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Earthworms

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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Now displaying: May, 2016

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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May 25, 2016

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.

May 10, 2016

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)

May 3, 2016

Inducted into the Garden Writers of America Hall of Fame in2005, JeffLowenfels 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.

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