workers that bite the legs off mites. The bees from Purdue are called "ankle biters". Florida is reporting queens producing workers that are called "mite maulers!" 


Recently, John became part of the Heartland Queen Improvement Project, an effort to get queens into Western Pennsylvania that had the genetic traits for managing mites. John recently placed a hive with a Purdue Queen in the apiary. Five weeks later he discovered two mites were missing legs. This was a very exciting discovery. 


Since adult mites are about the size of a pencil dot, what enabled John to see the missing legs on the mites was the recent purchase by the Conservancy of a digital microscope. With this tool we will be able to confirm how well our bees are managing the mite problem. It is now assumed that mites are in every hive at some level, but mites only become a problem when the hive isn't strong enough to manage the mites. At the present time all the hives appear to be strong enough to keep the mites to a manageable level. Hopefully, with bees having the genetics to manage the mite levels on their own in the hives, the need for chemicals should decrease. The Board is very hopeful that with these two additions to the apiary, the apiary will continue to produce healthy honeybees.



With the generosity of a few donors through the Pittsburgh Foundation, we will be able to purchase a honey extractor and some other tools to help with the maintenance of the beehives and the harvest of honey. Honey extractor
Honey will be harvested in October and the Conservancy may have honey for sale at the annual meeting.

Apiary tours are available to anyone interested in viewing the apiary and learning more about the culture of honeybees. Please call or email the Conservancy to make arrangements.



What is a swarm? 



  Honeybee swarm

A swarm is a collection of bees that contains at least one queen that has split from the mother colony to establish a new one. A swarm is a natural method of propagation of honeybees. While working at the Apiary last year, we came upon a swarm that is pictured above. 



Why are bees important? 



Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination - they need pollinators. Honeybees are pollinators. Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. That means that 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. If we want to talk dollars and cents, pollinators add 217 billion dollars to the global economy, and honeybees alone are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars in agricultural productivity in the United States. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from sever weather, and support other wildlife.

(Source:, Accessed May 31, 2016)



Tree Pittsburgh

The Scott Conservancy is partnering with Tree Pittsburgh by offering native species trees for sale at a very favorable cost. Tree Pittsburgh's mission is to protect and restore Pittsburgh's urban forest through community tree planting and care, education, and advocacy. Tree Pittsburgh's Heritage Nursery seeks to revitalize local forests, and the important services they provide, by growing a diverse range of native and heritage trees for planting efforts. The trees available for sale have proved both hardy in our local climates and resilient in modern conditions. The nursery stock is curated with pride to withstand vegetative competition and thrive after planting, even in the toughest conditions. These trees have resisted weather extremes, soil changes, and pollution over decades, making them ideal candidates. 

Scott Conservancy volunteers will be able to help with pickup, delivery, and planting of these reasonably priced trees. We hope you will consider planting a tree or two on your own property or on Conservancy property.

Contact: Keith Breitenstein 


We hope you'll consider attending the Annual Members Meeting and a special program with Riverlife whose mission is: To reclaim, restore and promote Pittsburgh's riverfronts as the environmental, recreational, cultural and economic hub for the people of this region and our visitors. Vivien Li, President and CEO of Riverlife, is our special guest and presenter. 

Previously at The Boston Harbor Association (TBHA), Vivien Li worked to promote a clean, alive, and accessible Boston Harbor. Under her leadership, The Boston Harbor Association secured $30 million in state funding to restore Boston Harbor beaches, and launched the Harbor Bound education program for more than 11,000 inner city students. 

Vivien has been a major force behind completion of Boston's 41-mile HarborWalk public access system, focusing attention on sea-level rise and climate change affecting Boston's waterfront.  She initiated annual free "Working Port" cruises to highlight Boston's port activities. Vivien has also worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the National Urban League, and the City of Newark, New Jersey. 

Vivien has degrees from Barnard College and Princeton University. She has been recognized by numerous organizations, including most recently by the national Sierra Club with its 2015 Walter Starr Award, by the Boston Society of Architects/Women in Design with a 2015 Award of Excellence, and by the Women's Lunch Place (social service organization helping women in poverty) as its 2014 award recipient.

Wednesday, December 13th @ 11:30 am 

Celebrate the holiday season by attending the Scott Conservancy Annual Luncheon at DeBlasio's Restaurant in Virginia Manor Shopping Center. Attendees will order from the menu and will cover the cost of their own lunch. Dessert will be provided. 

It is always so nice to get together! Please plan to join us and RSVP so we can notify DeBlasio's. 

Jane Sorcan

The United States Coast Guard sent volunteers again this year to help make trail improvements to the Kane Woods Nature Area. They generously came twice this year, once on August 31, and then again on September 22.

Approximately 10 volunteers from the Coast Guard worked alongside Conservancy volunteers to complete much needed work along our trails. 

The work focused on the Tom the Tinker Trail, the Liberty Trail, and the walking bridge. Water was also directed away from the trails. Working in knee-deep water and mud, they cleaned out the pipe that carries water under our Tom the Tinker trail. 

In addition, volunteers moved gravel and rocks to various areas on our trails that become wet during heavy rains. A great deal of time was also spent removing branches from a tree that fell into the stream which caused flooding along Tom the Tinker trail and we replaced boards on our main bridge. We appreciate the work accomplished and we cannot thank them enough because volunteers are so difficult to find. 

The Scott Conservancy is a non-profit organization that maintains two miles of trails in the Kane Woods Nature Area for community use. It depends on donations and volunteers, like those from the Coast Guard, above, to keep the area maintained.

Thanks to the hard work of William Phifer and Boy Scout Troop 834 based at Our Lady of Grace Church, many of the native species found growing in our Kane Woods will soon be identified with signage. 

Visitors to the Kane Woods trails will then be able to put a name to many of the plants native to Pennsylvania they see as walk by. Environmental education is an important part of the mission of the Conservancy so we are thrilled that William and Troop 839 have taken on this wonderful project. 

With the help of friends, family and members of Troop 839, signs identifying the plants will be placed near the Meadow Walk Trail located between the Liberty and Neville Trails. 

William is the son of long time Conservancy members William and Mary Phifer and is working on becoming an Eagle Scout. This project, to be completed before Christmas, is one of many steps that will help him achieve that goal.

A few photographs from our Solar Eclipse Party.  

The next solar eclipse that can be viewed from the Kane Woods Nature Area is April 8, 2024.  

See you then! 

Support Scott Conservancy:  Shop at

Did you know that you could support The Scott Conservancy just by making purchases on Amazon? Go to and set The Scott Conservancy as your supporting charity.  Thank you for your support!

How quickly time passes.  Another year has gone by, and it is time to renew your membership in The Scott Conservancy.  We hope we can count on your continued support.  If you are thinking of joining, why not attend our upcoming annual meeting, holiday luncheon or cozy winter campfires?

During the last two decades The Scott Conservancy has sponsored programs designed to increase awareness and appreciation of our natural resources and is dedicated to the preservation of Scott Township's green space, an important component of what makes Scott Township such a desirable place to live.

The Scott Conservancy:

  • Acquired and has placed 77 acres of green space in the Scott Township under protection.

  • Developed the Kane Woods Nature Area with walking trails for community use.

  • Sponsors outdoor recreational events.

  • Provides community education programs

  • Works closely with municipal officials to ensure that environmental issues are fully considered when development and expansion occurs.

  • Maintains the smaller traffic island at the corner of Greentree and Cochran Roads

  • Works closely with other conservancies in the area and with regional environmental initiatives.

  • Distributes a newsletter several times a year.

By making a yearly donation to The Scott Conservancy you will help us continue our work in the community.  If you are already a member, please check the mailing label on your newsletter for the date of your last donation.  If you are not currently a member, consider joining, attend an event and visit our Kane Woods Nature Area. Your donation is important to us.  We hope we can count on your continued support.  Thank you.

EVENT: Annual Meeting
November 8, 2017
TIME:  7:00 pm
PLACE:  Scoff Park Lodge

EVENT: Holiday Luncheon
December 13, 2017
TIME:  11:30 am
PLACE:  DeBlasio's Restaurant











  • Bob Gamble, President

  • Don McGuirk, Vice-President

  • Sarantos Patrinos, Secretary

  • Jane Sorcan, Treasurer

Board Members & Chairpersons

  • John Crist, Apiary

  • Bill Luxner, Trails

  • Don McGuirk, Trails 

  • Kevin Russell, Trails

  • Robin Anthony, Website

  • Mary Pitzer, Traffic Island

  • Jean Miewald, Membership

  • Sarantos Patrinos, Newsletter Editor

Connect with Us

The Scott Conservancy
PO Box 13067
Pittsburgh, PA  15243

Whiskey Run Trailhead
1461 Scrubgrass Road

Scrubgrass Run Trailhead
1459 Scrubgrass Road















Sometimes I wonder whether,
in all the world,

there is a monarch so magnificent 

an athlete so awesome

a politician so powerful

a lover so lovely
that he has,
like my little mongrel dog,

a person who walks behind
and picks up his poop
in a plastic bag. 

by Hazel Cope,
a Scott Conservancy supporter








The Scott Conservancy

November 08, 2017

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