2014 Landscape Challenge winner chosen

By Ed Schmidt

This year’s Landscape Challenge was open to residents in Kirkwood, and fit right into the celebration honoring naturalist Edgar Denison. To encourage homeowners to apply, Alan Hoepfl and I each wrote and had published letters about the Challenge in the Webster-Kirkwood Times.

Wild Ones members Ann Early, Bob Siemer, Jeanne Cablish, and I, together with Carrie Coyne of Grow Native! processed the 10 applications and visited all the properties on an evening in late May. The winning property is in the 400 block of West Argonne, 4 blocks west of the train station. Evaluation team members were influenced by the nearly “blank slate” appearance of the yard. The homeowner even agreed to get rid of a Bradford pear!

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Moth night at Shaw Nature Reserve

By James Trager, Ph.D., Restoration Biologist at Shaw Nature Reserve


Black Banded Brocade Moth
Click the image for more photos

Here’s an amazing testament to the value of native plantings. On Saturday, July 5, 2014, I hosted a National Moth Watch group near the Bascom House, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Equipment included two black lights, a mercury vapor light, white sheets to reflect the lights, lots of clicking high-end cameras, and eight people with great interest and a variety of knowledge levels. It was great bug-nerdy fun.

The result was a tiny peek, perhaps 80 species, at the vast diversity of moth species (likely many hundreds) that occur on the Reserve. See some pictures. The diversity we found was impressive to all, with the majority of both moth and non-moth species not even pictured in the collage at the link. With rather good moth ID resources available, no specimens, other than photos, were taken. There were also a number of other insects, including winged forms of at least three ant species, and a token cricket frog who enjoyed snarfing up mayflies that fell to the base of the reflective sheet. All in attendance were wowed by the their first-ever sighting of a 10-cm (4-inch) long Dobson fly, one of Missouri’s largest insects (seen in the 4th row from the bottom of the linked images).

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Footsteps: A Tribute to Cindy Gilberg

By Scott Woodbury

Shaw Nature Reserve staff and volunteers: Terri Brandt, Cindy Gilberg, Marilyn Heller, unknown and Diane Donovan

Shaw Nature Reserve staff and volunteers: Terri Brandt, Cindy Gilberg, Marilyn Heller, ? and Diane Donovan

Cindy Gilberg grew up in Missouri with a sense of wonder about the natural world. Before the age of electronic devices her family snorkeled in Ozark streams in search of cool waters and underwater critters. They hiked natural areas exploring for plants and ferns and things wild. As an adult Cindy picked wild mushrooms and edible weeds and grew vegetables which she and husband Doug fed to their children Becca and Nathan, who are now grown up and following in their footsteps. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Cindy’s story reminds me of Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder who wrote: “We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist”. I think of Cindy as the parent passing on a love for this earth; her audience, her readers, her colleagues and her clients being the children in her extended family.

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June meeting minutes


Dave Tylka talks to Wild Ones about his water feature with native plants

Dave Tylka talks about his water feature

Dave and Karen Tylka hosted this month’s yard tour at their 3-acre rural property outside of Imperial, MO. Fifty-plus Wild Ones members and guests attended to learn from the passionate, natural-born teacher. Dave is the author of Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People and teaches a class of the same name at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. Along with Mitch Leachman, St. Louis Audubon’s Executive Director, Dave started St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program and trains the program’s Habitat Advisors.

During the walking tour, Dave described in detail the numerous native plant communities that he and Karen have established on their property. There are habitats of forest, prairie, glade, wetland including a pond and series of rain gardens, and several species of native vines. He also educated us about the invertebrate pollinators, birds and other wildlife that are attracted to some of their 200+ plant species.

Editor’s notes: View more photos from the meeting. Dave’s book is available through the Missouri Department of Conservation and at Powder Valley Nature Center.
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Spring discoveries, anxieties, and lessons

By Marsha Gebhardt

I am the lucky caregiver for a seven-month-old Missouri natives garden. As with children, seven-month-olds bring wonder, worry, and a need for much education and effort. It is not easy to walk the Missouri Evening Primrose path, but it is a walk filled with pleasure and purpose.

Planting drawing done by Simon and Monica Barker for the Gebhardt yard

Yard plan, created by Simon and Monica Barker

In late October, 2013, Native Landscape Solutions, Inc. installed a native landscape in my front yard. Simon and Monica Barker designed it after developing a plant list which included more than 200 shade plants (23 species), more than 400 sun-lovers (29 species), and about 10 bushes and trees. The transformation was very exciting, but all too quickly winter came. Five long months later, I started spending inordinate amounts of time bent over to look closely at the tiny beginnings of…what?! The adventure was beginning in earnest.

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St. Louis on the Air (KWMU) features native plant discussion

By Marsha Gebhardt

Purple coneflowers in bloom - photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

Purple Coneflowers
Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

On June 4th, local radio station KWMU’s program St. Louis on the Air had an excellent discussion of the benefits of using native plants.

“Using native plants is environmentally friendly because it works within the existing ecosystem,” explained Jean Ponzi, Green Resources Manager at the EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

St. Louis Audubon Society Executive Director Mitch Leachman and Missouri Department of Conservation Community Conservation Planner Angie Weber also participated in the conversation.

If you missed it, you can listen online. The program is 50 minutes long, but well-worth the time.