This month’s program was attended by 22 members and 2 guests who were welcomed by President Ed Schmidt. Membership chair Betty Struckhoff circulated attendance sheet.
Brightside St. Louis’ Executive Director Mary Lou Green was our hostess at the Brightside Demonstration Garden and Learning Center located on the southeast corner of South Kingshighway Blvd and Shenandoah Avenue near Vandeventer Avenue.
Prior to 2011, the flat vacant lot adjacent to the Brightside office had been an eyesore in the neighborhood for more than twenty years. Now it is a beautiful native plant garden that was “designed to educate visitors on best planting and environmentally sustainable practices that can be implemented in yard and neighborhood gardens” while providing the neighborhood with a beautiful green space.
Signage and workshops teach people what they can replicate in their yards and neighborhoods. Brightside’s goal for the demonstration gardens is “to help build environmental awareness and cultivate environmental stewardship through educational workshops and interpretative signage.”
Plants native to Missouri wetland, glade, prairie and woodland habitats allow visitors to learn about the site conditions where these plants thrive. Storm water management is also demonstrated by use of permeable pavements (stone pavers, porous asphalt and porous concrete), rain gardens, rain barrels, and cisterns. These prevent rain from entering the city’s sewer system by keeping rainfall on-site.
Under the adjacent city sidewalks, Silva cells were used. Silva cells are a modular suspended system placed underneath pavement to allow tree roots to grow in uncompacted soil. Thus urban street trees can live for decades instead of a few short years without buckling curbs or sidewalks. The system uses an underground framework for containing lightly compacted soil that supports large trees and absorbs runoff from rain, increasing air and water quality.
Brightside’s Neighbors Naturescaping greening project focuses on enhancing public green spaces in neighborhoods throughout St. Louis with an emphasis on planting Missouri native wildflowers, shrubs and trees. Any neighborhood association, community group, block unit or school in the City of St. Louis is eligible to apply for a greening project for a public space. Hands-on educational workshops are held in Brightside’s Demonstration Garden and Learning Center to help groups prepare to develop and properly care for a neighborhood garden. Applicants may request plants from a recommended plant list, many of which can be seen at the Demonstration Garden, tools and hardscapes. At the workshops, experts teach applicants about Missouri native plants, storm-water management and “the components in Brightside’s garden that can be replicated at home, in neighborhood projects and in community development projects.”
St. Louis graffiti removal – The Brightside graffiti removal team quickly and professionally removes graffiti at no cost to the property owner. Since offering this service, graffiti has been removed from 130,000 vandalized homes, business and other structures all across the city. The program makes a difference in the way people feel about their neighborhoods and safety, while preserving St. Louis neighborhoods and protecting property values.
Founded in 1982, Brightside St. Louis was formerly known as Operation Brightside. It initially began as a cleanup and beautification program. The organization now works with the 79 neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis on a variety of cleanup projects, graffiti removal, and beautification programs including City Hall plantings, downtown median plantings, and daffodil plantings.
Announcements and Volunteer Opportunities
2013 Landscape Challenge
Amy Redfield circulated a sign-up sheet for members and guests to help on planting day, September 21 starting at 9am. The winner’s home is in the city of St. Louis off McCausland Avenue, in the Franz Park neighborhood. Scott Barnes will send email reminders prior to the event.
We co-sponsor the yearly Landscape Challenge with Shaw Nature Reserve and the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.
Brian Hall is currently performing two roles on the website. As webmaster, he maintains the technical side of the site by managing the hosting, doing backups, installing updates, etc. As editor, he writes, solicits, and edits blog posts, web pages and image galleries. Brian would like to train and mentor someone else in either one of those roles. Any member interested in learning how to work with websites or who is a good editor, please contact Brian.
Edgar Denison Day
We have been contacted by Gwyn Wahlmann, Conservation chairperson of Webster Groves Nature Study Society, about Edgar Denison Day in Kirkwood. Her email states: “Kirkwood Mayor McDonnell has agreed to declare April 14th, 2014, ‘Edgar Denison Day’ in Kirkwood. Edgar Denison wrote, photographed and donated for publication the first full-color Missouri Dept. of Conservation field guide to Missouri wildflowers, now in its sixth edition. This opportunity for Missouri wildflower awareness and promotion will be celebrated on Saturday, April 19th, 2014, in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market’s annual Earth Day event.”
At the recent chapter Board meeting, the Board approved participation in the April 19 Kirkwood Farmer’s Market annual Earth Day event. Kirkwood resident Alan Hopefl has agreed to be charge person for the Wild Ones information table and will recruit other Wild Ones Kirkwood residents.
MDC seedling purchase – Betty Struckhoff
Betty will again take charge of MDC seedling purchase for members. She asked for a show of interest from tonight’s attendees. Members may order seedlings for neighbors and friends in the spirit of creating wildlife habitat in our neighborhoods. However Betty will only accept orders from members and hold the member responsible for payment. Ana Grace Schactman volunteered to be Betty’s partner as a back-up and to help package the seedlings.
Wild Ones Annual Membership Meeting
Fran Glass, Ann Earley and Bob Siemer attended the national Annual Membership Meeting at the WILD Center in Neenah, WI.
Ann attended the meeting as our chapter liaison for the national Wild Ones’ Wild for Monarchs Campaign. She reported that the campaign has been extended for one year.
One idea that came from the meeting is to give free Wild Ones student memberships to horticulture students.
School grant program
Our Chapter Board recently approved a grant to the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School for a native planting that will be part of the “Schoolyard Habitat for Place-Based Learning.”
It has come to our attention that some of our past school grant gardens, although started with good intentions, are not well maintained. The Board has decided to utilize the services of Cindy Gilberg to make design suggestions to school applicants plus teach maintenance and provide maintenance schedules.
Possible Metro East chapter
After the October meeting, a brainstorming session will be held to discuss the possibility of establishing a new Wild Ones Illinois chapter in the Metro East area. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to attend.
Next meeting: Saturday, October 5 at 10:30 am, Gordon Moore Park, Alton IL
Tour of the Heartland Prairie, hosted by Nan and Neil Adams. Bring a sack lunch. Drinks and desserts will be provided by the hosts.
Recorded by: Fran Glass, Secretary; Photos by Sherri DeRousse