August 2016 monthly gathering highlights

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Wes Boshart (standing) leading Saturday’s gathering at the home of Mark O’Bryan (in red t-shirt)

August 3 and 6, 2016
Mark O’Bryan hosted two yard tour gatherings in August. Marsha Gebhardt welcomed 28 members and four guests on August 3, and Wes Boshart welcomed 10 members and four guests on Saturday, August 6.

Mark and his family moved into their home in 2000. During their first years, they built a garage with Mark’s business office above it, added an addition to the house, and installed a geothermal energy system to heat and cool the house. Though they expanded the house by 65%, the efficient energy system provides a 50% decrease in peak energy costs.

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Wild Ones native garden grants

By Kathy Bildner
Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Native plants at Immanuel Lutheran School in St. Charles

Immanuel Lutheran School in St. Charles
Photo by Kathy Bildner
115 S. Sixth St., St. Charles MO. In 2013 we awarded $370 for native plants in an early childhood natural playscape.

Our organization wants more native plant gardens in public spaces. We are willing to help other groups build these gardens by offering advice and a modest amount of money to get the process started. The geographic area covered is 35 to 40 miles out from St. Louis city in Missouri.

After we get a request, a crew of volunteers will meet with the applicants, observe the proposed garden site, and ask and answer questions. Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter has been offering these grants for 10 years. We have given out 26 grants to schools, community gardens, and parks.

Not all of our grants have succeeded. In the last year, our members have gone back to look at all of our grantees. Four of these locations had no sign of a garden.

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Flowers or weeds?

Woman seated and wearing pink top

Alice Hezel

By Marsha Gebhardt
President, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Many of you may now be more acutely aware of the issue that municipal weed ordinances can present for native plant gardens in front yards, due to the recent publicity about Alice Hezel’s fight with the Maplewood city council.

The hearing about Alice’s yard was scheduled for August 18, but the attorney appealed it to the St. Louis County courts for a jury trial. The attorney is Bruce Morrison of Great Rivers Environmental Law Center. He is representing Alice pro bono.

Our next Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter board meeting is Thursday, August 25. As we work on our three-year strategic plan, we will be discussing the Chapter’s role in relation to front-yard native plant gardens and weed ordinances.

  • How do we proactively support individuals who want to create and maintain native landscapes in their front yards and, hopefully, prevent a confrontation with their neighbors and local municipality?
  • Also, how do we support municipalities and help them create proactive ordinances that both acknowledge the benefits and desirability of front-yard native landscapes, and require reasonable maintenance parameters?

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Margy Terpstra speaking at the Ethical Society TONIGHT (16-Aug)

woman wearing glassesWild Ones member Margy Terpstra will give her program Why Our Yards are So Important to the Full Life-cycle Conservation of Our Native Birds tonight, Tuesday August 16, at The Ethical Society, for the monthly meeting of the Missouri Nature and Environmental Photographers (MoNEP).

Our members and readers are invited to attend the free program.

When: Tuesday, August 16 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Ethical Society, 9001 Clayton Avenue, St. Louis, 63117

Parking and the evening entry to The Ethical Society are at the rear of the building. Follow the driveway down the hill, along the side of the building to the large parking lot at the back. Enter through the door on the right side of the lower level.

Margy will address what native birds are, when they are here in Missouri, and what they need. The conservation status of many of our native songbirds has dramatically changed within our lifetimes. What can we do right in our own yards to help them?

The Terpstra’s yard has been a veritable learning lab for suburban conservation with 147 species of birds recorded, including 36 species of warblers. Margy has taken all of the images in this presentation, which includes birds listed as vulnerable, threatened, and soon-to-be-listed as endangered. She hopes you will be inspired to do at least one thing to help them.

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What I’m Listening To: Native Plant Podcast

By Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Admittedly I am not much of a podcast listener, which is surprising (even to me) given my love of the internet, but I’ve found one that may change all of that: the Native Plant Podcast.

three-men-native-plant-podcast-hosts

Photos courtesy of Native Plant Podcast

Launched in January of 2016, the Native Plant Podcast is regularly hosted by (pictured left to right): Mike Berkley and John Magee, with Jesse Turner making some appearances and handling things behind the scenes.

From their webpage:

“Growing from a friendship forged at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference many moons ago, this rock star trio has brought podcasting to a whole new level. I’m not saying that’s a high level, just a new level. :)”

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Be sure to vote in the Wild Ones Photo Contest

Wild Bergamot leaf with water drops from guttation

2015 People’s Choice winner: Under Pressure Photo by Dawn Weber

The 2016 Wild Ones Photo Contest is underway!

Four members from our chapter submitted photos this year for the contest. After the winners are announced, we will reveal who submitted which photo.

In alphabetical order by category and then title, here are the photos:

Flora: Garden Doodles
Flora: Ice Ribbons
Flora: Swamp Milkweed Nursery for Lacewing Eggs
Pollinators, Insects or Bugs: Bee and My Shadow
Pollinators, Insects or Bugs: Extra Floral Nectary
Pollinators, Insects or Bugs: Robin’s Fall Feast
Pollinators, Insects or Bugs: Silver Spotted Skipper Caterpillar Eating False Indigo Tree
Pollinators, Insects or Bugs: Wild Onion Plant with Ant

The category winners are chosen by judges, and each member has one vote to cast for the People’s Choice award.

In order to vote, you must be a current member and log in to the national Wild Ones website.

Votes must be cast by 12:00 midnight on Thursday August 18, 2016.

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July 2016 monthly gathering highlights

people sitting and listening to a man talking

Wes Boshart leading the monthly gathering in the Wasserman’s backyard

July 6 and 9, 2016
Tessa Wasserman was our hostess for two July yard-tour gatherings. On July 6, 25 members and three guests were welcomed by Marsha Gebhardt, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter President.

Wes Boshart, our chapter Vice-President, welcomed 12 members and seven guests on Saturday, July 9.

When the Wasserman family moved into their current home in the fall of 2010, several trees had been removed to build the two-year-old house and a pool. Due to regrading of land and construction impacts, many canopy trees were weakened and lost. Downspouts and hillsides sent rainwater to neighbors’ yards. The only landscaping was turf, front foundation plantings, and three crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) in the backyard. Large areas of the one-half acre property were covered with invasive bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei), and English ivy (Hedera helix).

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