PITTSBURGH – April 5, 2021 – The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and city of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works (DPW) are thrilled to announce the return of ‘What the Muck?,’ the multi-day clean-up effort organized each spring for Lake Elizabeth in Allegheny Commons Park on the Northside. Volunteers will remove organic material — including ‘byproducts’ of the park’s sizeable goose population — and other debris that collects at the bottom of the lake throughout the year.

The Parks Conservancy and DPW will partner with Allegheny CleanWays, a local non-profit dedicated to eliminating litter. The event will take place April 6-7 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., each day. Proudly regarded as the Parks Conservancy’s ‘dirtiest’ volunteer event, ‘What the Muck?’ attracts dozens of participants each year, who are joined in the work by employees of the Conservancy and the DPW, as well as Allegheny CleanWays team members.

Everyone is outfitted with tools, gloves, and other necessary equipment. Bottled water will be provided. Mask-wearing, physical distancing, and other COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed. The number of volunteers will be limited due to the pandemic.

Erin Tobin, community engagement manager for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, said the yearly project is essential to preserving Lake Elizabeth, which is a popular gathering spot in Pittsburgh’s oldest park. “Each year, the lake collects hundreds of pounds of organic materials and litter, which form a layer of sediment across its basin,” she explained. “Because the lake is very shallow, it has to be drained and the basin has to be cleaned every year to protect its beauty and timeless character.”

“We can’t wait to get to work!” added Tobin.

Pittsburgh Councilman Bobby Wilson, who represents District 1, Allegheny Commons’ home district, on Pittsburgh City Council, said, “I am continually impressed by the spirit of volunteerism displayed by our Northside community members. This special event allows all park users to have a more enjoyable experience, and for that I am so grateful.”

The title sponsor for this year’s event will be Pipitone Group, a marketing and communications agency in the Northside’s Observatory Hill neighborhood, which will provide volunteers for the event. ‘What the Muck?’ is also sponsored by Allegheny City Brewing, Bear Dog Bicycles, Daniel J. Strinkoski, DDS, Flashlight Factory, Gary and Michele Lynch, New Day Family Law LLC, Priory Hospitality Group, Mexican War Streets Society, Mistick Construction, and APICS Pittsburgh.

“We don’t ‘muck’ around when it comes to supporting the Parks Conservancy’s great work,” said Scott Pipitone, president and chief executive officer, Pipitone Group, and a Northside resident and community leader. “We can’t wait to get our hands dirty, and maybe our feet, too. This work is essential to ensuring a safe, clean park for everyone in the community to enjoy.”

“We are grateful for the support of all of this year’s generous sponsors for supporting this important work, as well as our partners at the DPW, Allegheny CleanWays, the Allegheny Commons Initiative and the Northside Leadership Conference,” added Tobin.

Home to the National Aviary, Allegheny Commons has been the focus of several major improvement initiatives over the past several years, including the restoration of the Northeast Fountain near its gateway at Allegheny General Hospital, and the rehabilitation of the historic North Promenade, the park’s classical park-length walkway.

For more information, or to volunteer for “What the Muck?’, visit www.pittsburghparks.org/what-the-muck


Alana Wenk                                                                
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy                                

About Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy: 
Now celebrating its 25th year, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded in December 1996 by a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions of Pittsburgh’s historic city parks. A non-profit organization, the Parks Conservancy works closely with the City of Pittsburgh under an official public-private partnership agreement to restore and improve the city’s park system to its full potential. To date, the Parks Conservancy has raised more than $130 million and completed 22 major park improvement projects. The Parks Conservancy works with thousands of volunteers, hosts hundreds of events, and provides programming for more than 7,500 children annually.