Happy Anniversary St. Louis Wild Ones

By Terry L. Sebben

This October marks the one-year anniversary of the St. Louis chapter of Wild Ones. Some of you may not be aware of how this chapter began, so let me take this opportunity to fill you in, at least from my point of view.

It was June 5th, 1998 at the Shaw Arboretum Native Plant Conference. Bret Rappaport, president of Wild Ones at the national level, was the keynote speaker, talking about the history of the natural landscaping movement. This was the first time I had heard of this organization, and was quite interested in Wild Ones.

At the end of the evening I approached Scott Woodbury about the possibilities of starting a St. Louis chapter, and discovered that the process had already begun. Bret had thrown out those seeds of information and they had germinated. By mid-June, Scott had contacted me and asked if I wanted to plant a prairie in my yard. He had plants that needed homes or they would die, so naturally I said YES! We used this as an incentive to get more interest for Wild Ones.

On July 5, I gathered 20 friends and family, and in two hours, 500 seedlings had been planted. Those seeds that Bret had so metaphorically thrown out had not only germinated, but were beginning to send up shoots of green and lay roots for future native and natural plantings.

We were on the move, and by August/September we had enough people to form an interest group. That was all we needed, there was a meeting and it was decided that this was a viable plan. By October we had officially become the St. Louis Chapter of Wild Ones! Since that time we have grown to 50 members, and had our first fund raiser by selling plants at the native plant sale this spring at the Arboretum. We are currently in the process of developing some possible community projects. Those roots keep growing deeper and deeper.