Raeanne Heuler and Beth King are passionate about parks and green spaces, which led them to intern at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy! 

"I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Studio Arts and Sustainability," Raeanne explained. "I am a huge outdoors person, and I love to hike, rock-climb, and of course, plog!"

"I am also a junior at Pitt majoring in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies with a Sustainability certificate," Beth added. "I love going to the park, as I am a runner and a big fan of the outdoors!"

With a passion for parks and a love for nature, an internship opportunity with the Parks Conservancy was the perfect fit for Reanne and Beth. 

"Since I am from Pittsburgh, I have always loved our public parks, so I was so excited about the opportunity to work with the PPC to help preserve and protect them," Reanne said.

"This seemed like a good fit because I valued the mindset of conservation and appreciated the work of the Parks Conservancy. This internship allows me to help protect the parks so that the Pittsburgh community can enjoy them well into the future," Beth explained. 

And since taking the internship with the Parks Conservancy just a short time ago, Reanne and Beth are already making a significant impact. They're planning the first annual Plogging for Mental Health 5k walk/Run in Schenley Park, April 16 through 18. 

"Plogging combines running, jogging, and walking with picking up any trash you see on your route. We organized this race to bringing plogging to Pitt to help clean up our campus and community," Reanne said. "To be as COVID-19 compliant as possible, the race will take place for three days. There will also be three separate routes around Oakland, and the start times will be staggered."

You don't have to be in Oakland or a Pitt Student to participate. Reanne and Beth encourage people to sign up and plog in their neighborhood on their own routes! 

"We also want to emphasize that this race is for everyone. Even if you're not an avid runner, we want to encourage people to come out and plog together," Beth said. "Our project has a mental health aspect to it, as we are trying to build a safe and supportive community during a time where many people feel alone. We're hoping the event will bring in participants of all health backgrounds, all ready to plog for the betterment of our environment!"

Reanne and Beth are excited for the event weekend to arrive and are hopeful that this will positively impact Pittsburgh. 

"We think this is the perfect event to get people outdoors, improve their mental and physical health, and help care for the environment all at the same time," Beth said. "It is made even better because it will take place during Earth Month, as this is an important time for the Parks Conservancy and the communities it serves."

If you're interested in registering for this event, click here: https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Pittsburgh/PloggingforMentalHealth5k.  

P.S. Follow along during the race weekend by following @pitt_plogging on Instagram.