April meeting minutes

PROGRAM

Joshua Wibbenmeyer, Nature Reserve Steward, led 19 Wild Ones members and 7 guests on a tour of Kennedy Forest in Forest Park. Josh discussed restoration and management, history of the forest, and wildflower/tree identification.

Forest Park, with the exception of Kennedy Woods, was deforested for the 1904 World’s Fair. Kennedy Woods is 40 acres out of the park’s 1,300 acres. In 1986, Forest Park Forever was created as a private, nonprofit organization to work in partnership with the City of St. Louis to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park as one of America’s great urban public parks. After years of the woods’ neglect and decline, the Missouri Department of Conservation assisted the Kennedy Woods Advisory Group and volunteers with ecological restoration, including removal of invasive species, thinning of the tree canopy, introduction of tree and understory plants, and controlled burns.

During the tour, while we were looking at wildflowers in the Kennedy Forest, members spontaneously began pulling bush honeysuckle and euonymus. This led to a discussion of volunteer opportunities in the park. Josh Wibbenmeyer later communicated to Ed Schmidt, Wild Ones Chapter President:

“The park’s nature reserve has two small volunteer groups every Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 9-noon. Typical job duties involve controlling honeysuckle, garlic mustard, sweet clover, Japanese hops, among many others, as well as collecting and processing native seed and planting native plugs and trees. I myself would welcome anyone from Wild Ones to join us in our efforts here in the park. You all seem very knowledgeable and passionate about protecting native plants. Also, keep in mind that we welcome larger, 1-day volunteer groups if you would like to set something like that up.” To volunteer, contact Volunteer Coordinator Anne Grossman at agrossmann@forestparkforever.org.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

School Grants
Kathy Bildner announced that our chapter has awarded a grant to McKinley Meadows Community Garden, in a St. Louis neighborhood that is part of the city’s Sustainable Initiative program.

Sunset Hills Earth Day Celebration – Saturday, April 18.
Ann Earley and Bob Siemer will staff the morning shift at Sunset Hills’ Earth Day Celebration on April 18. Fran Glass circulated a volunteer sign-up sheet to staff our educational booth for the afternoon shift.

St. Louis Earth Day Festival in Forest Park – April 26
Seedling wrapping – April 25
Fran Glass circulated volunteer sign-up sheets to staff our educational booth at the Festival and for wrapping MDC seedlings to give away.

Spring Wildflower Market at Shaw Nature Reserve – May 9 and 10
A sign-up sheet for volunteers to help set-up, staff, and take down our native plant sale booth at the Spring Wildflower Market was circulated.

St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour – June 20
Our chapter is partnering with St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program to sponsor a self-guided tour featuring ten residential native plant gardens. All of the yards are in central St. Louis County including Brentwood, Clayton, Glendale, Kirkwood and Webster Groves, and are certified by the Bring Conservation Home program.
Date: June 20, 2015 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $20 per person
Register online

Two shifts of two volunteers at each site will help during the tour. Marsha Gebhardt circulated a sign-up sheet for volunteers.

Seedling Distribution
Distribution of seedlings from the Missouri Department of Conservation that were ordered in November took place. Extras were available for a very small fee – first come, first served.

Next meeting
May 6, 2015, 6:30pm
Yard tour at home of Betty Struckhoff.
For directions see our online calendar.

Recorded by:  Fran Glass, Secretary