Her t-shirt says MODERN FARMER. Architect turned Agri-Innovator Mary Ostafi is one, in spades. Her vision, hard work and business savvy continues to grow St. Louis first urban farm on top of a downtown building: Urban Harvest STL.
When Earthworms last talked with Mary, in June 2015, she was just digging in for her Food Roof's first, short growing season. She had blown through the roof of a Kickstarter campaign and secured a big stormwater management grant and was planting the seeds of her enterprising dream firmly atop the second story of a warehouse building in the city's core.
This year, she and her largely volunteer team are fixin' to post achievement gains well over that first season's impressive growth of 1,033 pounds of food produced from 62 varieties of plants, with 60% of it donated to further Urban Harvest's mission to "Grow Food Where You Live!" Mary Ostafi's timing was perfect for planting her non-profit idea firmly into the living soil of both the sustainable food and food justice movements that are sweeping St. Louis and the country overall. Urban Harvest works in partnership with social service leaders like the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, St. Patrick Center, St. Louis Metro Market and more, and has tapped into the farmer training program of EarthDance Farms to create one job in the farm's first year, and significantly boost the profile of all this collaborative energy. Plus eating WELL - and hosting parties!
Check out the Food Roof as a volunteer, any Saturday morning - and get your tix while they last for RAISE THE ROOF, the first Urban Harvest fund-raiser on Thursday Sept 22 - which happily also happens to be the Autumnal Equinox.
Earthworms salutes you, Mary Ostafi - YOU GROW GREEN GIRL!
Thanks to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.
Music: Redwing by Currycorn - performed live at KDHX March, 2011
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Fruit or Vegetable? To clear up the question in this interview: a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems. BUT there's overlap, thank you tomatoes - and always something else to learn.
Given the persistence of fossil fuels, it's tough to imagine how Ready KiloWatt and his gang can power an optimistic, realistic new era. And with ever-more gizmos guzzling juice, does energy efficiency have a prayer?
YES! say former utility CEO and energy policy authority S. David Freeman and today's Earthworms guest, energy journalist Leah Y. Parks. They are co-authors of a great new book, All-Electric America - A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future (2016, Solar Flare Press). This book is a terrific summary of clean energy options, clearly explaining solar to storage, economics to electric cars - backed by current examples from U.S. cities, businesses, utilities and points of techno-evolution.
Dave Freeman remains optimistic after 7+ decades of energy work, as an architect of the US EPA during the Nixon era, as L.A.'s Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment, and as CEO of utilities in Texas, California and New York. Leah Parks represents their research and writing partnership with clear enthusiasm for the many ways clean electrical technology is HERE, and how even utility evolution inertia is being overcome, in examples like Vermont's Green Mountain Power and Oregon's Pacific Power.
Could America's clean energy future be plugged in and powering up right now? This Earthworms conversation says, energetically, YES!
Music: Dark Matter, recorded live at KDHX by Mad Titans, March 2010
Thanks to Andy Coco, Earthworms live-wire engineer.
More than half of U.S. forested acres belong to private citizens, in plots vast and small. Over 10 million Americans collectively own 420 million acres of our nation's woods. You may be one of them - or could be!
Catskills region forester Josh Vanbrakle has compiled a wealth of know-how for individual forest stewards in his new book, Backyard Woodland - How to Maintain and Sustain Your Trees, Water and Wildlife (The Countryman Press, 2016). Josh's love of the woods rings through this Earthworms conversation, as he shares his expertise in evaluating woodland health, getting families involved in ownership, recruiting neighboring eyes and ears to help you oversee your land's well-being and making some of your living by "doing well by your land."
From growing your enjoyment of nature to farming your forest - in city, suburbs or countryside - these ideas can work for you, and for woodlands you could come to know.
Music: "Frankie & Johnny" performed by Brian Curran, live at KDHX-St. Louis.
Related Earthworms Conversations: A Tribute to Leo Drey (June 2, 2015) - honoring Missouri's largest private landowner whose untutored diligence is transforming forest management conventions in universities and government agencies across the U.S.
Scientists have used hidden cameras to study and explore as long as we've had them. Today's camera trap equipment lets professionals and Citizen Scientists in on the hidden habits of critters that are often so shy - especially mammal predators - that they're impossible to simply see. SNAP! These gizmos provide an "Animal Selfie" view of nature!
Earthworms' guest Roland Kays has compiled pix from the files of camera trappers world-wide into the first book ever showing their best views of rare, endangered and also healthy species. Candid Creatures - How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature (2016, Johns Hopkins University Press) presents selections from millions of possible photos. We get to see individual species AND an exciting, important report of camera-trapping conservation research.
You can participate in this vivid, accessible biodiversity work! Kays is collaborating with the Smithsonian as leader of the eMammal project, a volunteer effort to study the effects of hunting and hiking on wildlife. Citizen Science recruitment is on, for adults, families, teachers and students. Camera-trapping equipment is so common now, Wal-Mart sells it.
Let Earthworms know if you get involved!
Roland Kays heads the Biodiversity and Earth Observation Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and is a research associate professor at North Carolina State University. He is also the author of Mammals of North America, a field guide that has become a smart phone app.
Music: Dirty Slide by Brian Curran - performed live at KDHX-St. Louis, December 2015.
Back in 1990, the first national Sun Race attracted teams of solar car designers/builders/drivers in vehicles lugging 300+ pounds of lead acid batteries.
Cross-country solar racing today is lighter, smarter, and still attractive to college teams from across the U.S.
Gail Lueck was a student on a solar car team in 2001. She now coordinates the American Solar Challenge Formula Sun Grand Prix - and talks with Earthworms about this luminous and influential event. Two teams in the KDHX listening area join this conversation too. Jackson Walker represents the Ra 9 solar car team from Principia College in Elsah Illinois. John Schoeberle represents the Solar Miner car team from Missouri S & T University in Rolla Missouri. Today's Earthworms guests talk with us from qualifying events at Pittsburg International Raceway. This conversation illuminates experiences that are bringing solar cars into the mainstream. What a trip for all participants!
YOU can see the cars and meet the racers on Monday August 1 in St. Louis! This Checkpoint Rally is hosted by the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and Grant's Farm - part of an historic partnership this year with the National Park Service. During the 1,975 mile American Solar Challenge run, from July 30-August 6, racing teams will stop at 9 National Park Service sites in 7 states, celebrating the NPS Centennial.
Good luck to our KDHX area Solar Racing teams!
Special THANKS to Lauren Koske, Earthworms summer intern engineer.
Music: Cadillac Desert, by William Tyler performed at KDHX July 2013.
This is Mosquito Season. Those pesky bugs buzz out in force after every rain - especially in super-hot weather. The City of St. Louis Health Department wants you to know how we ALL can control mosquitos:
Fight the Bite with the Four D's
Earthworms guests are the Mosquito Team from the City of St. Louis Health Dept. Jeanine Arrighi, Health Services Manager, and professional interns Sydney Gosik and Bindi Patel are making the rounds of community events and public gatherings to educate all ages about mosquito breeding habits, and they ways we all can take control of the bug-breeding that can lead to serious diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus.
Our local government health officials are working with state and federal agencies to update information about mosquito-transmitted diseases, as well as tracking mosquito species of concern. Yes, they can run fogging trucks too, but this expensive control option - which only kills adult mosquitos the spray contacts, along with butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects - is now seen as a backup to "Four-D" type controls of biting and breeding situations.
Music: Dark Matter - performed live at KDHX by Mad Titans, March 2010
Earthworms engineer is Lauren Koske, KDHX digital media intern.
Jeff Suchland once raised cattle on his rolling land near Missouri's Cuivre River. Cows were good, but he wanted to work "more gently with the ground." Enter the Alpaca (Vicugna pacos), a small herding relative of camels, native to South America's Andes mountains. Exit the cows. Jeff's enterprise is now Alpacas of Troy.
Unlike their load-bearing larger cousins, llamas, alpacas are bred to produce fiber. The "blankets" of alpaca hair Jeff shears each spring yield exquisitely fine, warm, soft fiber prized by spinners and knitters. If you have to shun wool's scratchy feeling, prepare your skin for pleasure when you feel Alpaca.
Raising alpacas is an artisan kind of farming, that Jeff Suchland believes is a growth niche. He enthusiastically teaches that his can be a viable livelihood for others too, especially when raising the animals gets combined with milling, those first processes of working with alpaca fiber.
Jeff is a passionate advocate for fiber farming with alpacas. He offers farm tours (by reservation), gives workshops in shearing, dying and more - and sells his farm's fiber goods at Farmers Markets, area-wide. Earthworms met Alpacas of Troy a the Maplewood Farmers Market, hosted each Wednesday at the Schlafly Bottleworks.
The title of one of Jeff's workshops sums up his views: Raising Alpacas for Happiness: Harmonizing Management and Preparing to Profit.
Music: Big Piney Blues performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran, December 2015
Related Earthworms Conversations: Farmer Girl Meats with Leslie Moore - June 2015
So today's average child can identify over 300 corporate logos - but only 10 plants ad animals native to where that kid lives. Yikes! Will humans a generation from now not care about the environment?
Not if Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman can help it! They are co-authors of the brand new Big Book of Nature Activities (June, 2016 - New Society Publishers). It's 384 pages are packed with games, crafts, stories and science-strong activities guaranteed to get the most resistant kid away from the screen and outdoors, discovering. Oriented to help parents, teachers and enviro-educators open nature's wonder-gifts just enough to excite a child's curiosity, this book combines it's creators' experience in all these adult roles.
Organized to convey key ecological concepts like phenology - natural changes through the seasons - nature learning-play using this guide will build sound science knowledge (painlessly) by engaging our human senses and fueling curiosity, kids' engine of learning. Happily, in the natural world, there is no end to what we can discover, about our Earth and - in relationship to nature - about ourselves. At any age, but especially in childhood. And we need this connection, this "Vitamin N," for kids of all ages today.
Check it out as a fun companion on your summer adventures. Earthworms bets you'll keep this BIG Book around, year-round. Enjoy!
Music: Sweet Georgia Brown - whistled live at KDHX by Randy Erwin, June 2010.
Related Earthworms Conversations: In 'Toon, Greenly, with Poet and Enviro-Cartoonist Joe Mohr (November 2015)
Ed Maggart and Experiential Education (March 2015)
Mayors of large and small towns along the Mississippi's 2500 flowing miles are championing this region's economic, security and ecological interests on the world stage.
Mayor members of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative presented this month at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit. They participated in the COP-21 Paris Climate Talks last December, advocating for ecologically sound river basin management. MRCTI Mayors have been instrumental in hammering out and recruiting signatories to an "International River Basin Agreement to Mitigate Climate Risk by Achieving Food and Water Security."
These are Mayors of towns like St. Paul, Minnesota, Dubuque, Iowa, Gretna, Louisiana. An MRCTI founder is St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. Many of these individuals have "regular jobs" in addition to serving as Mayors. They are working together - and with leaders from towns and nations around the world - to safeguard water quality, advocate for sustainable development, and promote river economy in concert with environmental protection. Quite the gig!
Colin Wellenkamp, MRCTI Executive Director, reports to Earthworms about this extraordinary, influential work: how it's evolving, and a bit about what it's like for individuals who have "run for Mayor" and are working, influentially, in a global way.
Music: Balkan Twirl - performed live at KDHX by Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth Trio, June 2009
Related Earthworms Conversations: Mighty Mississippi Gets a Report Card - October 2015
From deep family roots, across several stretches of grassland acreage, "Regenerative Farming" practices are yielding right livelihood (including a reasonable $$ living) for the human, animal and ecological partners in the enterprise Farmer Girl Meats.
Earthworms guest Leslie Moore is a third-generation farmer girl who, like many of her time and place, left a life on the the land for the city. Surprise! She's back, and putting to super-smart use her urban experience and degrees in biology, business and marketing. On the rising local food tide, Leslie joined her family's forces with a select group of farming friends and neighbors and launched a unique business to "get more good meat on more plates."
The business model of Farmer Girl Meats keeps both process and economic quality high, by delivering pasture-raised meats (beef, pork, lamb, and poultry) directly to customers. And Leslie's passion for the synergies of grass, soil, animals, health and the power of cooperating people sings through her explanation of wholistic land management, for the health of all involved and - most importantly - the land.
The only thing you won't find in this conversation is the taste of Farmer Girl's craft meat products. We'll leave that element up to you!
Music: Audrey's Bounce, performed live at KDHX by the Western Satellites (2014)
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Serena Cochran on Humane Farming (April 2014)
Want to start an urban garden? Or grow your garden-sized enterprise into a feeding others, providing livelihood for yourself urban FARM? There's a brand new "toolkit" in town for you. Melissa Vatterott, Food & Farms Coordinator for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment returns to Earthworms to present the topics covered in this guide.
Urban Ag issues include ordinances (the City Chicken Limit), water access (can you tap into a neighboring property's hose bib, or do you need to install a costly water line?), and zoning for types of structures (tool sheds, high tunnels) and location-specific land usage.
Opportunities, on the other hand, are great - and growing - in the St. Louis region! We have lots of vacant land, the climate for three-season food production, good soil, and abundant water, even in times of drought. We have partnerships like these toolkit supporters in the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition: Gateway Greening and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension. And we have leaders like Melissa Vatterott, cultivating data along with berries, greens and carrots, to ensure the viability and fund-ability of our growing Urban Farming culture.
Dig into the new Guide to Urban Agriculture and Urban Farming in St. Louis - and help yourself, your neighborhood and your local farmers grow capacity to feed our region!
Music: Magic 9, performed live by the Infamous Stringdusters, at KDHX in June, 2011.
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Melissa Vatterott on the St. Louis Regional Foodshed Study - December 29, 2015.
LaVista Farmer Crystal Stevens (Earthworms' farmer!) - July 29, 2015
Farming on a Downtown Roof: Urban Harvest STL - June 30, 2015
Pawpaw, America's Forgotten Fruit - September 30, 2015
Project Garlic: Crop-Sourcing the Super-Bulb - October 13, 2015
Kids in Waldorf school prepare their own snacks, often from food they have grown in their school garden! They cultivate learning for Head, Hands and Heart. They learn by telling stories, from Fairy Tales in first grade to Viking Tales in fourth. Athletics include the classic Greek events of the pentathlon. Media-based learning is extremely limited. Waldorf graduates are 50% more likely to go into sciences and math compared to the national average. Art and Music weave through every school experience, and Nature is a major teacher.
Kelly Childs, St. Louis Waldorf School parent and board member, shares her experience and knowledge about this internationally recognized educational "alternative" with Earthworms' Jean Ponzi. Among the many practical to deeply philosophical elements of Waldorf education in this conversation, Kelly's favorite is that students - her two children and their friends - are going through school LOVING learning.
Plus, these young humans are growing up loving (and loving to learn about) nature.
What a concept!
The Waldorf School of St. Louis invites adults to a workshop on Saturday June 11, 9 a.m. to noon, on "Awakening Empathy in the Heart of Community." featuring Dr. John Cunningham, proponent of nonviolent communications and compassionate communication.
Music: Who Gives by Brian Curran, performed at KDHX December 2015.
Fleeing military conscription and a "landless" future in his native Denmark, Jens Jensen fell in love with the vast though fast-disappearing prairies around Chicago, his adopted home. He saw democracy embodied in these open spaces. His life-work became growing "American Gardens" with these American (today we call them NATIVE) plants, bringing nature into the burgeoning city, as a source of public good.
Earthworms welcomes filmmaker Carey Lundin to talk about her story of legendary landscape designer and public parks advocate, Jens Jensen The Living Green. Jensen (1860-1951) incorporated native plants into sought-after landscape design in an era when gardens here had merely mimicked the formalities and plant types of Europe. He appreciated and popularlized the natural beauties of prairie even as Chicago's growth gobbled up its prairie outskirts.
A free St. Louis screening of this film will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Carol Davit, Executive Director of MPF, also talks with Earthworms, about this organization that conserves, studies and helps restore the biodiverse native grasslands that once covered central North America. Sponsored by Roeslein Alternative Energy, a company researching sustainable-energy use of prairie biomass, The Living Green will fill the outdoor Public Media Commons of the NineNetwork for Public Media on Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m.
Music: Big Piney Blues, performed by Brian Curran live at KDHX, December 2015.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Prairie Power, March 30, 2016.
Wes Jackson: Growing Our Food Crops as Prairies, September 2, 2015.
Their swooping loopy high-flying aerobatics are a spirit lifter when you see them, especially if you're watching a mature male Martin, feathered out in his iridescent "purple dress." Their unique housing preference, cavities in structures put up on poles that can look, literally, like a miniature rooming-house, has established the Purple Martin as a species interdependent with humans. Their migrational return each spring makes a soaring connection for us, through these iconic birds, with nature.
John Miller, Earthworms' guest today, has been watching and learning about (and from) Purple Martins since he was a teenager. He has become St. Louis' Purple Martin Guy, volunteering here for the Purple Martin Conservation Association as a speaker, bird walk leader and general human ally for these birds. John oversees Purple Martin colonies in Forest Park, at the Missouri Botanical Garden, in Queeny Park in St. Louis County and other locations.
When you've heard about Purple Martins here, go see them - with the Purple Martin Guy! The First Saturday Bird Walks in Forest Park will spotlight Martins on Saturday morning, June 4. Meet at 8:15 at the Forest Park Forever Visitor Center. John will be the kind of quiet, quick-moving guy whose fancy for America's Most Wanted Bird just might take wing for you too.
Music: Frankie and Johnny, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran (Nov., 2015)
Inducted into the Garden Writers of America Hall of Fame in2005,
plants his messages eloquentlyinto the minds and hearts
of plant-lovers everywhere. Hisbook
"Teamingwith Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil FoodWeb" is a ground-breaking (ha-ha, Jeff) tour of MotherNature's network of plant-boosting relationships.
Meet these underground powerhouse communities: from mycorrhizalnetworks to nitrogen-fixing bacteria to the nematodes andprotozoans that convert atmospheric Carbon into usable plant food.Jeff Lowenfels knows and loves them all - and explains theyimportance to gardeners and farmers at every growing scale.
Intrigued by this Earthworms introduction to the Soil Food Web?Don't miss Jeff Lowenfels' FREE St. Louis talk on Weds May 11. In theWild Ideas Worth Sharing speaker series, this talk is presented bythe Deer Creek Watershed Alliance, BiodiverseCity St. Louis and theAcademy of Science St. Louis. The event is FREE at MICDs,5-11-16 6:30-9:30 p.m. but registration isrequired. Also speaking: James Sotillo, one of the nation'sleading Soil Life Consultants, currently working on rebuilding soilhealth for the renovated Gateway Arch grounds in St. Louis.
Once you hear Jeff's perspectives on soil life, you'll neverdish the dirt again!
Music: Extreme Stomp - Performed by PokeyLaFarge and Ryan Spearman at KDHX-St. Louis.
Brian Ettling wears many hats: the Smokey Bear Stratton of a National Park Ranger, some cool driving/cycling caps, and the Green fedora of a citizen spokesperson for the (international) Climate Reality Project. Brian talks to Earthworms today by phone, en route to his summer seasonal ranger gig at Crater Lake National Park - where one of his interpretive duties is to talk to visitors from around the globe about the issue of Climate Change.
What are some conversational keys to engage one's fellow humans with this topic, especially when the guy you're talking to is convinced it's all a hyped-up myth? And how can HOPE always figure in to a topic that's so huge it freezes up people's capacity to care and respond? Brian Ettling has worked this out - as you, dear Earthworms listener, will hear, and can see in some of his personal postings.
This conversation also says HAPPY CENTENNIAL to our U.S. National Park Service, in the first of this year's Earthworms spotlights on this jewel of nature and culture.
Music: Cadillac Desert - performed live at KDHX-St. Louis by William Tyler.
Related Earthworms Interviews: David Henry, Climate Walker (12-15-15)
Around our world, artisans in all media are able to thrive because of stores like Zee Bee Market, a proud local member of the Fair Trade Federation. St. Louis retailer Julio Zegarra-Ballon, a native of Peru, melliflously articulates the principles of fair trade in this Earthworms conversation.
Goods Julio has brought to the KDHX studio embody collaborative relationships between seller and maker, to develop product lines both novel and useful. These exchanges go beyond protection, to enhance the social, economic and environmental well-being of global cultures, sources of Zee Bee's wares.
Thanks to Stacey Bernard, host of Backroads, Saturday mornings on KDHX, for introducing Earthworms to Zee Bee Market and its owner, Julio Zegarra-Ballon.
Music: Infernal Piano Plot, performed live at KDHX by the Claudettes.
Head south in St. Louis to Cherokee Street for a new celebration of Earth Day at The Blue Pearl. Owner Julie Sommers and friends are gathering music - speakers - poetry - great food and drink, and Green activities for kids to celebrate our Blue Planet! Festivities start at 3 p.m. on Friday April 22 - EARTH DAY!
One special speaker is Earthworms guest Tabitha Tripp, a life-long tree lover, dirt worshipper and resident of Southern Illinois. Tabitha reports on issues - and the beauty of her part of her state - from the Heartwood Forest Council and SAFE, Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing our Environment. She shares some original, personal poetry from her activist experience. In her spare time, Tabitha is a mom, a poet and painter and one hellacious cook.
Other Blue Pearl Earth Day speakers will address Pop-Up Prairies, Cool Roofs, Energy and Nuclear Waste issues - and much more. Music will jam up all spaces!
Cherokee is one of the liveliest, oldest, most diverse street scenes in town. This year Earth lovers will flock there - and rock there! Hope to see you there too!
Music: Butter II recorded at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case
Earthworms' KDHX listening area is rich in water, surrounded by rivers, blessed with (thankfully) abundant rainfall - yet do we SEE these priceless resources around us? Artists Libby Reuter and Sun Smith-Foret are about to open our eyes.
Libby and Joshua Rowan continue to join their sculptural and photographic forces in the eloquent project Watershed Cairns, water marked with art. Libby's glass sculptures are created to be photographed by Josh in sensitive or damaged or simply glorious watershed locales. This multi-year creative flow has built a stunning body of work, seen in St. Louis and other cities.
Sun Smith-Foret's new Riverwork Project incorporates river images by 60 regional artists in a regional, multi-racial collaboration that has produced a 300-foot long pieced, layered, painted and embroidered textile. Riverwork is also designed to pack up and travel - upstream, downriver and into the minds and hearts of viewers.
See Water will be exhibited at the St. Louis Artist Guild - 12 North Jackson in Clayton, Missouri - opening reception 5-8 pm on Friday April 22 - EARTH DAY! - and on view through May 12. Join a Walkabout with the artists on Wednesday May 4, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
How will you See Water after seeing this work - and hearing this Earthworms conversation?
Music: Butter II recorded live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case
Artist Sarah Loynd creates around sustainable themes - and wears her messages, boldly. Her media ranges from an invasive plant to villages in Greece abandoned as bauxite mining takes over, to humane concerns for both cows and children. She doesn't flinch from tough topics as she fashions (literally) head-turning pieces.
About to earn a BFA from Maryville University, Loynd's work in the Studio Art 2016 Senior Show will be on view April 11 - May 12 in May Foundation Gallery on the Maryville campus in Chesterfield, with an opening reception on April 14, 5-7 p.m. "Creative Eradication," her bush honeysuckle gown, was recently on view at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Music: Abdiel - performed live at KDHX by Dave Black.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat (March 2, 2016)
The Missouri Prairie Foundation is celebrating 50 years of studying, growing, restoring and promoting one of the most productive - and dwindling - ecosystems on Earth. MPF Director, Carol Davit talks with Earthworms' Jean Ponzi about these "seas of grass" and their importance to both repairing and supporting human interaction with nature. Jon Wingo also joins this conversation, adding his considerable experience as Board past-President of MPF and President of DJM Ecological Services, a landscaping firm that specializes in work with native plants (enjoy Jon's and DJM's work on any St. Louis roam around the wilder areas of Forest Park).
MPF now manages Grow Native! one of the nation's most outstanding and prolifically engaging native plant promotional programs. The twofold purpose of Grow Native! is to increase supply and increase demand, working with native plants. Look for the purple tags or display areas in almost any locally-owned garden center and you'll see living evidence of Grow Native! achievements - plus you'll be strongly tempted to try some natives on your own grounds.
MPF events this spring will include plant sales, Bioblitz on an original remnant prairie near Mt. Vernon MO, a regional celebration of National Prairie Day (June 4), Grow Native! workshops - and more. Membership in MPF brings you the quarterly Missouri Prairie Journal, a delightful hybrid of public information and scholarly research.
Music: Limehouse Blues - recorded live at KDHX by Del McCoury Band
Related Earthworms Conversations:
It's April 22 on the calendar - it's much more around Earthworms' town, thanks to the year-round Earth-tacular efforts of our local non-profit St. Louis Earth Day.
Today's guests are SLED Executive Director Jen Meyerscough and Bob Henkel (Champion of Compost), who heads up event Greening spring through fall by Recycling On The Go, and helps coordinate special SLED events.
Details on the Recycling Extravaganza - this year on Sunday April 3, 10 am to 2 p.m. - include just some of the 20+ businesses and service organizations who'll be on hand to accept and properly deal with all kinds of hard-to-recycle (or reuse) items, from prescription drugs to carpeting to Mardi Gras beads. Check out the lineup online and pack your bike, car or buggy to dole out your items as you work your way around the St. Louis Community College - Forest Park campus parking lot. You - and your basement - will be glad you recycled at REX!
And Earthworms looks ahead to the best Earth Day Festival in the USA, put on by folks who know their stuff and packed with good learning, Green eating, groovy music, unparalleled people-watching - and FUN. On Sunday April 24, 10 am to 6 p.m., join your fellow Earthlings on The Muny grounds in Forest Park for a planet party that produces almost Zero waste.
Earthworms will see you there - starting at twilight on Saturday April 23, for SLED's big-fun fundraiser Earth Day Eve.
Thanks to engineer Haley Hudson.
Music: Mayor Harrison's Fedora, performed live at KDHX by Kevin Buckley and Ian Walsh.
Permaculture is a design discipline that strives to work with nature, pointing us to the solution that's found in the problem. Permaculture practitioner, teacher and advocate Tao Orion has drawn on her work in Oregon's Willamette Valley to research and write "Beyond the WAR on Invasive Species" (2015, Chelsea Green). She presents long-view ecological perspectives on the kinds of eco-problems exemplified by invasive species - and how we humans can change our thinking, our processes, our questions into accord with Earth's systems. From edible landscapes to herbicide use, this conversation challenges easy-answer thinking.
This show follows up on resources shared (March 1) by St. Louis leaders of the Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habit, an effort to tackle one our region's most problematic invasive species
Earthworms values good questions - with thanks to you for listening and considering!
Music: Magic 9 performed live at KDHX studios by Infamous Stringdusters.
Related Earthworms interviews: Growing our food crops as prairies? - with Wes Jackson of The Land Institute (9- 2- 2015)
Missouri's Pioneer Forest exemplifies ecological stewardship - from A Tribute to Leo Drey (6-2-2015)
Move over, motors. In 2015, St. Louis ranked 5th among the 50 largest US cities where bike commuting is growing fast. Ranks of two-wheeled regular travelers here have swelled 270% since 2000. Cycling is a real commuter option, plus being anytime FUN.
Taylor March takes this Earthworms podcast on a try-cycling tour. He rides to work as Education and Encouragement Manager for Trailnet, STL's long-serving active living non-profit org. You'll be encouraged to get around Greener by Taylor's perspectives on cycling safety, confident commuting, and how this region is truly transforming travel routes to support low-carbon, high-health alternative transportation.
Find Trailnet on Facebook for special events, from get-togethers like Bikes & Brews to regional amenities on Bike To Work Day (May 20, 2016), which generates miles of data to make the case for civic investing in cycling infrastructure. Memberships support Trailnet's advocacy, work that's cranking' vitality for St. Louis bicycling culture.
See you in the bike lanes!
Music: Hunter's Permit by Mr. Sun, recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Elizabeth Simons of Great Rivers Greenway previewed STL potentials for BikeShare, a program working in cities like Portland OR and Washington DC (May 14, 2014). We're not quite there yet, but the upticks in cycling Trailnet supports are laying foundations for this urban amenity.
Ah, that first refreshing flush of Green! Enlivening our yards and roadways. Aaahhh, so lovely . . . . NOT! The earliest leaf-er in our area is one of our most Invasive Species: Lonicera maackii, Bush Honeysuckle. The Kudzu of Missouri. AAARRRRGGGHHHH!
What's a person with a honeysuckle "privacy hedge" to do?
Theodore Smith of Forest Park Forever explains why this plant is such a problem - and how to remove it, safely and effectively. Artisan and woodworker Dale Dufer invites you to consider this too-abundant plant matter as a creative resource. His project Think About Tables is inspiring adults and youth to make something useful and beautiful from a plant that really grows quite elegantly (except too much, here). And Meg Hoester of the Missouri Botanical Garden invites you to participate in this region's first-ever Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat, coming up March 5-13. Environmental groups all around St. Louis are teaming up - before tick and chigger season - to lead volunteers in bush honeysuckle removal, learn why this plant is such a problem, and get introduced to Native Plants as healthy habitat replacements, when you get rid of your bush honeysuckle.
Lace up your sturdy boots, grab a clipper and give Bush Honeysuckle a pull!
Music: Balkan Twirl - Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth Trio, recorded at KDHX.
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Rebecca Girresch on Maryville University's Goat Project, a cloven-hooved experiment in bush honeysuckle remediation. (April 15, 2014)
Dr. Kyra Krakos on Maryville University's Bauhaus Botany bush honeysuckle art exhibition (October 14, 2014)
Horticulturist Bill Davit (one of Missouri's Living Treasures!) on growing prairies, ecosystems where Native Plants are splendid. (September 11, 2014)
Remembering Edgar Dennison, the illustrious early advocate of gardening with Native Plants and author of the classic "Missouri Wildflowers." With Missouri Botanical Garden's Dr. George Yatskievych and Scott Woodbury. (April, 2014)