In March 2023, Jared rejoined the Parks Conservancy as Ecological Restoration Coordinator for Hays Woods, a role in which he leads restoration efforts in Pittsburgh’s newest city park and its largest urban forest. The position is thanks to a generous grant from the R.K. Mellon Foundation. The 626-acre park, bordering the south side of the Monongahela River across from Hazelwood was once the site of several coal mines. The property has changed hands over the decades, but through community action and leadership, it is in the process of being transferred to the city for park development. Jared will work hand-in-hand with community partners to “conserve and restore the ecology of the site through environmental management”, as recommended by the Hays Woods Task Force in 2019. He is excited to contribute to such an important project for the city.
A New England native, Jared grew up exploring the woods behind his house in Massachusetts and hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire with his family. He credits his parents, both schoolteachers, for cultivating his love of learning; he soon developed a deep interest in Environmental Science, appreciating the diverse and ever-evolving curriculum that encompassed natural and social sciences and the humanities. After graduating from Hamilton College and working on a small-scale farm for the summer and fall, Jared moved to Pittsburgh in late 2019, just in time to ride out a global pandemic in a new home. He spent much of lockdown delivering surplus food to underserved communities, and through those experiences developed an intimate knowledge of Pittsburgh’s neighborhood communities and unique geography. He continues to be fascinated by the industrial history of the city and feels especially inspired by the way it has changed and rejuvenated in more recent times. He believes the beautiful parks are a big part of that story, and he loves to explore the trails and forests with his partner Mackenzie and their dog Cocco. This ultimately led him to his first job at the Parks Conservancy as a Seasonal Restoration Gardener at Emerald View Park, in his beloved neighborhood of Mount Washington. Now, he is back in a new capacity for the exciting Hays Woods project, and he couldn’t be happier. In a way, the story of Hays Woods Park is the story of Pittsburgh, and it represents a model for the future of maintaining our urban forests.