Host Jean Ponzi presents information, education and conversation with activists and experts on environmental issues and all things "green." Produced in the studios of KDHX Community Media in St. Louis, MO.
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Conversations in Green: host Jean Ponzi presents information, education and conversation with activists and experts on environmental issues and all things green.

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Feb 11, 2020

Promoting growing and ethically gathering herbs, understanding these plants' healing properties, and appreciating Nature. These are the roots of learning and work of Tend & Flourish School of Botanicals.


Longtime organic farmer Crystal Moore Stevens and botanist Alex Queatham have joined friendly forces to teach others how to appreciate and use herbs. Their first (filled!) Herbal Apprenticeship class is working toward completion of study. Their programs at public venues bring their knowledgable love of herbaceous plants to an increasingly receptive audience.


As Crystal eloquently states, this work is Creating Cultivated Ecologies in the minds, hearts and practices of people exploring the potentials of herbs.

Music: Divertimento (k.131) - Kevin MacLeod from WA Mozart

THANKS to Sasha Hay and Jon Valley, our KDHX engineers 

Related Earthworms Conversations: Grow, Create, Inspire with Crystal Moore Stevens (Oct 2016)

Fungus Farming at McCully Heritage Project (Feb 2018)

Kate Estwing Grows, Arranges, Loves . . . Slow Flowers (July 2018)

Labyrinth: Walking Sacred Ground with Robert Fishbone (Sept 2019)

A Cinematic Ode to Seed Savers (Nov 2016)

Jan 15, 2020

Lifelong pals Schober and Findlay are funnier than any roomful of humans put together. KDHX fans will recall their weekly escapade avalanche, St. Louis Brain Sandwich, where a Branschweiger Hut, cheeseballs, The Good Fathers, and timeless tunes like "Never Swat a Fly" helped fix the uniqueness bar for this station from our on-the-fly get-go.


When their conjoined brain left (a yawping hole in) the KDHX airwaves in 2015, a new weekly meetup spawned literary ambitions, drenched in laughs. We Never Got To Be Zombies - Fifty-One Years of Fiddling with Fate is the new memoir output of this duo's commitment to making life lighter.

Their curlique'd CV covers time in the military (can you say "Discipline?"), the movies, on the verge of Catholic priesthood, St. Louis Chase Park Plaza's professional wrestling ring and many more looney niches.

How is this environmental podcast content? How Not! Who can't use a hearty ha-ha to lube the works that keep one doing Green Stuff in this era of humankind (sic). THANKS, Jim and Jay!

Earthworms favorite number from the Colin Sphinctor Band:
River Des Peres Song. gives you an earful of Jim Findlay. Jean Ponzi lives in the R des P watershed; this is my neighborhood river. 

Music: Agnes Polka, performed live at KDHX by Chia Band

THANKS to Jon Valley, engineering this Earthworms edition
Related Earthworms Conversations:  

Joe Mohr - Enviro Poet and Cartoonist (Nov 2015)

Community Radio: Purpose, Values, Insider Insights (Aug 2015)

The New Territory: Traversing the Literary Midwest with Tina Casagrande (May 2017)

Cheers to 30 Years of KDHX with Jeff Ritter, First Voice On-Air (July 2017)

Jan 15, 2020

In the woods of west St. Louis County, a haven for  birds of prey has been healing injured raptors and forging bird-to-human bonds of caring since 1986. World Bird Sanctuary is one of North America's largest facilities for the conservation of birds.


World Bird takes their talons on the road, generously! For this visit to KDHX, Liberty the Southern Bald Eagle and Jett the Kestral brought along Roger Holloway, WBS Deputy Director, and Field Studies Coordinator Tess Rogers. Liberty didn't have much (that you can hear) to say, yet he contributed splendidly to this Earthworms conversation, focused around our region's annual Eagle Days education events. 


Events in Clarksville, MO, and on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge bring out visitors by the hundreds, despite January cold, but you can enjoy viewing eagles almost anytime during winter months along the Mississippi River. Open water this far south draws Bald Eagles downstream for abundant fishing, giving chill-friendly humans spectacular nature observation time.

Be sure to visit World Bird Sanctuary SOON, and again if it's been awhile. You can catch "Wings Over Water" and other bird shows they provide at events around St. Louis, and beyond. 

Music: Clean Water and Raven Song, performed live at KDHX by The Raptor Project, house band from World Bird Sanctuary.

THANKS to Jon Valley, engineering this Earthworms edition

Related Earthworms Conversations:

St. Louis Legendary Bird Man: Remembering Walter Crawford (Jan 2015)
Wild Bird Rehab: Supporting Songbirds with Joe Hoffman (Sept 2017)

Bluebirds! (June 2019)

Camera Traps: Tools for Conservation (Aug 2016)

Jan 8, 2020

It's just before sunset in Forest Park, a nature haven in the City of of St. Louis. A man in a parka, toting backpack full of recording equipment, strides into a wooded copse  he knows well. He listens, waiting, but not for too long. An owl calls.

Mark H.X. Glenshaw has made this kind of trek most days since December 2005. His habits of observation are a personal passion, and a source of inspiration to many who join his Owl Prowls.


The Owl Man of Forest Park shares recent stories of Charles, a male Great Horned Owl he has been observing now for 14 years, and of Charles mates Sarah, Samantha, Olivia and now Danielle. He gives park owls these names, but that's his romantic nod to the Great Horned Owls he loves. His citizen science is meticulous, passionate, persistent and generously shared. You can join him!

Music: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Natives Raising Natives: People and Butterflies (May 2017)

Purple Martins, America's Most Wanted Bird (May 2016)
Bears! with Laura Conlee, MO Dept of Conservation Biologist (2018)

Dec 24, 2019

Missouri Coalition for the Environment has celebrated 50 years of environmental advocacy, legal work, education and policy-making in 2019. It's been a gala year of recognition well earned, with plenty more to do.


This conversation with Heather Navarro, MCE Executive Director, caps the year with Heather's perspectives on the work, processes as well as outcomes. Heather's service extended to public life when she was elected Alderwoman of the City of St. Louis 28th Ward in 2017.

Some of what she's proudest of at MCE? The organization's robust capacity-building Internship program and concerted work to integrate racial equity awareness and practices into MCE's everyday action. 

A series of recent KDHX Earthworms conversations salute the work of MCE, with both personal and professional BIG THANKS for opportunities to serve our shared goals. Onward, into a new decade of Green action!

Music: Washboard Suzie, performed live at KDHX by Zyedeco Crawdaddies

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer from Sierra Club

Related MCE Earthworms Conversations: 

Citizens Pocket Guide to Enviro-Action with Caitlin Zera 

Tosha Phonix: Organizing Food Justice, Growing Community

Known & Grown STL: New Brand Grows Capacity for Local Food

Superfund Site, Water Action Updates

Water Issues: Meddling, Muddling, Advocacy

Kay Drey: A Lifetime Engaged on Nuclear Issues

Dec 10, 2019

Known world-wide for his science-informed nature writing, Richard Louv has defined Vitamin N (what all humans need to imbibe more of) and Nature Deficit Disorder, what kids today have and can (this matters!) recover from.


Richard Louv's new book is Our Wild Calling, How Connecting with Animals can Transform Our Lives - and Save Theirs. In this anthology of stories, science and solutions, he invites us to dwell in and create Habitats of the Heart, and live a Reciprocity Principle. His work forms a vision alternative to dystopian despair, using poetry and practicality.

Since his landmark publication in 2007 of "Last Child In The Woods," Richard Louv has become an international spokesperson for the value of humans connecting (and re-connecting) to Nature.  Earthworms is honored to share this conversation with you!

Music: Taproom, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

THANKS to Andy Heaslet from Sierra Club, Earthworms engineer
Related Earthworms Conversations: Ralph Nader on his Fable "Animal Envy" (Nov 2016)
Joe Mohr, Poet and Enviro-Cartoonist (Nov 2015)

Resources: Check out and subscribe to eNewsletters of BiodiverseCity St. Louis and the Missouri Environmental Education Association. Even if you don't live near KDHX, you'll find good stuff you can use in these well-crafted missives. 

Dec 4, 2019

Here in St. Louis, few of us deal with is, most of us rarely see it, and hardly any of us have ever been ON it. But the Mississippi River is a force here. And on Earth, as our planet's fourth largest watershed. Missouri Historical Society tell's this river's story in a new exhibit, Mighty Mississippi - that lives up to its name!


Hear the story behind this 5-year exhibit project from David Lobbig, Curator of Environmental Life at MHS. David has lived it, from the tough choice among artifacts to the messages this landmark work aims to convey, Mighty Mississippi conveys a torrent of human and natural history. Then go see the exhibit!


Photos from MHS: (top) Exhibit logo; Harper's Weekly illustration of St. Louis Mississippi River 1800s waterfront; Mississippi River facts; (bottom) David Lobbig and Amanda Bailey, MHS Exhibits Register, install a 1,000 year old salt pan; river trash sculpture by Libby Reuter; frozen Mississippi in 1905. 

Mighty Mississippi is open to the public through April 18, 2021, in Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.
Admission is free.

Music: Cadillac Desert, performed live at KDHX by William Taylor

THANKS to Sasha Hay and Jon Valley, Earthworms engineers

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Barge-Based Trash Basher Chad Pregracke (May 2017)

River Des Peres Watershed with Theo Smith (August 2018)

Invest in Infrastructure, Nature's and Ours - Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (April 2017)

See Water: Watershed Cairns, Artist Libby Reuter (April 2016)

Nov 27, 2019

What's the latest from Climate activist Brian Ettling? He's been at this work since 2012, specifically working toward U.S. legislation through the Citizens Climate Lobby, and speaking up about it!.


Brian catches up on his work as Chair, Climate Reality Project in Portland, Oregon - climate out there  bit different than in STL - with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi. A LOT of interactions, as we plug away at IMPACTS.

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms volunteer engineer, enviro-action professional with Sierra Club

Related Earthworms Conversations: Climate Communications at Saint Louis Zoo (Sept 2019)

Grow Solar St. Louis and Metro East (August 2019)

Nov 19, 2019

Ecology is still relatively "new" to circles of scientific respect, but Indigenous peoples world-wide have grown scientific, creative and functional expertise from ecological understanding, as long as humans have been around. What can we learn from this today?


Ecologist Alejandro Frid works and learns in circles of science, Indigenous cultures and environmental activism in British Columbia. Perspectives and experience shared in his new book Changing Tides, An Ecologist's Journey to Make Peace with the Anthropocene (New Society, 2019) make this Earthworms conversation one worth hearing, sharing and seeding into our world views.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms' audio engineer

Music: Artifact by Kevin MacLeod

Related Earthworms Conversations: Native Science with Dr. Daniel Wildcat (October 2018)

Photographer Neeta Satam: Documenting Himalayan Climate Change (March 2018)



Nov 13, 2019

Environmental problems make a lot of news, but solutions are in the works in many places too. Where thinking around a whole system is taking place, ideas-in-action deserve a listen!


Beth Porter, Climate Campaigns Director for the DC based non-profit Green America, digs into making solutions work, toward a green economy. 

The Earthworms conversation focuses on Porter's recent extensive research into recycling - her book Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine sorts out the recycling system - and on Green America's Cool It! campaign to transform refrigerants from climate-whacking HFCs to options that will keep cool both our stuff and our planet.  

Green America works to harness economic power - the strength of consumers, investors, businesses and the marketplace - to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.  

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Music: Butter II, performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case

Related Earthworms Conversations: Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018)

Bin There, Do This! STL Recycling Update (June 2018) 

Oct 31, 2019

From her focus on Food, Tosha Phonix embodies the transforming nature of her namesake for the communities she serves. As Food Justice Organizer for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Tosha is growing connections between environmental and social justice efforts in powerful, insightful ways. Word from her: she is so dope.


Tosha Phonix talks Jean Ponzi as part of a series of Earthworms conversations honoring MCE's 50 years of service to Missouri humans and our environment. She's rooting her ideas and connections to communities of color into the work of the MCE team, at a time when Earth needs all of our diverse human contributions more than ever.

"You need to believe in community to allow a community to solve its own problems," she says. "And if you protect people, people will protect the Earth." Listen up to learn and be inspired by much more, including Tosha's accelerating experience with Women's Earth Alliance.

Music: Dirty Slide, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

THANKS to Andy Heaslet of Sierra Club, Earthworms engineer 

Related Earthworms Conversations -

Known & Grown STL - New Brand Boosts Capacity for Local Food (June 2019)

Urban Agriculture Guide: A Tool for City Farmers (June 2016)

Leah Clyburn: Organizing to End Environmental Racism in St. Louis (Oct 2019)



Oct 9, 2019

The cover image on this report shows a painful face of St. Louis: the stark "Delmar Divide" with its north-south, black-white, disadvantaged and more privileged split up the middle of this city's economics, social and cultural resources. Not a worthy picture, but a growing body of action. 


Just released in October 2019, Environmental Racism in St. Louis concentrates results of other reports, commissioned by official sources, into one from the people profiled by the data. Each of 8 chapters details a serious issue with environmental roots, from persistent lead pollution to the bluntly defined Food Apartheid. 

Leah Clyburn, organizer in the Sierra Club Missouri Beyond Coal campaign, led this effort for Sierra Club, collaborating with leaders of Action St. Louis, Arch City Defenders and Dutchtown South Community Corporation. The Interdisciplinary Law Clinic at Washington University prepared the report. Clyburn's take on these issues, in this Earthworms conversation and her work at large, is a rare merger of frank no-compromise and sincere encouragement to engage. 

Music: Taproom, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: St. Louis Metro Market: Grocery Story in a Bus (June 2015) 

Sweet Potato Project: Growing Social Justice, One Garden at at Time (Sept 2016) 

Oct 1, 2019

Understanding how we humans think, act and prioritize our decisions, Wisconsin sociologist and energy expert Kathy Kuntz founded Kanndo Consulting, LLC in a career move move from "simply" promoting energy efficiency to engaging US in sustainability dialogues and processes. Now she works with the tough stuff - and she believes we are worth the efforts.


In this lively Earthworms conversation, Kuntz and host Jean Ponzi polka through ideas and realities around creating a culture where Green practices are not only preferred, but are the norm.

Kuntz will speak in St. Louis on Tuesday October 8, as guest of the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter. Catch this one, if you're in town! 

Music: Taproom, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
Thanks to Sasha Hay, engineering this Earthworms edition

Related Earthworms Conversations: Morality and The Envio-Crisis with scholar and author Roger Gottlieb (April 2019)

DRAWDOWN: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018)

Peoples' Pocket Guide to Enviro-Action with Caitlin Zera (July 2017)

Sep 18, 2019

Our Saint Louis Zoo is in the World Class of institutions of this kind. Make one click into the Zoo's Mission section and you'll find a strong, clear STL Zoo statement on Climate Change


Animal areas, especially the Zoo habitat of Kali the Polar Bear, interpret the meaning of Climate Change for visitors in ways that make connections between our human experience, the animals we admire and love, and Earth systems that support us all. But the Zoo doesn't stop there.

The STL Zoo Climate Communications Initiative is training Zoo staff, volunteers and community partners in a science-based set of frameworks to purposefully, actively converse with the public about Climate Change. Hannah Petri, the Zoo's Manager of Docents and Interpreters leads this effort, and talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about taking up this crucial topic with our fellow human beings.

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS DAY at Saint Louis Zoo is Sunday September 29!

Source of these training materials is NNOCCI - the National Network for Oceanic and Climate Change Information. 

Music: For Michael, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:

DRAWDOWN: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (Mar 2018)

Climate Rider Tim Oey (April 2019)

Climate: A New Story with Charles Eisenstein (Nov 2018)

Slow Money's Woody Tasch on Culture, Poetry, Imagination, SOIL (July 2018)

Carl Pope: Creating a Climate of Hope (April 2018)

Sep 4, 2019

Enter the pathway, turn; you think you're headed right to center but - ho! you're on the outskirts of everything. Keep walking. In a Labyrinth, you can only (eventually) reach Center, then go steadily back to where you began. 


This kind of walking meditation is centuries old. Central Reform Congregation, active in the heart of St. Louis MO, is building a new pathway along these same lines, as artist and longtime CRC member Robert Fishbone leads a meditative labyrinth installation, part of the "Fitness Course for the Soul" on the grounds of CRC.

Joining Fishbone in this Earthworms conversation is Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow, from The Shalom Center in Philadelphia, who will visit CRC September 20-22 to speak about Faith and the Climate Crisis, and join STL youth for the Climate Strike on Sept 20 at City Hall. 

For the CRC labyrinth, Fishbone and CRC friends chose a "Jericho" design, representing the 7 walls around the ancient biblical city. CRC members and guests will construct this new feature of their urban sacred grounds on Sunday September 8, 1-4 pm; the public is welcome to join in the "honorable silence" of this meditative project, at the corner of Waterman and Kingshighway in St. Louis' Central West End.

Once installed on the grounds of CRC, the labyrinth will be accessible to serve as anyone's contemplative path.

Music: Balkan Twirl, performed live at KDHX by Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth Trio

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms green-savvy audio engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Chalk Riot Artist Liza Fishbone (May 2018)

Humans Listen Up in Ralph Nader's "Animal Envy" Fable (Nov 2016)

Aug 28, 2019

Solar costs are going down, while equipment efficiency continues to improve. Even if electric rates are stable where you are, solar provides climate protecting clean, renewable power. Could this be the time you consider going solar?                        


Lisa Cagle of Grow Solar St. Louis and Chris Krusa of Grow Solar Metro East talk with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about these program offerings for the St. Louis region, and about the benefits of solar in general. Check the program websites for details, including Power Hour presentations around town.

Supported by program contractor StraightUp Solar, and in partnership with municipalities, Grow Solar is bringing discounted costs and convenient, thorough solar option info to STL region communities in both Missouri and Illinois. Residential installs can combine group-buy cost-cuts with federal, local and utility incentives and rebates. At Power Hour events, solar experts will evaluate individual sites for solar power potential, on the roof or on the ground.

Music: Mister Sun's tune Hunters Permit, performed live at KDHX
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, fellow Green Being and audio engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Set The PACE St. Louis: Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Financing (January 2017)

All Electric America? (August 2016)

American Solar Challenge: Sun-Powered Collegiate Racers (July 2016)

Aug 21, 2019

TED Talks bring Ideas Worth Sharing to audiences worldwide, in the legendary live-speaking forums for Technology, Entertainment and Design. In St. Louis, TEDx Gateway Arch proudly features all local voices, in our town's best venues.


CRASH COURSE is the theme when TEDx brings artists, entertainers and revolutionaries to The Pageant on Thursday, September 12 at 6 p.m. This program will feature TWO eco-logical speakers: Sarah Aman, graphic designer at PGAV, and KDHX's own Jean Ponzi. Plus live music, interviews and performance art.

Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer and Sierra Club Conservation Specialist, guest-hosts this special edition of Earthworms, where our longtime host gets to be the guest, and both guests encourage us humans to swerve on the course, as well as we can.

Check out the Crash Course program online - and at the show, or when this round of TEDx talks is posted on YouTube.

Thanks to Alive! Magazine for a conversation with Jean, with Negativity coming through as a FUNdamental of Earth Life.

Music: Inferno Reel, performed live at KDHX by Matt Flinner.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Guest Host and Engineer for Earthworms.

Related Conversations: Legendary St. Louis Activist and TEDx Crash Course presenter Percy Green talks with Hank Thompson on Tangazo! (July 2018)

Aug 6, 2019

Global Mosquito Alert aims to mobilize professional and volunteer citizen scientists from around the world, using mobile apps, to track and control mosquito borne viruses. Dr. Anne Bowser, Director of Innovation for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, reports on this collaboration involving citizen science associations in Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia and the U.S.


Backed by UN Environment, this initiative draws on successes from programs like Barcelona's public engagement Mosquito Alert and the school-based U.S. Invasive Mosquito Project. Because monitoring types of mosquitos and sites where mosquitos are breeding is a significant element in controlling mosquito borne diseases like West Nile and Zika Virus, yellow fever, malaria, chikungunya and and dengue fever.


Could St. Louis marshal this kind of collaboration? Check out this Earthworms conversation!

Music: Public Enemy, performed live at KDHX by Godfathers

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms so green savvy engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Bug Off: Need to Know Mosquito Control from St. Louis County Vector Control (June 2017) Fight the Bite with the 4 Ds from City of St. Louis (July 2016)

Jul 31, 2019

PR pro James Hoggan has decoded misinformation campaigns, and researched how humans learn, respond and can be manipulated. He's traveled through the "perfect storm" of climate communications, and explored what spurs us to become aggressively close-minded. These voyages into realms of despair have not dimmed his curious spirit, his determination to do, be, and communicate better.


Photos: Earthworms guest James Hoggan.  Hoggan (right) talking with scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki (left) and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, colleagues referenced in this interview. 

Our conversation draws from Hoggan's book I'm Right and You're an Idiot  - the toxic state of public discourse and how to clean it up (2nd edition 2019, New Society Publisher). We're focused especially on the latter part of the message. May you find this encouraging!

Learn more from James Hoggan's DeSmogBlog.

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms thoughtfully green engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Handprints: Gregory Norris Retouches Human Impacts (March 2019)

Climate - A New Story with Charles Eisenstein (Nov 2018)

Jul 24, 2019

Nuclear power plants. Radioactive waste from building the WWII atomic bombs. Low-grade nuclear weapons waste. Nuclear medicine.  These complicated technical issues are hardly citizen stuff, except for Kay Drey. 


Nuclear focused groups here and abroad consider St. Louis "ordinary citizen" Kay Drey as both ally and expert resource in their work. For well over 40 years, Kay has dug into these issues, both vetted researched them with science and policy professionals, and spoken up about them in countless public forums.

More impressive than her own advocacy, according to her longtime colleagues and friends Arlene Sandler (Board member for Missouri Coalition for the Environment) and special librarian Rebecca Wright, is how Kay has empowered countless fellow ordinary citizens to get up and testify, with personal viewpoints and facts, armed with info from Kay's files.

Kay Drey is an untiring opponent for causes she espouses, especially nuclear power, and an enviro Living Treasure in Missouri. Earthworms owes a great debt to Kay: in the show's first year her call to cover nuclear waste transportation issues affirmed for volunteer host Jean Ponzi that these conversations on KDHX were a real and necessary community service. Thank you, Kay Drey!


Kay is also a founding member of Missouri Coalition for the Environment. MCE is celebrating 50 years of achievement in 2019. This conversation with Kay Drey is one in a series of Earthworms tributes to the work of MCE, especially the people who help it grow.

Music: Bitter Root, performed live at KDHX by Matt Flinner
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer and Partner-In-Green

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

A Tribute to Leo Drey (June 2015) 

MCE Food Policy Update (June 2019) 

Peoples' Pocket Guide to Environmental Action with Caitlin Zera (July 2017)

Jul 10, 2019

As littered plastic from our bottles, bags, straws and more gets swept from streets to creeks to oceans, where the kinds of creatures we eat are eating plastic that passes to us, humans are growing more aware of this Plastic Pollution problem. But what can we do?

      leads a friendly competition for teams of people, nation-wide, who want move toward living Plastic-Free. Here is St. Louis, teams are taking this challenge from leading cultural institutions like Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Zoo. From a wide range of learning and action options, EcoChallenge participants are tracking their Plastic-Free progress throughout this month of July. The program's goal is to build awareness and habits that persist when this summer's EcoChallenge ends.

EcoChallenge Director of Learning Lacy Cagle returns to Earthworms, detailing this initiative's What and Why. Joyce Gorrell, Green Team leader and Sustainability Projects  Manager for the Garden's EarthWays Center, joins Lacy to share what's motivating her, and her Garden EcoChallenge team.  

Listening to this Earthworms edition in July? Check out this Challenge!

Music: Jamie, performed live at KDHX by Yankee Racers

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer and partner-in-Green

Related Earthworms Conversations: Life Without Plastic? Jay Sinha says Emphatically YES (Jan 2018)

Lacy Cagle: Learning Green, Living Greener (Oct 2017)

TerraCycle Founder Tom Szaky Rocks Recycling! (Sept 2015)

Joyce Gorrell: How TerraCycle Works (Sept 2015)

Reduce, Prevent and Transform Waste with Kelly Dennings (Feb 2019)

Jul 3, 2019

Sometimes, here on Earthworms, we focus our conversation on one unique element of Life on Earth. This time it's Squirrels.

Don Corrigan - respected local newspaper editor, college professor and ranconteur - has done this too, with his new book Nuts About Squirrels, The Rodents That Conquered Popular Culture (McFarland, 2019). His talks on this topic are wildly popular, hear?


Don's research has unearthed nuggets about TV, movie, radio, cartoon, sports, community and Civil War squirrels. He also finds squirrels raising genuine enviro-awareness, right in our own backyards:

  • Is climate change causing squirrels in America to migrate north, or move up into mountain elevations?
  • Do humans bear any responsibility for disrupting squirrel habitat?
  • Are squirrels better equipped than we are to deal with effects of climate change?

Keep your mind open and the holes in your house eaves closed up, to enjoy this salute to SQUIRRELS!

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms fellow-enviro engineer

Music: Agnes Polka, performed live at KDHX by Chia Band

Popular Culture Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Population Media Center: Educating through Soap Operas (July 2017)

Jeff Ritter: KDHX 1st Voice On Air (and Ph.D. in American Culture,  July 2017)

And for those not so nuts about Squirrels: Humane Wildlife Solutions with Garry Guinn (March 2019)

Jun 19, 2019

State bird of Missouri and New York, symbol of happiness, poet's inspiration, and indicator of ecological health. All true of Siala sialis, a small thrush found in woodlands, farmlands, orchards - and your yard, if you're lucky and smart enough to offer them habitat.


Ann Earley and Bob Siemer are true friends and helpers of nature - also certified Master Naturalists. Missouri Prairie Foundation recently honored them with the Prairie Volunteer(s) of the Year Award, well deserved. Their knowledge of Bluebirds comes from keen, joyful observation and conserving care.


Ann and Bob are also members of the Missouri Bluebird Society, a feathered fan club about to hold their annual conference in St. Louis, July 12-14, 2019.

As we humans encroach on habitats of others, bluebird lore can inspire a more caring, savvy and careful approach - while singing!

Music: For Michael, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

Thanks to Andy  Heaslet, Earthworms fine-feathered engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Purple Martins: America's Most Wanted Bird (May 2016)   The Owl Man of Forest Park (2015)

Bears! July 2018

Wild Bird Rehab: Supporting Songbirds with Joe Hoffman (June 2016)

Bluebird songs in the background courtesy of xeno-canto.

Jun 12, 2019

What does local food mean? And what do you need to know - and to prove - to grow capacity for local-food producers, and get their foods to an equitable range of eaters?

Missouri Coalition for the Environment is digging deep, strategically, into these questions, and raising a healthy crop of results! Two big ones are the launch of Known & Grown STLa branding campaign to help progressive farmers working within 150 miles of St. Louis spread the word about their practices, their products and the sustainable principles grounding their work, and a Farm to Institution Feasibility Study.


Rae Miller (left), MCE's Local Food Coordinator, and Food & Farm Director Melissa Vatterott (right) lead a regional effort to better promote local foods and cultivate connections between farmers and consumers, at both individual and institutional scales. Developing data, partnerships and sound policy supporting Healthy Food Access  is one of four areas of priority focus for the Coalition.


This Earthworms conversation is the first in a series that will celebrate MCE achievements and leadership during this 50th Anniversary year.

Music: Hunter's Permit, performed live at KDHX by Mister Sun

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms green-savvy engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:

The Farm Bill: A Citizen's Guide (January 2019) 

The Easy Chicken: Fowl Fun Comes to You (Dec 2018)

Custom Foodscaping with Matt Lebon (December 2018)

Farm on a Building Raises the Roof! (August 2016)

Urban Agriculture Guide: New Tool for City Farmers (June 2016)

Jun 5, 2019

Just 7 years back, in 2012, Green-hearted architects Frank and Gay Lorberbaum and woodworker Paul Krautman launched an enterprise for city kids. Into an on-loan school gym space, they hustled wood supplies and sets of tools to empower children to design and build: furniture for their rooms and problem-solving skills for their own bright futures, every single Saturday morning.


Today Building Futures continues Saturday workshop sessions, takes tools and skill-building out to schools, collaborates with neighboring writing and cultural groups, runs very cool summer camps, and more STEAM-based project learning - in their own well-equipped city studio building!


Earthworms talked in 2013 with BF students, one of whom is about to enter Ranken Technical College. Today we welcome back Mister Frank (Lorberbaum), and meet program manager Mister Lawrence (Prograis) and Mister Jay (Reeves), BF's board VP who will take the helm in August of Boat Building Camp. Before this interview, these guys worked with 300 school kids, a normally constructive BF day.      

Building Futures Summer Camps are registering now. Triple Play camp for students entering grades 4-6 fills each day of camp week (July 8-12 and 22-26) with with Design & Build, Printmaking and Caribbean Festival Arts, as BF partners with neighboring arts groups. Boat Building Camp (July 29-August 2), open to children entering grades 4-8. Scholarships are abundantly available.

Congratulations to visionary leaders whose work building futures for urban children is creating structures with wood, in many lives. Could yours be touched too? Volunteer help is WELCOME!

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms deep-Green engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: The Big Book of Nature Activities (June 2016)

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