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Development News

5th Annual Arbor Aid celebrates the life and death of trees, at The Wheel Mill

Throughout the year, Tree Pittsburgh advocates for healthy trees in the city, and physically tends to the vast urban forest.  But at Saturday’s 5th Annual Arbor Aid, the focus is on trees that are no longer living.

The event, to be held November 10th at The Wheel Mill in Homewood, will feature the woodwork of more than 40 artists, and over 60 pieces of artwork and furniture, much of which is made of reclaimed wood harvested from the Pittsburgh region.  It is the non-profit's largest fundraiser.  

Pieces range from large dining room tables to chairs and sculptures, as well as smaller items such as cutting boards, candle holders, and pictures frames.  One artist, a painter, has even incorporated a salvaged stainless steel panel from the former Civic Arena into her work.

Tree Pittsburgh’s Caitlin Lenahan says Arbor Aid is a unique opportunity to have Pittsburgh’s woodworking community gathered and showcased all under one roof.  She says a number of cities throughout the country are known for their crafting communities, and Pittsburgh should be numbered among them.

“We have a great craftsman community here,” Lenahan says.  “I think that Pittsburgh’s community of woodworkers definitely rivals other cities.”

This year’s event will also allow the public an early preview of the future The Wheel Mill, a planned indoor bicycle park.  Harry Geyer, carpenter and owner of the park, has constructed 75 percent of the course’s infrastructure from reclaimed lumber. 

“The mountain biking community naturally cares a lot about trees and the forest, so I think it’s a great way to mix the two together,” Geyer says. He hopes to be open by the beginning of next year.

And as the fall planting season comes to an end, Tree Pittsburgh has just planted its 15,000 tree, of its 20,000-tree goal, as part of TreeVitalize.  The program is a partnership between Tree Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the City of Pittsburgh, County Parks, and Pennsylvania DCNR.

Saturday’s event begins with the Soil Mixer, from 6:30 to 8:30, with food and drink, and woodworking demonstrations.  And the Main Event, from 8:30 to midnight, will feature live music along with food and drink from local establishments.   Click here for tickets and more information.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Danielle Crumrine, Caitlin Lenahan
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