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Sycamore Island Kayak Tour

August 24 @ 9:00 am12:00 pm

Event Series Event Series (See All)
$20 – $30
Erin Mallea is standing amidst a forest and an aging metal structure. She is reading aloud from a yellow booklet that she holds in her hands. She is wearing a purple jacket, black pants, and a baseball hat. A yellow tote is slung in her left elbow.

Artist Erin Mallea will take participants by kayak to Sycamore Island for a listening walk. Managed by the Allegheny Land Trust, Sycamore Island is one of the few undeveloped islands in Allegheny County. The island hosts a significant floodplain hardwood forest and presents an opportunity for the public to visit and experience a woodland that is imperiled in Pennsylvania. Participants will be led on island walking trails with a series of listening prompts. We will practice redirecting attention by closely listening to distant, subtle and shifting sounds, increasing awareness of our larger sonic environment.

About the Kayak Tour Series

Shiftworks Community + Public Arts maintains a long-standing history of hosting and organizing walking tours for the public. To further expand this programmatic offering, Shiftworks commissioned Pittsburgh Creative Corps artists Erin Mallea and Monica Cervone McElwain to design and experiment with how tour-goers experience the region’s public realm.

This series of kayak tours was conceptualized by the artists and focuses on engaging audience members through artmaking, participant observations, listening activities, and walking.

About Erin Mallea

Artist Erin MalleaErin Mallea is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in Pittsburgh, PA. Her practice explores the past and present of particular microcosms as entry points into larger environmental, social, and political conditions. Often public and collaborative in nature, her work manifests in a range of media including installation, video, photography, writing, and participatory projects. She has exhibited at galleries, museums and DIY art spaces nationally and internationally, sent vibrations from a giant fungus throughout the atmosphere, and currently publishes Tree News, a newsletter about trees, people and places. Erin holds a MFA from Carnegie Mellon University (2019) and is an Assistant Professor of Art at the Pennsylvania State University School of Visual Arts.

Additional Information

While previous kayaking experience isn’t necessary, this is an intermediate level route, appropriate for ages 18 +. Kayaking to Sycamore island will take approximately 20 minutes, and participants should be prepared for a longer return trip upstream. The return trip can take 30 minutes depending on the current and wind conditions.

Attendees are required to wear life vests (which will be provided on-site), must participate in a short kayak safety training, and sign a waiver before the tour begins. Please arrive promptly at 9:00 AM to undergo the short training and prepare to launch. Tour-goers will be on the water by 9:30 AM.

Participants should be dressed appropriately for kayaking to, and spending time on, Sycamore Island. Please wear comfortable, quick-drying/active clothing that can get wet. It is recommended to bring a dry change of clothes to enjoy the marina and food after the tour. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are recommended. Wear walking sandals or shoes that are comfortable and able to get wet, and are safe for walking on trails and uneven terrain. The trails at Sycamore Island are cleared and maintained, however, there can be poison ivy off trail. Socks can be helpful for this if you are wearing sandals. Be sure to check the weather conditions the morning of the tour and bring appropriate layers.

This tour will take place rain or shine. Please be prepared for any type of weather. If there is severe weather on the day of the tour requiring cancellation, participants will be notified by email 2 – 4 hours before the start of the tour.

Public restrooms are available at the marina.

Directions and Parking Information

Tour-goers will meet at 10.7 Marina located at 314 Arch Street, Verona, PA 15147. Please plan to arrive promptly at 9:00 AM. There is free parking at 10.7 Marina.

There are no nearby stops for Pittsburgh Regional Transit.

Photography, Videography, and Other Documentation

Participants should be aware that photography, videorecording, and/or other documentation of the event by Shiftworks, other attendees, or the media may take place during the event. Participants will have an opportunity to indicate if they choose to opt out of being included in event documentation, and our team will make reasonable efforts to accommodate these preferences.


This tour is very physically engaging and requires participants to be able to enter and exit a kayak safely without significant assistance. Participants will need to be able to follow verbal and visual instruction. Due to the unique nature of the event, our ability to provide additional accommodations is limited. Please contact the organizer if you have any questions.

Cancellation and Refunds

In the event of cancellation due to severe weather, participants will be refunded to their original form of payment. All other sales are final.


There are two ticket types available for this tour: $30.00 with a kayak rental or $20.00 if bringing your own kayak. The button below will redirect you to Eventbrite where you will make your ticket selection and complete your registration.



August 24
9:00 am–12:00 pm
$20 – $30
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Shiftworks Community + Public Arts
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10.7 Marina
314 Arch Street
Verona, PA 15147 United States
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