Gavin Gets Repotted

GTECH people are good dirt (and I mean that as the highest of compliments).

As Plato put it: “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

If people are like dirt, then GTECH people are rich, organic soil. Without artificial ingredients, and no matter the precise composition, they manage to offer just the right balance of nutrients, moisture and support throughout the year, despite a monsoon of projects in the summer, or a cold, dry winter of plotting and planning. Thanks to the loamy, fertile soils of GTECH people, I have grown as a community development and environmental professional faster than I could have imagined and now, sadly, it’s time I’m repotted.

Today, I’m moving full-time to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (where I’ve worked halftime for the past four years) to be their community projects manager. I’ve absorbed a lot of know-how from my stay at GTECH, and I plan to continuing growing, bringing lessons learned and creative ideas with me to carry on the good work that GTECH does every day in different soils (but the same garden!)

Thank you, from the bottom of my roots, to all of you who have been part of my growth at Growth Through Energy and Community Health.

Stay dirty,





PS, because metaphors are fun, and so is dirt – GTECH does the work of dirt, and it does it well. Dirt or, when it’s healthy, soil, does the following things, according to the US department of Agriculture:

Regulating water

Soil helps control where rain, snowmelt, and irrigation water goes. Water and dissolved solutes flow over the land or into and through the soil.

GTECH designs and installs Green Stormwater Infrastructure redirecting water to decrease Combined Sewer Overflows and reinvigorate vacant lots.

Sustaining plant and animal life

The diversity and productivity of living things depends on soil.

GTECH plants gardens full of native species, supporting local wildlife and local communities.  Check out a local guide to native species from one of our favorite suppliers, Chapon’s.

Filtering and buffering potential pollutants

The minerals and microbes in soil are responsible for filtering, buffering, degrading, immobilizing, and detoxifying organic and inorganic materials, including industrial and municipal by-products and atmospheric deposits.

GTECH cleans up vacant lots, removing debris and covering unhealthy soils with mulch and inedible gardens to prevent contact and renew the health of the land. And their program Airspace creates installations on vacant lots that raise awareness about air quality in our region and how it can be improved.

Cycling nutrients

Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and many other nutrients are stored, transformed, and cycled in the soil.

GTECH always tries to work with recycled materials, reusing wood, rock, tires, bricks and other materials to build each site affordably and at the lowest possible cost to the environment.  See some examples in our Green Playces projects.

Physical stability and support

Soil structure provides a medium for plant roots. Soils also provide support for human structures and protection for archeological treasures.

GTECH works to build support in communities so that completed projects have staying power and residents feel capable of pursuing new projects on their own. Want GTECH to support you? Consider applying for the next round of Resilience Generation (ReGen) projects!

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