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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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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 14, 2018

Illinois tourism writers call it a "best-kept secret." Visitors review it as a great place to camp, hike and learn some things. Director (and Earthworms guest) Michelle Berg Vogel says its a working farm and an environmental education place. And in March, a Fungus Farm!

       

McCully Heritage Project, located in Kampsville, IL, is a nature haven at the Illinois-Mississippi Rivers' confluence. Its 940 acres are mainly forested, with native trees and plenty of native wildlife. Native - and visiting - humans thrive there too.

On Saturday March 3, folks who fancy gardening can learn an Agroforestry skill: growing mushrooms on logs. Green oak logs, innoculated with mushroom spawn, sprout Shitakes, and softwood logs support the growth of Oyster mushrooms. Both delicious, nutritious - and easy to produce. Fun with fungus, anyone?

           

Music: Redwing, performed live at KDHX by Currykorn

THANKS to Jon Valley, engineering this Earthworms edition

Feb 7, 2018

Heading west from St. Louis on I-64, just over the Missouri River bridge, bluffs rise and land rolls. There is a golf course (hard to see) and a corporate campus area. With a St. Charles County zoning change, a high-density 350 luxury home development could soon alter 200 of these bluff acres.

Conservationist and landowner Dan Burkhardt, guest for this Earthworms edition, was surprised in December to learn that bluff property owned by the University of Missouri was in a sale process to a home developer. His Katy Land Trust was formed to prevent just this kind of move. Adjacent to the Busch and Weldon Spring Conservation Areas - land purchased and given into care of the Missouri Department of Conservation in the 1950s and 70s respectively - the forested Missouri Bluffs acreage in question is currently zoned Agricultural.

      

The outcome of a public hearing on February 21 by the St. Charles County Planning and Zoning Commission is key to a requested zoning change to Medium- and High-Density Residential, to accommodate the proposed development. The Katy Land Trust is leading opposition to this change. Public comments will be considered in person, and via email before 2-21-18.

Burkhardt and his wife Connie farm their acreage near Marthasville, in a corridor of natural features, German cultural heritage, a thriving regional arts movement and public recreation that is anchored by Katy Trail State Park, with a link to St. Louis in process from Great Rivers Greenway.

Tourism in this heart of Missouri's wine country increasingly returns investments in these resources to all Missourians - and our visitors. Opponents of an intensive luxury housing development here note that that investment will return to very few, and diminish public benefits.

This is an important point for public input. As Dan Burkhardt says, Asphalt is the Last Crop.

Music: Deep Gap, performed live at KDHX by Marisa Anderson

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

EARTHWORMS is produced as a volunteer community service. Views expressed by volunteer host are her own, and not intended to represent KDHX St. Louis Independent Media or any other organization. Guest views, and the organizations they represent, are clearly presented in each interview, and in accompanying texts.

Jan 30, 2018

Plastic has overtaken our pantries, our shopping carts, our personal-care product cabinets - and our planet's waterways all the way to the oceans! Is there any hope for turning this plastic tide?

Jay Sinha and Chantal Plamondon, Canadian sustainable product entrepreneurs, offer their own experience to encourage fellow humans to break free plastic's hold on our lives. Their new book is Life Without Plastic - the Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep your Family and the Planet Healthy (Page Street Publishing, 2017).

      

Their book - and their online store, established in 2003 - packs facts about plastic pollution that Jay says is as pressing as Climate Change. But they are not polypropyl-whiners, by any stretch. Jay and Earthworms host Jean Ponzi pick through piles of plastic issues - with encouraging focus on options he and his family continue to test out, that can be useful to you.

What are the problems plastic is causing, for us and around our environment? What are alternatives to some of plastic's most pernicious influences in our lives?

Bring on the glass, wood, fabric and stainless steel! And PLEASE RECYCLE the plastics you do increasingly choose to use.

Music: Infernal Piano Plot, performed live at KDHX by The Claudettes

Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms Engineer

Jan 24, 2018

In the rural outskirts of St. Louis, in 1874, Greenwood Cemetery was formed to serve the African-American population growing here after the Civil War. This rolling, 32 acre site became this community's first non-sectarian commercial cemetery open to African Americans.

                       

Until Greenwood closed to burials in 1993, more than 50,000 people were laid to rest here: Buffalo Soldiers and domestic workers, musicians and civil rights leaders, whole families both named and undocumented. This history, still being researched and written, remembers the persistence, hardships and gifts of black individuals' human lives - a remembrance now being restored.  

    
Greenwood shares a fate with other cemeteries with no church or other stewarding relationships, that hold the folk of poor and marginalized people. Human neglect dumped trash on the property - and nature's forces took over. But friends arose to reclaim the history and natural grace of this place. Descendants of those interred and academic professionals formed Friends of Greenwood Cemetery in 1999. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. With much more work to do, this circle of support is growing.

The Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association brings this story to Earthworms. Guests are Shelley Morris and Rafael Morris, Secretary and President of the GCPA board; Becky McMahon of DJM Ecological Services; and Ann Eftimoff of World Wide Technology.

Music: Slide Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran.

THANKS to Anna Holland, audio engineering ace.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Green Burial (January 2017)

Jan 17, 2018

The ancient flow of love between Homo sapiens and Apis mellifera keeps food in our bellies, flowers blooming around us, and repairs the whacks we continue to take at nature's balance.

Maybe it's only a bit, one beekeeper, one hive at a time. Yet this relationship embodies the best of how our kind can interact with another species - in this case with a bug - to produce cascading benefits for whole biodiverse environments.

          
Eastern Missouri Beekeepers spreads this love, in an annual intensive workshop and cooperative-learning events year-round. The all-day Beekeeping Workshop, coming up February 10, brings nationally respected beekeeping experts to St. Louis to teach beginning and experienced beekeeping, alongside local pollinator advocates.

This Earthworms conversation draws on beekeeping savvy of Bob Sears, president of Eastern MO Beekeepers; Kate Smith, ardent beekeeper (3 years plus family heritage); and Becky Masterman, program manager for the University of Minnesota's acclaimed Bee Squad, who'll join EMBA members as workshop guest faculty.

Earthworms loves to talk Bees!

Music: Magic 9, performed live at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering Earthworms bee-youtifully

Related Earthworms Conversations:
Wild Bees and Native Plants with Heather Holm - March, 2017

Vanishing Bees: Science, Politics and Honeybee Health (Jan 2017)

Honeybee Democracy - Dr. Tom Seely is WILD About Bees (Feb 2016)

 

Jan 10, 2018

Suzanne Kelly was deep into Ph.D. work in women's studies in 2000 when her  father died. Her grief and that experience with conventional memorial processes moved her to explore a new movement (ironic, given our age-old traditions) to send our bodies back to Earth. Literally.

                            

Kelly's new book Greening Death - Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to Earth - is a scholarly treatment of natural burial. She covers the history of our resource-intensive, toxic and expensive funeral industry, and examines multi-cultural values about dealing with our dead bodies. From the Civil War era innovation of embalming to today's evolving partnership between land conservation and dust-to-dust advocates, her voice on this topic is factual and clear. She also speaks eloquently for our human needs to honor the passage out of life, and to reconnect with Earth.

Whether you are simply curious about these options or actively seeking Green Burial resources for end-of-life planning, this Earthworms conversation can be useful to you. Listen in peace!

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms this week

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

 

Jan 3, 2018

To date, 24 U.S. cities are using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager - a sensible, user-friendly product of our federal taxes at work - to "benchmark" energy use as a first step to strategic investment in energy efficiency measures. St. Louis joined this progressive, prudent group in 2017 by passing an ordinance and signing on to the City Energy Project.

              

Use a common tracker to inform improvements that can cut costs? Make existing buildings more comfortable and healthier? Protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions? Good work, partners in the City of St. Louis for answering all these questions YES!

                            

The significance of this work, even in its first months, was honored in November 2017 with an OLGA (Outstanding Local Government Award) for exemplary public-private collaboration, by the St. Louis region's East-West Gateway Council of Governments. 

The work is straightforward, explains Earthworms guest Rajiv Ravulapati, CEP Technical Advisor for the City of St. Louis. CEP helps cities tailor energy efficiency programs and policies to local needs. In St. Louis, the CEP team assists building owners in implementing the City's benchmarking ordinance, which requires that public and private buildings over 50,000 sq ft must be Benchmarked by April 1, 2018, with the data reported to the City's Building Division. This requirement applies to over 900 buildings located in the City of St. Louis, including 16 City-owned buildings. A Concierge service assists building owners with the process, using an efficient online portal.

City Energy Project champions (shown above) accepting the OLGA award are Rajiv Ravulapati; City of St. Louis Sustainable Director Catherine Werner; US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter Executive Director Emily Andrews; and St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar, sponsor of the ordinance that passed with a unanimous vote!

Utility incentive and financing packages can support energy efficiency upgrades, based on CEP data. Options to expand this effort to work with smaller buildings, and across the St. Louis region, offer more potential benefits for local businesses and building owners.

THANKS to Anna Holland, energized engineer for Earthworms

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

Related Earthworms Conversations: PACE Energy Financing (January 2017)

MO Energized Relationships  Promote Energy Conservation (September 2016),

Dec 20, 2017

For a region of this planet blessed with so much WATER, you'd think we'd have darn diligent doggin' of water protection. And you would be RIGHT. Water quality advocates with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment are among our waters' ardent champions.

         

This week Earthworms talks with Brad Walker, MCE's Rivers Director, and Alicia Lloyd, Water Policy Coordinator (looking handsomely Glad in Plaid) for an update on water advocacy issues, needs, and some victories during 2017.

You'll hear about pro-Big Ag stacking of Missouri's Clean Water Commission (Bah!), collaborative strategies of the Lower Missouri River and Nicollet Island Coalitions (Yay!) - with more good river info on the MCE Blog.

Listener Quiz: can you name three dumb river "management" outcomes of the Pick-Sloan Act? There are plenty to choose from.

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms ear-friendly engineer

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

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Dec 13, 2017

What's fair and profitable, local and global, bitter and sweet - and Brown and Green? In St. Louis, Kakao Chocolate is all this and more. 

   

Ingredients in the story of Brian Pelletier, Kakao owner and Chief Chocolatier, include a dramatic career transformation, deep commitment to sustainable ideals and practice, and passionate love for creating the food that makes US feel like we're in love. Brian savors telling his tale as if it were one of his own (popular!) Salted Carmel Truffles. Product of this alchemy? A treat for your heart and ears.

Find Kakao Chocolate products at stores in Maplewood and Clayton, Missouri, and online at www.kakaochocolate.com.

Music: Brandenburg No. 1 performed by Kevin McLeod

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms' tasteful engineer

We know the last four Earthworms editions have been blatantly blithe. We DO still believe in Climate Change, and WILL return to issues-focused interview on Earthworms . . . soon. Meanwhile, let's have some cheese and chocolate with our geese and chickens, OK?

 

Dec 6, 2017

Want to take a peck at keeping chickens- but feeling shell-shocked by the details? Maria Jansen and her clan have EGGSactly the perfect option for you!

         

The Easy Chicken, a family-owned enterprise, will help you launch a Chicken Adventure, worry-free, by leasing everything you need: Coop, Hens, feeding and watering gear, even a starter sack of super-healthy Chicken Feed. You get to try what may be THE most popular Green home-hobby for up to six months - with expert support from the Jansens, grown-ups and boys.

If it works out, GREAT - rental can apply to owning your chicken-keeping kit. If not, you can return your flock for others to experience. Voila! EASY, ethical, healthy, nutritious, bug-eating FUN.

Other options - as you'll hear from Maria, 8-year-old Gabriel, and Zebra the Barred Rock hen - include Baby Chicks for classrooms, visiting their farm to take that first peek at potential peeper-keeping, buying the whole setup you'll need outright, even Chicken Parties.

Maria's new sustainable venture, Jansen Sharpening, can get your good knives tuned up too, but maybe don't tell the hens . . .

Music: Washboard Suzie, performed live at KDHX by Zydeco Crawdaddies.

Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer (skillfully dodging Zebra's interview jitters mealworm fling), and to guest volunteer engineer, Matt Abel.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Keeping Geese, Making Cheese (November 2017)

Nov 29, 2017

Homesteading is a sustainable trend for rural, suburban and even urban folk. Up on her stead in Liberty, Maine, Kirsten Lie-Nielsen so loves sharing life with a flock of geese she has written a whole honkin' how-to about it.

        

Could Kirsten's new book, The Modern Homesteader's Guide to Keeping Geese (2017, New Society), entice your feathered fancy goose-ward? Perhaps this Earthworms conversation will! The scoop includes: choosing the best breed of goose for you, hospitable shelter and best geese eats, keeping geese healthy - and much more. Did you know geese are organic crop-weeders?

Kirsten's blog chronicles life on her farm, with useful info for the land-lover in all of us. HONK!!

Music: Jamie, performed live at KDHX by Yankee Racers
THANKS to Anna Holland, this week's Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Crystal Moore Stevens: Grow - Create - Inspire (October 2016)

Farm on a Building Raises the Roof (August 2016)

Alpacas of Troy: Sustainable Farming on the Hoof (July 2016)

Farmer Girl Meats - Pasture to Porch, Sustainably (June 2016)

Nov 22, 2017

What food (technically) almost makes itself, is portable, gives a happy home to a host of guest flavors - and can be made by anyone, at home? Three hearty cheers for CHEESE!

Merryl Winstein has been making and teaching the art of Cheese for years. Along the way, she realized how much she didn't know - that others could use if the info was available! What to do? Write it up!

                   

She did, and snapped the 800+ photos that show how this culinary alchemy works in "Successful Cheesemaking: Step-By-Step Directions and Photos for Making Nearly Every Type of Cheese." Now anyone can travel the Curds-Whey of this artisan path, with simple equipment, in a personal kitchen - or grow their skills into an enterprise, thanks to Merryl Winstein, Cheese Whiz!

Music: Balkan Twirl, performed live at KDHX by Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth Trio.
THANKS to Anna Holland, electron-engineering whiz for Earthworms.

 

Nov 8, 2017

Missouri's state park system is nationally regarded as a public property gem. Our parks offer free admission to nearly 90 sites and a wide variety of ecological features, activities and accommodations. Four new parks could add economic benefits to areas in need, and round out the range of natural communities within the park system. But the governor has put a hold on these parks' development process.

    

Jennifer Connor, who is Ozarks Conservation Program Coordinator for the Sierra Club in Missouri, reports on this process and the spectrum of benefits state residents and visitors could experience in the four new parks in question, which are

  • Eleven Point Park, bordering the federal Wild and Scenic Riverways easement of the Eleven Point River;
  • Bryant Creek State Park, planned to be a backwoods area deep in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri;
  • Ozark Mountain State Park, which will add a natural area to the popular amusement and entertainment region around Branson;
  • Jay Nixon State Park, another backwoods park near to St. Louis.

The value of state parks is real, and significant. For example, for every $1 spent on park development and maintenance, the state estimates $26 flow into local and state economies. So what's the problem with completing development of these parks?

Learn more from the Sierra Club White River page on Facebook.

Music: Audrey's Bounce, performed live at KDHX by Western Satellites.

THANKS to Anna Holland, audio engineering whiz!

Related Earthworms Conversations: Missouri State Parks Centennial, October 2016

Nov 2, 2017

Scoot over, please, dear tomatoes and peas. Fruit and nut trees and bushes are moving into community gardens. And neighborhood garden leaders are transplanting their "orcharding" skills from Kansas City to St. Louis.

   

Dean Gunderson, who is Garden Programs Manager for STL's long-growing Gateway Greening, is collaborating with The Giving Grove, based in KC and led by Rob Reiman. These folks are digging nourishing new delights into the urban neighborhoods they serve, while cultivating "edible tree gardens"  into their knowledge base. Hazelnuts, anyone?

Music: Cookie Mouth, performed live at KDHX by The Provels

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

PawPaw, Reviving America's Forgotten Fruit (Sept 2015)

EarthDance Farms Grows into Permaculture in Ferguson, MO (April, 2017)

A Cinematic Ode to Seed Savers (Nov 2016)

Oct 24, 2017

While nations of the world are meeting in Germany to ratify trade deals related to Climate Change, performers in 40 of those nations will be spotlighting "the issue of our time." Climate Change Theater Action is a worldwide rapid response from the arts to this global issue, where awareness and action are imperative from humankind.

             
In St. Louis, theatrical impresario Joan Lipkin - founder of That Uppity Theater Company - is teaming up with the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and other partners to present Playhouse Emissions, short plays and staged readings, aiming to move the audience to action.

Lipkin's "uppity" creative courage and partnerships have staged productions about diverse issues in St. Louis and beyond for decades. Never shying from a tough topic, she talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about the challenges she encountered, dealing with climate change as a dramatic focus.

St. Louis event details: Monday November 6, 7 pm; hosted at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road. Admission is free, but registration is required. In addition to performances by leading local actors and dancers, environmental and social justice groups will interact with attendees after the show, about local-to-global action options.

Music: Deep Gap, performed live at KDHX by Marisa Anderson

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering this Earthworms edition

Related Earthworms Conversation: Ralph Nader's fable "Animal Envy" gives creatures a voice on global issues (November, 2016)

Oct 17, 2017

It's underfoot, but is it understood? Nature's capacity to feed plants, which in turn feed us (and all Earth's living kin), is powered by critters we CAN see (with a handy microscope), that we CAN WORK WITH, to harvest multiple benefits.
                    
Soil scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham champions this kind of partnership, and teachers humans how to partner with Nature to organically increase food crop yield, restore the health of degraded soils - and even sock tons of climate-changing Carbon into soil, sustainably.

St. Louisans get to meet, hear and directly learn from Elaine Ingham on November 2-3, when the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance and partners host her for a free pubic talk, soil science microscope workshop, and in-depth soil science seminar for landscaping pros.

Serving as Chief Soil Scientist for the organic advocacy Rodale Institute since 2013, Dr. Ingham continues her distinguished work in microbiological research as head of Soil Foodweb Inc., based in Corvallis, OR and at her research farm near Berry Creek, CA.

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

THANKS to Andy Coco, engineer for this edition of Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: EarthDance Farms in Ferguson Missouri (April 2017)

Wes Jackson, founder of The Land Institute: Growing our Food in Prairies (September 2015)

Oct 10, 2017

Living more simply? Understanding ecology? Taking an Eco Challenge to change some personal habits? The Northwest Earth Institute, working from Portland, Oregon for nearly 25 years, offers courses for personal online learning to group exploration and discussion.

        

Lacy Cagle, NWEI's Director of Learning, develops courses geared to engage the public with sustainable thinking and action, and work in academic circles to advance "sustainability pedagogy." Her take on how humans have been thinking, are learning to think (and act) - and how we COULD grow our Greener perceptions - makes for a most thought-nourishing Earthworms conversation!

Coming up October 11-25, the 2017 EcoChallenge is an NWEI action project. Individuals or teams of humans will dig into habit-forming opportunities, aiming for Green changes. These individual efforts DO add up!

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

THANKS to Andy Coco, KDHX Production Chief, for engineering this Earthworms interview.

Related Earthworms Conversation: People's Pocket Guide to Environmental Action with Caitlin Zera (July 2017)

The Patterning Instinct in Human Nature (June 2017)

Experiential Education (March 2017)

The BIG Book of Nature Activities (June 2016)

Crystal Moore Stevens: Grow, Create, Inspire (October 2016)

 

 

Oct 4, 2017

Here in the KDHX region we don't worry much about water. St. Louis sits at the confluence of the 4th largest watershed on Earth. Not the case in many other parts of the U.S., or the world. Where there's not so much water, how can fair access to water be ensured? For drinking, food production, sanitation - and more uses.

                          

                            

In Washington D.C. the non-profit Center for Water Security and Cooperation is researching questions of water equity, and advocating for fair water-related policies.  Earthworms guest Alexandra Campbell Ferrari is Executive Director of these efforts. Her organization deals with water security questions that, in many areas, have not been raised before. For example, what rules should exist to support people who can't afford their water bill? Should people have to choose between affording rent, electricity, food or water?

This conversation dives provocatively into water issues. Tap into it - and consider how water security could be more cooperatively handled!

THANKS to Andy Coco, engineer for this Earthworms edition.
Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran.

Learn more in St. Louis October 17 at the Water Justice Blitz, presented by the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter, hosted by Washington University. Speakers, discussions, CEUs and more.

Related Earthworms Conversations:
Mississippi River Town Mayors: Leadership in a Global Way (June 2016)

Invest in Infrastructure, Nature's and Ours (April 2017)

Living with Rivers: Big Muddy MO (February 2017)

 

Sep 19, 2017

See the forest, see the trees - and appreciate woodland resources of the Show-Me State. From those that tower in the canopy to those that lightly shade ground-level wildflowers, Missouri's native trees are treasured by folks with interests of all kinds.

   

Carol Davit, Executive Director of Missouri Prairie Foundation, is also a lifelong student and advocate of native plant ecology in the woods. She describes two related but distinct wooded ecosystems, and the services they provide to humans and many other species.

Grow Native! - the flagship program of MPF - invites interested citizens to professionals to a day-long workshop on October 6, where ecological experts will showcase wooded resources at Shaw Nature Reserve, and teach the important how-and-why of removing invasive species, especially Bush Honeysuckle. Registration is requested by Sept 26.

Thanks to Josh Nothum, Earthworms Engineer

Music: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black

Related Earthworms Conversations: 
Urban Forests: Seeing the Benefit FROM Trees (October 2016)

Backyard Woodland: How to Tend Your Forests and Your Trees (August 2016)

The Songs of Trees with Biologist David George Haskell (July 2017)

Sep 6, 2017

Songbirds! Our spirits fly with them, their twitterings rise with the sun; we watch 'em, we feed 'em, we love their gentle presence in our lives. This dedicated organization gives 'em a Wing Up when they get hurt, since 1993. 

Wild Bird Rehabilitation is powered by flocks of volunteers who provide care for injured, ill and orphaned songbirds, toward releasing them back into their natural habitat. Could this volunteer gig launch you into a new love?
           
This month Wild Bird gets a new Flock Leader (aka Exec. Dir.) in Earthworms' guest Joe Hoffmann. Joe brings to Wild Bird over 30 years experience with wildlife health and conservation, and public education. Joe is a beloved returning guest! He brings SONGS, to his new job and this conversation with Jean Ponzi.

Opportunity to Support Wild Bird: Trivia Night November 11.

Music: Divertimento K 131, performed by Kevin MacLeod

THANKS to Josh Nothum, returning Earthworms Engineer

Related Earthworms Segments: Joe  Hoffmann performed with The Raptor Project, live at KDHX

Aug 29, 2017

Houses built to last a hundred years are getting another century's lease on life from Patty Maher, a specialist in super energy efficient restoration of homes in historic neighborhoods around St. Louis.

Patty got into the home-work biz in the 1970s, after getting degrees in philosophy and comparative religions - and building carpentry skills at technical college. Her first building rehab was Cloverleaf Dairy. She transformed it into her own wood shop. Today Cloverleaf General Contracting is one of three enterprises she maintains. Among other regional and state recognitions, Patty (wearing green) was honored with a Growing Green Award by the US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter in 2013.

        

A Patty Maher rehab gets high ENERGY STAR ratings. One of her historic homes typically uses 50% or less energy than a comparable, conventional residence. Her work restores city neighborhoods, generates and sustains jobs, sells houses, and eloquently makes the case for the value of historic renovation tax credits, a program in which Missouri is a national leader. Also doing business as: Tiger Lily Development, Mermaid Rentals.

Music: Audrey's Bounce, performed live at KDHX by Western Satellites

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer

Aug 14, 2017

In 1967, the Meramec River had not yet flowed to the edge of a dam proposal controversy that would not end until 1981, but trash and debris from river users and "clubhouses" built along the Meramec's course was a problem that caught the attention of river lovers and enviro-advocates. Half a century ago, the first Operation Clean Stream began a concentrated process to clean up the Meramec.

       

After FIFTY years, there is still a need for this annual river clean-up event, held the fourth weekend of August. However, hundreds of hours and thousands of volunteers have made a huge difference in the health of the entire Meramec watershed.  Operation Clean Stream now works on the Meramec and its tributaries: Big, Courtois, Bourbeus and Huzzah rivers in the region of the Missouri Ozarks closest to the St. Louis region.

This Earthworms conversation celebrates Operation Clean Stream's 50th anniversary, talking with Kat Dockery and Caitlin Zera, who are Executive Director and Office Manager for the Open Space Council and - with super kudos for dedication - to Larry Cain, who has volunteered for Operation Clean Stream for the past 30 years.

Operation Clean Stream is a terrific opportunity to get out, get wet, and do some good work for river health and water quality in our region. Adults and kids can sign up for a cleanup shift on August 27 or 27. Your efforts will make history!

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

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer

 

Aug 9, 2017

OK, so maybe "No Mow" is a seedy fiction, but there ARE alternatives to conventional turf that can save water and work, turn down the Lawn Boy's carbon emissions - even support the lives of pollinators. All while keeping that sweet green place to play for our kids and dogs.

Today's needs have evolved, somewhat, from the country's original No Mow situation:

             

Neil Diboll, president of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, returns to Earthworms to elucidate the what-why-how of Lawn Alternatives. His No Mow Lawn Mix is proving popular in central Wisconsin's sandy, loamy soil. And his youth in University City, MO, gave Neil a healthy appreciation for our heat-loving Zoyzia grass. Of course he encourages transformation of areas in your turf into flowering prairie-like pollinator islands. Move over, John Deere - there are turf alternatives here!

                            

Could a local, creative plantsman develop a "No Mow" mix for our St. Louis area's hot summers and clay soils? Working with nature, the grass COULD be Greener!

Music: Magic 9, performed live at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer and discerning listener

Related Earthworms Conversations: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February, 2017)

Aug 2, 2017

Earthworms home turf is the Show-Me State - where ecological gardening ideas and practices are growing like . . . plants with WEED in their names. So it follows that getting to see the plants of this place, the ones that are our Natives, is a great way to explore this Nature Thang that's benefiting critters, people, water quality, and more.
                 
St. Louis Audubon hosts their third annual Native Plant Garden Tour on Saturday, September 16, 9 am to 4 pm. Ten homes will open their gardens to visitors using a self-guiding map that describes each site. Volunteers supporting home hosts and a limit of 300 tickets sold will ensure that each visit can include conversations about the environs on view. Personal connections are a hallmark of the Native Plant Gardening movement in the St. Louis region, in many ways, not the least is the opportunity for everyone to connect with Nature's beauty and surprises.

                                           

Earthworms guests are Mitch Leachman, Executive Director of St. Louis Audubon, and Tour Hosts Kari Pratt and Cori Westcott. Along with all gardeners hosting this year's tour, our guests are all involved - as service providers or advisees - with Audubon's "Bring Conservation Home" habitat consultation program. All 2017 Native Plant Garden Tour sites have taken advantage of this program's customized, innovative service.

Visit www.stlouisaudubon.org for program and tour ticket details.

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

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineering wiz, making us peeps and plants sound good!

Related Earthworms Conversations: Wild Bees and Native Plants (March, 2017); Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February, 2017); Prairie Power (March, 2016); Natives Raising Natives: Butterflies and People (May, 2017)

Jul 17, 2017

October 14, 1987. They gathered in the shack, on the grassy knoll in Arnold, MO.  A small group of volunteers who'd been digging and wiring and building and raising money for - well, probably felt like forever. A switch got flipped. A needle dropped. Static transformed to the ragtime riffs of "Radio" sung by Banu Gipson. KDHX was ON THE AIR!

Jeff Ritter (front row, left) was the only one of those ten weary, cheering folk who didn't have to go to work the next morning, so he camped out in the shack, spun records and hosted the very first KDHX airshift ever. First of just about 88,000 at this year's 30-year anniversary point, and all contributed by volunteers.

Jean Ponzi - one of several notable Ritter recruits to the KDHX team - got to show the guy who's now Dr. Ritter around our spiffy new Larry J. Weir Independent Media Center when he cruised through The Lou on a summer motorcycle trip. This Earthworms special edition celebrates that tenacious KDHX Person-Power, has a bit o' KDHX history fun, and affirms the ongoing, growing value of KDHX today.

Music: Cadillac Desert, performed live at KDHX by William Tyler
THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer

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