Invasive Honeysuckles Cry “Uncle!!”

group of people among shrubs

Volunteers with implements of destruction spread out into the honeysuckle. Photo by Forest Park Forever.

By Amy Redfield

Wielding bypass loppers, hacksaws, anvil loppers, and Japanese saws, Wild Ones members wreaked havoc amongst the tangle of honeysuckle. Trunks as thick as a foot across (are we really sure honeysuckle is a shrub and not a tree??) gave way under the onslaught, only to have their stumps painted with herbicide so the roots will die as well. These fearsome mauraders joined forces with over 75 volunteers on a cool November Saturday as part of a Honeysuckle Removal Project, pooling efforts to cut, treat, and remove honeysuckle from approximately one and a half acres in Forest Park. En route to the removal site, they passed the efforts of last year’s work, which allowed sunlight to reach the forest floor and awaken native seeds left dormant from the pervasive honeysuckle shade.

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Meet the Wild Ones – Ed Schmidt, President, St. Louis Wild Ones

By Amy Redfield

Ed Schmidt and yellow flowers

Ed and the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in his front garden

Ed’s first native garden went entirely to honeysuckle and Euonymus. Not that he thought that was a problem: he figured since he has a very deep lot, why not let the far end of it go back to nature – sort of a wildlife habitat? Less to mow, and better for the environment: a win all around. It wasn’t until he was volunteering at the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, helping to eradicate their honeysuckle, that he thought, “Uh-oh!”

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Do You Grow Frost Flowers?

By Bob Kipfer, Springfield Plateau Chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists

Ribbons of ice called frost flowersHave you ever heard of “frost flowers“? If so, you had to get out early in the morning during the first few hard frosts. Frost flowers, also known as “ice ribbons,” are formed by super-cooled water being extruded through plant stems and freezing the minute they hit the cold air. They are beautiful, delicate and transient, destined to disappear when the temperature rises, or sooner if the sun hits them for a few minutes.

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St. Louis – Wisconsin – Kenya – Forest Park: interesting connections and a bit of history

By Ed Schmidt

Wangari Maathai, Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, environmentalist and human rights activist

Wangari Maathai

One of the more unusual things that has happened during my presidency of the St. Louis chapter occurred in late September.  I received an email from Wild Ones executive director Donna VanBuecken asking me to respond to an email she received from one Geoffrey Soyiantet, stating that the Kenyan community in St. Louis would like to plant a tree in honor of Professor Wangari Maathai (sometimes spelled Mathai), Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize laureate, environmentalist and human rights activist.

I replied to Donna that I would be happy to do so, especially since I taught in Kenya for two years in the early 1960s, about the same time that Professor Maathai, as well as President Obama’s father, was in the United States getting a college education.

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October 2012 meeting minutes

Wild Ones members tour the Hummels property for the October, 2012 meeting

Touring the Hummels’ woodland garden

Twenty-five members met at Joan and Larry Hummel’s property for our annual Saturday potluck lunch membership meeting.  Joan led a tour of her woodland garden and Larry’s prairie.  The Hummels purchased their property in 1995.  Larry described experiences they have had in restoring the property to a native ecosystem and shared stories of the wildlife they have enjoyed.  Ed Schmidt thanked the Hummels for their hospitality and led the meeting.
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