URBAN MONARCH CONSERVATION: WithSummer in full bloom, many places in the City are being visited by lovely Monarch Butterflies. If you are among the hundreds of people who created a monarch garden, you might get some special viewing opportunities, like those who took part in the Monarch Photo Contest last fall. Congratulations to all of the 2017 St. Louis Monarch Photo Contest winners! Featured here is Matt Green’s Grand Prize winning photo.
Brightside St. Louis led the City’s grant award from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to create 31 acres of monarch habitat. This new pollinator pathway along the Mississippi River, called the St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway, is now complete and in its first growing season. A new Butterfly Byway Map shows the size and locations of the Butterfly Byway areas, and where you are likely to spot a terrific Butterfly Byway Interpretive Panel with information relevant to creating habitat to support pollinators.
I recently served on the Urban and Developed Areas technical work group that contributed to a comprehensive Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy. It is filled with facts and ideas for helping monarchs; of course Milkweeds for Monarch: The St. Louis Butterfly Project is featured. Mark your calendar: in celebration of National Public Lands Day 2018, the City and National Park Service will again co-host events on the Arch Grounds on September 29, 2018. There will be aMississippi River Volunteer Clean Up event on the Riverfront from 9 a.m. to noon, and The Great MonArch Migration Event will be held September 29th from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. It should be a great opportunity to see monarchs migrating near the Arch. This year’s event will be held both inside and outside the Gateway Arch National Park Museum. Join us to practice your citizen science efforts using the iNaturalist app, take photos, engage in monarch-themed activities, enjoy snacks and take home special items, like plants and seeds.
OTHER URBAN ECOLOGY:
There are several exciting updates to share about The Green City Coalition, including new grants to implement a 9-acre Wells Goodfellow Neighborhood Green Space Project, a "Vacancy to Vibrancy" art project in Walnut Park, and the launch of a pilot building materials deconstruction project. The Green City Coalition of partners focuses its greening efforts in neighborhoods in the City where there are high concentrations of vacant properties. For information, photos and details about this work, check out the new Green City Coalition website or Facebook page.
The City is fortunate to have Forest ReLeaf of Missouri managing the City’s Partners for Places Green Infrastructure Community Tree Planting grant. Local funding from the W.A. Kerr Foundation and Commerce Bancshares Foundation permitted us to partner with STL Youth Jobs and hire 6 youth to pilot a new Tree Tenders program. Over the summer, the youth interfaced with Forest ReLeaf, the City’s Forestry Division and the Missouri Botanical Garden, while learning about and helping support urban forestry and natural resource management in the City.
ST. LOUIS CLIMATE PROTECTION INITIATIVE:
SLDC and the City’s Building Division are using funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to launch a Small Business Energy Initiative that furthers the goals of the City Energy Project and takes advantage of Set The PACE St. Louis energy efficiency financing opportunities. Starting this Fall, small businesses will be able to obtain free energy audits, energy efficiency consulting, energy improvement financing and green leasing consulting. To learn more about energy audits and the Sustainable Building Energy Initiative, attend an educational workshop on August 29that the US Green Building Council building at 4651 Shaw Blvd. The workshop will also highlight financial options available to small businesses through Set The PACE St. Louis and utility incentives. For energy service providers: note the Request for Qualifications(RFQ) for Energy Audit Services is available until August 14th.
SAVE THE DATE: St. Louis Climate Celebration & Contest:
The New American Road Trip in St. Louis, September 21st
The New American Road Trip – an electric-vehicle car ride across America – will be travelling across the U.S., connecting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco to the One Planet Summit in New York and stopping in the City of St. Louis on the 7th day of the 12-day journey. The Road Trip crew will be joined by Mayor Krewson to celebrate the local-level climate solutions happening in St. Louis and uplift local climate leaders in the public and private sectors. People will have the opportunity to participate in “Ride and Drives” of electric vehicles, sign onto the Global Climate Action Summit’s “Call to Global Climate Action,” and hear about how to get involved in the incredible initiatives happening at the local level to have a positive impact on our shared future. Winners of the New American Road Trip Contest, an Instagram contest showcasing innovation in low-carbon everyday transportation, will be announced and there will be fun for the whole family. Contest details will be posted shortly.
Public Transit & Alternative Transportation - The first quarter-mile of the Chouteau Greenway section officially opened on July 31st during a public dedication ceremony. When complete, the ambitious Chouteau Greenway will connect the Arch and Forest Park with a paved walking and cycling path that is separated from traffic in an effort to enhance effective sustainable transportation opportunities. As part of the project, the newly constructed Cortex MetroLink Station will provide a convenient connection for the thousands of employees and visitors traveling through the central corridor of St. Louis.
Dockless Bike Share - The newly introduced dockless bike programs are off to a terrific start. In April, Lime Bike and Ofo introduced about 2,200 bikes, and the initial success is seen in these impressive figures from April to July 1st. Of special note, St. Louis wasfeatured by The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and lauded for its strong equity components that help support transportation options in underserved communities.
GET INVOLVED! PROVIDE INPUT! ENGAGE IN SUSTAINABILITY!
Learn, Mentor, Share your Opinion:
- Green School Quest Mentor: Apply here before August 31st to be a USGBC mentor and help schools implement creative, effective and no/low cost sustainable practices.
- St. Louis ArtWorks Apprentice Program: Young creatives (14 - 18 years old) in the STL metro area are invited to apply to paid apprenticeships in the arts in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Interviews held in August.
- The Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan effort is underway, and your input is especially valuable if provided before August 31st.
- Check out the videos from the Saint Louis Climate Summit 2018: Where world-renowned experts in climate science discussed key issues, achievements and the path forward from the Summit that was held at Saint Louis University in April.
Funding and Resource Opportunities:
- Community Development Administration (CDA) Funding Opportunities:
- Gateway Greening gardens are eligible to apply for additional tools or materials in the fall expansion grant. Apply by August 19th.
- Apply for a special grant to win a Captain Planet Foundation Project Learning Garden® for your school! Application due by August 31st.
- SLDC is offering Building Facade/Public Improvement Grants up to $20,000 for small businesses. More information available here.
Attend A Sustainability Event: (All events free and held in the City of St. Louis)
- The Health and Wellness in Kiener Plaza Series is underway with Sunrise Yoga, at 7:00am every Tuesday.
- Bright Ideas Expo at the Saint Louis Science Center August 11th from 9:30am- 4:30 pm. Learn how science and creativity mirror each other!
- Learn how to be an urban beekeeper: August 15th from 6:30pm – 7:30pm at Urban Chestnut (4465 Manchester Avenue), and how to prep your bees for winter on August 18th at the Carriage House at 10:00am.
- Gateway Arch concert series: The 3rd annual Blues at the Arch FREE concert series is happening every Friday in August from 6:00pm- 8:30pm at the North Gateway.
- Check out the Meet Me Outdoors Photography exhibit being held at the Missouri Botanical Garden- Monsanto Hall being held through August 31st.
- An educational session discussing energy efficiency resources and financing for small businesses and building owners will occur at the USGBC on August 29th from 9:00-10:30am at 4651 Shaw Blvd.
- WOW Outdoor Conservation School Opportunity: Register by September 14th to attend a fantastic day of outdoor activities in Forest Park on October 6th, with optional overnight camping in Robertsville State Park. Nominal fee, but financial assistance is available.
- Unstash that Trash! Is a recycling event and hands-on learning opportunity on September 15 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the William J. Harrison Education Center (3140 Cass Ave).
- The New American Road Trip Friday evening, September 21st, exact time/ location tba
- Green City Coalition’s Wells Goodfellow Public Lands Day Celebration on September 22nd from 9:00am-12:00pm at Barrett Brothers Park Pavilion.
- The Great MonArch Migration Event (September 29th 10:00 am - 1 pm): Join the City, National Park Service and numerous partners as we celebrate the migrating monarch butterfly on National Public Lands Day at the Gateway Arch National Park Museum- both inside the museum and at the museum entrance. The Great Mississippi River Clean Up will be held the same day from 9:00am- 12:00pm at the Arch Riverfront.
The One Planet Corner (a new regular section from volunteer contributors. The purpose of this section will be to take a look at sustainability news around the world, and connecting them to the City’s Sustainability Initiative).
Making the Air We Breathe Safe for All: Reducing Nitrous Dioxide (NO2) emissions has taken center stage as the State of Missouri received $41 Million in funding as part of the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust, established after the global Volkswagen scandal suit was settled in 2016.
This VW scandal that made world news headlines has now created an important air quality opportunity for St. Louis. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who was put in charge of developing the beneficiary plan for the funding, just released the finalized plan for how to mitigate NO2 emissions in Missouri.
Breathing in air with high concentrations of NO2, can irritate human respiratory systems and aggravate respiratory diseases (like asthma). In addition, NO2 contributes to the forming of particulate matter and ozone close to the ground, which are also very harmful when inhaled. This is especially true for vulnerable populations, such as children and seniors.
Fortunately, the Missouri DNR is now in a position to fund up to $6.5 Million statewide in the current fiscal year. School buses and inefficient equipment can be replaced by cleaner options with reduced vehicle emissions. A silver lining of the VW scandal is the possibility of a healthier, cleaner St. Louis Region.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the wonderful efforts of my summer Sustainability Cohort of interns - they have been a tremendous help in furthering urban ecology --including urban monarch conservation and urban biodiversity -- and climate protection efforts --including development of a Draft Climate Vulnerability Assessment and the St. Louis Climate Handprint Good Better Best resource. Thank you to Ricky Kuehn, Meghan McGowan, Sienna Ruiz, Ellen Sheehy and Austin Tolani for your many contributions!
I’m also appreciative of Morgan Geile - a new volunteer who has agreed to assist with the preparation of these Sustainability eNewsletters. I hope to send out the next issue right after Labor Day. As always, thank you for all you do to advance sustainability in the City of St. Louis.
With kind regards,
Catherine L. Werner
Sustainability Director, Office of Sustainability
Follow me on Twitter: @GreeninSTL