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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May 23, 2020

Corporations own a lot of land, from workplace campuses to the property under long-run power lines. Wildlife Habitat Council has worked with companies, worldwide and over 30 years, to prompt investment in biodiversity as a benefit to the bottom line.


Margaret O'Gorman, President of WHC, writes and talks about what makes this process work, for the companies and for Nature in her new book Strategic Corporate Conservation Planning, a Guide to Meaningful Engagement (Feb 2020, Island Press). This Earthworms conversation includes stories about collaborations like BEECH (pictured above), an environmental education center created and run by Bridgestone Tires in Warren County, TN.

In the US and 27 countries abroad, this work is moving "beyond regulation," proving that achievement of real conservation goals are and should be part of doing business.

Read: how WHC work is addressing US Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Andy Coco and Jon Valley for keeping Earthworms sounding strong!

Music: Aftershock, performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case

Related Earthworms Conversations: Envision Charlotte NC with Amy Aussieker (March 2020)

Green America Campaigns for Solutions, with Beth Porter (Nov 2019



May 5, 2020

Cost, access, lack of info? The incentive program Grow Solar sunsets these barriers to investing in clean, renewable energy for residents of our St. Louis and Metro East communities. 


Grow Solar pools regional buying power to secure significant discounts for residential installations. Offered here by the Missouri Botanical Garden and Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Grow Solar action starts with an informative Power Hour that will immediately advise attendees on feasibility and potential costs. Interest is strong, and growing. Brilliant!

Earthworms welcomes Grow Solar's Jenn DeRose and Kevin McKee to describe the program's process and benefits, for St. Louis area communities in Missouri and Illinois.

Music: Mister Sun performing live at KDHX.

THANKS to Andy Coco, Andy Heaslet and Jon Valley, the actual engineering team bringing you virtual Earthworms.

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (May 2018)

City Energy Project: Powering Efficiency in St. Louis Buildings (January 2018)

Apr 28, 2020

Ecologists know health is connected for all that lives. But most humans are not yet hip to this fact. One Health, both title and theme of a globally vital body of work makes this point for elephants, turtles, water, soil, etc. etc. etc.  - and us. 


Dr. Sharon Deem directs the Institute of Conservation Medicine for the Saint Louis Zoo. Her work with animals, here and abroad, gave rise to the research, understanding, philosophy and curriculum called One Health, a collaboration with Drs. Elizabeth Rayhel and Kelly E. Lane-deGraaf, who teach this material at Fontbonne University. One Health draws from many disciplines, shows a way toward many solutions to issues from human to planetary scale.

This Earthworms conversation ranges around One Health implications for our species during this Big Time Out, from a place of deep appreciation for Nature's health commitments and safeguards - for all species, on this 50th Earth Day.


Don't miss hearing Sharon Deem's TEDx talk!

THANKS to Earthworms engineering team, Andy Coco, Andy Heaslet, Jon Valley. 

Music: Main theme from Swan Lake, performed live for Earth Day and Earthworms by Stephen Blake, husband of Sharon Deem, from the shelter of their home.

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Richard Louv: Our Wild Calling (Dec 2019)

Relatives, Responsibility, Mindfulness with Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Oct 2018)

Bears! with biologist Laura Conlee (July 2018)


Apr 11, 2020

Learning Field Botany in Missouri's winter held little appeal for Dr. Kyra Krakos' classes at Maryville U. You just can't do your science easily. This was well before COVID-19 threw a curve into science and all human projects. 


Workaround: Krakos merged her stratae of expertise with her students' digital-native prowess. She "grows" Virtual Reality prairie, glade and riparian outdoor classrooms. She set up systems so advanced students teach beginners the basics (like how pollination works), freeing herself to stay ahead of their voracious learning curves by collecting "skins" on her travels to house new VR explorations of the prairies and glades of Shaw Nature Reserve,  to Ireland's glacial lakes and woodland Berns.


While Virtual rules almost everything for us humans right now, some on-site physical pleasures gnawingly persist. Maryville will soon host Virtual Goat Week, this year's edition of an ongoing Goat Lab study of invasive species removal methods, starring the super-chomping plant control power of Goats.


BIG THANKS to Earthworms engineering crew: Andy Coco, Andy Heaslet, Jon Valley.

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

Related Earthworms Conversations - Tech & Green Science

Global Mosquito Alert with Dr. Anne Bowser (Aug 2019)

Dr. Elaine Ingham: Soil Science Rocks Plant Health (Oct 2017)

Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018)



Apr 7, 2020

Earth Day launched 50 years ago. 2020 is cause for a global celebration, if not for some bits of lipid-coated protein commanding human awareness, planet-wide.

In St. Louis, our Earth Day-365 leaders are rallying to help us  celebrate, learn, and organize VIRTUALLY, at the safe and healthy Social Distance. Over NINE days of eco-logical events, folks here in the Earthworms region will celebrate, while staying apart and healthy. Green learning, music and much more for all, April 18-26!

Dr. Jess Watson and Bob Henkel of Earth Day-365 talk with Earthworms' Jean Ponzi about upcoming events, and how ALL of us can join this semi-centennial of Life On Earth connection.


Related Earthworms Conversations: Earth Day: history of a genius event with Dr. Adam Rome (May 2018)

Music: One Mint Julep, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
Thanks to Andy Coco, Andy Heaslet, and Jon Valley Earthworms tag-team engineers. 


Mar 25, 2020

We humans under stress, amazingly, recharge with a You-Can-Do. Especially when the DO gives us breaks from the stressors.

As our entire species copes at once with the impersonal power of non-living bits of protein to separate us in yet more ways, we are choosing to connect in unprecedented, healing ways. Healing for us, and for our super-stressed (by humans) planet.


ECO CHALLENGE is one of these connectors. Available via your preferred tech device for the entire month of April. Which includes the 50th Annual Earth Day, likely to be festival-free. 

Lacy Cagle, Director of Learning for, presents this motivating, multi-focus You-Can-Do. To WHOLE up our Earth relations and habits, while we are HOLED up, hopefully, in anti-viral best practice. 


Thanks to Andy Coco and Andy Heaslet, engineering for Earthworms in our all-remote Social Distanced locales.

Stay Safe - Be Well!

Related Earthworms Conversations:  

Making Green our Normal with Kathy Kuntz (Oct 2019) 

Storytelling, Deep Listening: Antidotes to Toxic Public Discourse (July 2019)

Try Living Plastic Free! EcoChallenge from July 2019

Mar 3, 2020

Charlotte, North Carolina, a "city with the best of everything," is making Green a priority! Vision, leadership, and tracking replicable examples have become the norm thanks to efforts of Amy Aussieker and her organization, Envision Charlotte.


From mandating building energy efficiency (which benefits building owners and occupants) to innovating with Circular Economy principles this historic metro area is modeling 21st century sustainability in fiscally and socially beneficial action.


Amy Aussieker talked with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi in advance of her March 10 and 11 presentations to the US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and St. Louis Green Business Challenge. St. Louis is doing some of this too - how can we grow these efforts here?

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Engineer

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

Related Earthworms Conversations: 
Green America: Campaigns for Solutions with Beth Porter (Nov 2019) 

Making Green our Normal with Kathy Kuntz (Oct 2019)

Slow Money's Woody Tasch (July 2018)
Anything else about economics? Slow Money

Feb 17, 2020

Bugs benefitting humans? Doug Tallamy's research and reason lays out an eco-logical banquet of ways insect life supports our own - and he calls on each one of us to return the favor, by growing native plants. Tallamy's message is passionate and practical - and clear enough for us ALL to take to heart.


Tallamy's first book, Bringing Nature Home (2007, Timber Press), has become the go-to best bet for inspiring lawn-lovers to switch allegiance to a truly lively (meaning largely NATIVE) personal landscape. His new book, Nature's Best Hope (Feb 2020, Timber Press), jumped onto The NY Times Bestseller List in less than a month. Read Washington Post short essay from 2-12-20


His first midwestern speaking gigs, in St. Louis on March 6-7, sold out in days. This Earthworms conversation is a great chance to hear THE BEST explainer of how we are part of Nature, and how our personal landscapes - from suburban yards to city balconies - CAN turn around catastrophic ecological decline, if we work together and Grow Natives NOW. We can grow what Tallamy encouragingly calls Homegrown National Park. Dig it!

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

THANKS to Sasha Hay and Jon Valley, engineers for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Nancy Lawson, The Humane Gardener (Feb 2019)


Native Plant Garden Tour: See, Grow, Love! (Aug 2017) - look for this tour again in 2020 - and find St. Louis Audubon's Bring Conservation Home program cited by Doug Tallamy in Nature's Best Hope as a program transforming local plant aesthetics. 

Lawn Alternatives with Neil Diboll of Prairie Nursery (Aug 2017)

In the Company of Trees, Forest Bathing with Andrea Sarubbi Fareshteh  Jan 2019)

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)

May 21, 2019

We love good food, and going out to eat it. Thanks to the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance, food and restaurant culture here is sustainably vibrant!

Jenn De Rose, Program Manager for our town's GDA, supports Green efforts of chefs, owners, managers and staff of over 110 restaurants, food trucks and catering companies, currently certified by GDA. Earthworms reviews the menu of options these food pros use to guide their integration of Green efforts into the demanding, glorious business of Food.


Joining De Rose and Earthworms host Jean Ponzi is Hamish Bahrami, owner of Cafe Natasha - certified with 4 Stars in their first GDA year - whose efforts have helped her culturally rich South Grand neighborhood become a Green Dining District.

KDHX connection: Jenn De Rose has DJ'd on FM-88 and GDA Program Assistant Victoria Donaldson serves on the KDHX Program Committee. THANKS for music contributions, too!

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

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, engineering Earthworms, working for Sierra Club
Related Earthworms Conversations: Custom Foodscaping with Matt Lebon (Dec 2018)

Kakao Chocolate: Best of the Bitter and the Sweet (Dec 2017)

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

May 15, 2019

Yes, Nature can probably get along without us, but we are here and we're part of Nature, our nature creates as well as whacks. How can we renew this connection? To heal and protect Nature - and us!


Andres Edwards - educator, media professional and welcomed returning Earthworms guest - brings ideas and heart to this conversation from his new book Renewal - How Nature Awakens Our Creativity, Compassion, and Joy (2019, New Society Publishers). 

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Music: Brandenburg No.4, composed by J.S. Bach, performed by Kevin MacLeod

Related Earthworms Conversations: In the Company of Trees from Forest Bather Andrea Sarubbi Fareshteh (January 2019)

Handprints: Retouching Human Impacts with Gregory Norris (March 2019)

The Big Book of Nature Activities (January 2016)

Apr 30, 2019

Can we humans be "good" when our collective and individual actions contribute to environmental crises like climate change, habitat loss and species extinction? What does "good" mean? And how do we proceed in the face of consequences of our impacts?
These are deep questions. Philosopher and environmental spirituality scholar Roger Gottlieb explores the ambiguities, challenges and opportunities we face, in his new book "Morality and the Environmental Crisis," and in this conversation with fellow enviro-advocate and deep thinker/feeler, Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.

Give a listen. Your thoughts and responses will not disappoint. And you may well come away motivated and encouraged.

Music: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by STL's own Dave Black

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms techno-sustainable engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Handprints: Retouching Human Impacts with Gregory Norris (March, 2019)

Native Science: All Our Relations (Oct 2018)

Community Radio: Purpose, Value and Insider Insights (Aug 2015)

Apr 17, 2019

Listening to: the thread of a tale, voice music, history, mystery, action conveyed through words direct into heart and ears, eyes and mind. Teller and Audience merge in the story exchange.


The St. Louis Storytelling Festival is the largest free storytelling festival in the world. Celebrating its 40th year, for all ages of humankind, the alchemy of this event strikes sparks around our Big River town. Tellers of international to local renown will take their tales to public and special venues April 25 - May 4, 2019.


Current and former festival directors Lisa Overholser and Nan Kammann-Judd bring their love of this interaction to the Earthworms studio - and the festival brings a night of Irish tales to The Stage at KDHX on Tuesday, April 30.

Throughout time, people have preserved their culture, values, and beliefs through storytelling. Giving voice to the human experience, storytelling allows families and communities to pass on their history to succeeding generations, and it remains an evolving, dynamic art form.

Music: Butter II, performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case
Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Green-savvy audio engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

The Patterning Instinct in Human Nature with Jeremy Lent (June 2017)

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

Apr 9, 2019

Mid-way along his marathon cycling trip from CA to MA, Tim Oey is educating humans of all ages about: Oceans, Plastic, Climate Change and Kids. His two wheeling fleet travel mode packs everything he needs, with (as is his life practice) ZERO WASTE.


Tim's stop here with KDHX Earthworms followed three talks this morning at our neighboring Performing Arts Academy. He's on track for his goal of 180 talks in 95 days. Some are presentations, many are conversations. All are likely - as you can hear - thoughtful, encouraging, and gently intense about serious stuff.


Music: Magic 9, performed live at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters
Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Green-living engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: David Henry, Climate Walker (Dec 2015)

Brian Ettling's Climate Change Advocacy Marches On! (Oct 2018)

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

Apr 2, 2019

American Hemp, the new book from Earthworms guest Jen Hobbs (Skyhorse Publishing, 2019), details "how growing our newest cash crop can improve our health, clean our environment, and slow climate change." 
Hobbs details these claims for a plant brought to North America by British colonists, banned and pressed into service and banned again, and now legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. Its seeds are a superfood. Its stalks house you in "HempCrete." Its oil, the substance CBD, can calm anxiety, control seizures, and more.

With real potentials for this flowering plant to earn as much as $30K per acre, its story is growing fast.

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

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms green-savvy audio engineer

Mar 27, 2019

You say you've got squirrels in your attic. Garry Guinn says you've got a hole in your house, and works with you to secure a fix that benefits both the critters and you. 

Garry's business, Humane Wildlife Solutions LLC runs on eco-logic with super Green cred: this St. Louis enterprise endorsed by all the wildlife agencies in town! His practices like "exclusion and eviction" apply his deep understanding of animal behavior, including the animals (us) who call him to deal with their "pests." Note that "extermination" does not need to be on this action list, for a company that gives a multi-month guarantee of problem-solving success!

Meet Garry Guinn and Humane Wildlife Solutions LLC at the Green Living Festival - Saturday June 1 - Missouri Botanical Garden.

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

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms podcast engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Nancy Lawson, the Humane Gardener (Feb 2019)

Bears! (July 2018)

Bug Off! Mosquito Control Need-to-Know (June 2017)

Camera Traps: Tools for Conservation (Aug 2016)



Mar 13, 2019

A power plant burns coal to produce electricity. As with any other combustion, ash remains. This ash is typically stored in "ponds" near the plant. What do ponds do? The fill up, they overflow, they leak into groundwater. With coal ash in this flow, toxics like Arsenic, Lead, Molybdenum, Mercury and more get into our water supplies.

LEO, the Labadie Environmental Organization, has been tracking and acting on Missouri coal ash issues for more than 11 years. LEO organizers Patricia Schuba and Janet Dittrich bring to this Earthworms edition research, observations and an urgent request to YOU to weigh in as MO-Dept of Natural Resources develops a plan to present to US EPA.

Groups like LEO across the country are working to hold power plants responsible for cleaning up coal ash ponds, and managing coal combustion waste responsibly. In Missouri, a public comment period through March 28 gives citizens the chance to comment on MO-Dept of Natural Resources proposal to regulate coal ash.

You can sign a LEO petition through March 21.

Check out related coverage by Eli Chen of St. Louis Public Radio.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Green-savvy enineer

Music: Stomp Hat, performed live at KDHX by Matt Flinner

Related Earthworms Conversations: Value of Water Coalition (Oct 2015)

Mar 5, 2019

A lot of enviro-info dis-credits our human species for the impacts of our "footprints" on Earth's systems, and on beings other than ourselves.


Scientist and public health advocate Greg Norris was inspired, while working with Life Cycle Analyses, to look up from Footprints and focus on the human part that can collaborate, create and restore. "Handprinting" has become a vehicle to encourage and measure our capacity to be a benefit on Earth.

Beneficial actions - and the ripples of influence they create - can now be measured through a key piece of Norris' work-in-progress, the app

This tool and idea aim to ensure that Earth is better off because of human beings, than without us.

Gregory Norris will presents "Handprints and Footprints" in St. Louis on Tuesday evening, March 12 for the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms net-positive impact engineer

Music: Trambone, performed at KDHX by Brian Curran

Related Earthworms Conversations: Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Dr. Daniel Wildcat (October 2018)

The Patterning Instinct in Human Nature with Jeremy Lent (June 2017)

Feb 27, 2019

You too can BEE one! Or Taconite Fly or Opossum or Golden Ragwort one, gardening on an eco-logical team with critters and plants you've overlooked, or maybe even maligned. 


Nancy Lawson invites us to understand more of the habits and roles of species around us, to bust the dualistic myth of Pest vs Beneficial. Her book The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife is a long love note to relationships we can all enjoy. Such as with Tachinid Flies.

Coming to St. Louis Friday March 8: Nurturing Backyard Habitat, a talk-and-mingle with Nancy Lawson and local native plant professionals, 5-8 p.m. at Powder Valley Nature Center. Click here to learn more and register. Thanks to STL Audubon, Greenscape Gardens, Missouri Department of Conservation and Grow Native! for bringing Nancy Lawson to us.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer and listening buddy.
Music: Divertimento k131, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Kevin MacLeod

Related Earthworms Conversations: Relatives, Responsibility, Mindfulness with Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Oct 2018)

Bears! (July 2018)

The Owl Man of Forest Park (July 2015)

Feb 20, 2019

In 2015, Pope Francis message about Climate Change called on people of faith world-wide - not only Roman Catholics - to take action to protect Earth's resources.

A St. Louis consortium of Catholic parents, students and leaders is calling this community to convene, learn, strategize and respond. This edition of Earthworms talks about why, and how, this response is growing.

Sacred Earth: Our Call to Action Conference, Saturday March 9 9 am - 2:30 pm, hosted by Nerinx Hall High School. 


Guests Jamie Hasemeier of Holy Redeemer Parish, Mark Etling from St. Nicholas Parish, and Maggie Hannick of St. Joseph's Academy are conveners, with other partners, of this conference.

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

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms so-green engineer, on loan from Sierra Club

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Drawdown: Solutions to REVERSE Global Warming (March 2018)
Brian Ettling: Climate Change Advocacy Marches On (Oct 2018)

On Care of Our Common Home: Exploring Pope Francis' Message (Jan 2016)

Zero Waste Fish Fry: Holy Redeemer Parish is Hooked on Green (Feb 2018)

Feb 6, 2019

So you know the "Three Rs," right? Recycle is the famous one, but #1 in this trio (REDUCE) deserves more creative attention and - use!


In a recent blog post, recycling professional Kelley Dennings considered why the recycling community may be ditching out on waste reduction. Dennings serves as Advisor to, one of Earthworms' favorite educational orgs.

When Dennigs added a degree in Public Health to her credentials and influence potential, she framed the sort of off-putting Reduce idea of in the human-centered focus of Prevention. Could this be a way to get our species to explore more New Dream's territory? Their motto: More Fun - Less Stuff!

  Resources that come up in this Earthworms conversation include New Dream's So Kind Alternative Gift Registry, an E-Z online way to request and give day-of-event help, shared experiences, homemade and secondhand gifts - and more. Plus references to Zero Waste, Scrap Exchange, Product Stewardship Institute and other Reduce-Reuse activity in the Waste Space.

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

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms so-Green engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Zero Waste Fish Fry Hooks Holy Redeemer in STL (Feb 2018)

Life Without Plastic? (Jan 2018)

TerraCycle's Rockin' Founder Tom Szaky (Sept 2015)

Jan 22, 2019

Getting modern humans out of our house-car-school-work boxes is no small feat. But whenever that may occur, our tall, spreading, leafy neighbors have what it takes to help our kind be more of our best selves. Potentials are TREE-mendous!


Writer Andrea Sarubbi Fareshteh enjoys "Forest Bathing" and researching good stories, facts and quotes. She has composed a gorgeous new book In The Company of Trees - Honoring Our Connection to the Sacred Power, Beauty and Wisdom of Trees (Adams/Simon and Schuster, Jan. 15 2019).  Each tree tale is illustrated with a color photograph, print or woodcut - in a work of art published in accord with Sustainable Forestry Initiative guidelines.

Earthworms is proud to host the first interview for this book!

If you are hearing this podcast in St. Louis before February 12, mark that date to learn about Calculating Tree Benefits in a free program at Missouri Botanical Garden in the BiodiverseCity STL Wild Ideas Worth Sharing Speaker Series. Tree Data is MOTIVATING!

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms True-Green Engineer

Music: Bitter Root, performed live at KDHX by Matt Flinner

Related Earthworms Conversations: Urban Forests: Seeing the Benefits from Trees - Oct 2016

PawPaw: Reviving America's Forgotten Fruit (Tree) - Sept 2015

Jan 15, 2019

Renegotiated by Congress every 5-7 years The Farm Bill impacts food production, nutrition assistance, habitat conservation, international trade, and much more. But try digging into its 1,000+ pages! 


Christina Badaracco, a registered dietician, dug deep into this topic  for her new book (with researcher and author Daniel Imhoff) The Farm Bill: A Citizen's Guide (Island Press, Jan 2019). She brings perspective from this accessible, graphics-rich book to this Earthworms conversation. 

With a new farm bill just signed into law, we all need to understand the implications of food policy. What’s the impact of crop insurance? How does SNAP actually work? What would it take to create a healthier, more sustainable food system? 

Eaters, taxpayers, sustainable food system advocates: listen up!

Music: Who Gives, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, warmly welcomed back this week as Earthworms' engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

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

Citizenship: Responsibility is our Civic Ability to Respond (Nov 2018)

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

Jan 8, 2019

Kirsten Lie-Nielsen lives her dream of self-sufficiency in rural Maine - and shares the experience in her new book, So You Want to be a Modern Homesteader? (New Society, 2018)


From finding the home place to prioritizing work and funds to enjoying the community flow when neighbors drop in, Kirsten covers options with practicality and a smile in her voice. Her goats are never far from the phone! Check out Kirsten's blog at

Music: Cuttin' at the Point, performed live at KDHX by The Freight Hoppers. 

Special THANKS tonight to Anna Holland, Earthworms audio engineer for the past year+. We say farewell with this edition, Anna, appreciating the media professional you already are, and wishing you the BEST in your next round of College work. It was especially fun to have your perspectives on Citizenship on the show we produced right after the 2018 Election. 

Related Earthworms Conversations: Green Finned Hippy Farm: Purpose, Passion, Perspective, Hogs (Aug 2018)

Keeping Geese with Kirsten Lie-Nielsen (Nov 2017)

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



Dec 12, 2018

In their super-service quarter-century, Forest ReLEAF of Missouri has moved over 200,000 native species trees from seedlings to nursery transplants to solid ground in communities around the Show-Me-State.


ReLEAF works with Seniors to Young Friends to community folks. This intrepid non-profit trains and supports volunteer powered efforts to grow, track and maintain healthy Urban Forests. Community Forester Tom Ebeling talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi (some of her best friends are Trees) about this work, in a conversation celebrating ReLEAF's 25th anniversary and the many benefits of urban trees


If this interview inspires you to check out ReLEAF volunteer opportunities, don't resist! The work will grow on you. 

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms Engineer

Music: Magic 9 performed live at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters

Related Earthworms Conversations: Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape with Jill Jonnes (October 2016)

Dec 4, 2018

Want to eat your home landscape? Want to work with Nature in some of the most efficient, effective and - Yes, EASIEST ways? Farmer and Permaculture practitioner Matt Lebon will set up your place to grow a feast for you - and for your bug-bird-nature neighbors.


Matt recently parlayed his five years of deep experience as manager of our town's EarthDance Organic Farm (home of the Farmer Training School) into his innovative enterprise Custom Foodscaping. He can design and plant a custom edible landscaping package for home or business customers, or work with you hands-on to help develop your own Herb Garden, Food Forest or profitable Vegetable Farm.

Matt's enthusiastic skills can produce Edible Schoolyards to Chef's Gardens to Taste-Full Home Gardens. As he says, "Have your landscape and eat it too!" Photos of Foodscape at VICIA Restaurant, Permaculture Orchard at Principia College, Chicken Food Forest at a private home.


Learning Opportunity: 2-Day Foodscaping Course - Feb 16-17 2019

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms audio engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations:

St. Louis Food Policy Coalition Grows Health & Environmental Resources (Dec 2015)

Farming on a Downtown Roof: Urban Harvest STL (June 2015)

Permaculturist Tao Orion Goes Beyond the War on Invasive Species (March 2016)

Urban Flower Farming with Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack (Feb 2015)

Nov 21, 2018

Social philosopher and mathematician Charles Eisenstein takes on the issue of our time, in terms that may give humankind another way to get our minds, hearts and action around Climate Change.


Drawing from Eisenstein's new book Climate, A New Story, this conversation with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi offers perspective, options and much-needed hope for our species capacity to course-correct relative to the systems that support life on Earth, including us.

Music: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black.
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms audio engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018) 
Carl Pope: Creating A Climate of Hope (April 2018)

Joan Lipkin: Theater Takes on Climate Change (October 2017)


Nov 13, 2018

 What does "Citizenship" mean - and how can we revive, revitalize and re-energize it in society today?


Earthworms host Jean Ponzi explores Citizenship ideas and options with guests David Wilson - longtime regional sustainability professional who has led Citizenship Education Clearinghouse, MO Coalition for the Environment, and the OneSTL Regional Sustainability Plan process for East-West Gateway Council of Governments - and Anna Holland - student at Lewis & Clark College, volunteer for the  2018 Illinois Congressional campaign of Betsy Londrigan - and Earthworms audio engineer!

Citizens - Listen Up! Thank you!

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


Nov 6, 2018

Missouri Coalition for the Environment's Ed Smith, Policy Director, and Water Policy Coordinator Maisah Khan present a report on current energy, water and pollution-related issues from the St. Louis Region.


This update covers potential EPA Superfund resolutions to the radioactive-material contaminated West Lake Landfill, clean-up proposals for lead contamination in the Big River, and more fine work from MCE.

As MCE approaches their milestone 50-year anniversary of service in 2019, Ed and Maisah and the MCE staff, interns, board and allies continue hard at work protecting Missouri's water and air quality, open space and food access. This is exemplary work - worth hearing!

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

THANKS to Jon Valley, engineering this week's Earthworms


Oct 31, 2018

Daniel Wildcat, Ph.D., proffers Traditional Ecological Knowledges as antidote (literally) to destruction. His scholarship and teaching at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, is rooted in the relationships of Indigenous knowledge, technology, environment and education - elements related to each other, and to us.


What can each of us learn from an Indigenous cultural and ecological perspective? And how can we apply ourselves as individual antidotes to destruction along this kind of path?

Dan Wildcat directs the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center, and is a founder of the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Working Group. 

Dr. Wildcat comes to St. Louis on November 8 as guest of the Harris World Ecology Center, and one of three speakers about Traditional Ecological Knowledge. This event is free, but registration is required.

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

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms diligent engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Plants, Indigenous People and Climate Change with Ethnobotanist Dr. Jan Salick (December 2015)

The Patterning Instinct in Human Nature (June 2017)


Oct 16, 2018

Our minds and bodies are powerful healers, and strong in maintaining well-being for each of us, overall. But do we use these inner tools?


The profession of Therapeutic Horticulture brings together plants and people, to explore and promote well-being in both profound and simple ways. Jeanne Carbone and her colleagues on the TH team at Missouri Botanical Garden offer a new program to help us explore and strengthen well-being, in partnership with Nature.

The setting for this exploration is Seiwa En, the Japanese Garden of Pure, Clear Harmony and Peace, at Missouri Botanical Garden in the City of St. Louis. Pathways and reflection points provide many opportunities to cultivate personal well-being.


This new program, Journey to Well-Being, includes three guided visits to Seiwa-En and prompts to experience and reflect on your own, in a series of weekly walks. Self-guiding options make this journey as convenient as it is powerful, especially in relation to a jewel of nature in the St. Louis region.

Registration is open for the winter session, with additional sessions coming in 2019.

Music: Bitter Root, performed live at KDHX by Matt Flinner

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

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

Oct 2, 2018

What's possible when we humans talk to each other? Brian Ettling believes a talk can turn the tide of harmful changes to Earth's climate. He's been acting on this conviction since 2012, when he joined the Climate Leaders Network, and became an active force in the Citizens' Climate Lobby.

Brian returns to Earthworms with an update on his interactions with legislators and fellow citizens - and an emphasis on key solutions each of us has the power to achieve:

  • Communicate with elected leaders about climate issues
  • Get involved with a group to "make your voice louder"
  • Invest in clean energy and energy efficiency in your life
  • Vote!

Coming to St. Louis October 17 - Brian Ettling and Fred Miller present "How to Speak about Climate Change with Confidence" hosted by St. Louis University - AND teaching a 3-hour adult class on Climate Change at St. Louis Community College, October 13. 

Music: Jamie, performed live at KDHX by Yankee Racers

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms Audio Engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:
David & the Giant Mailbox: Walking and Talking Climate, Nation-wide (December 2015)

DRAWDOWN: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (May 2018)

Climate of Hope with Sierra Club's Carl Pope (April 2018)

Brian Ettling for the Citizens Climate Lobby (December 2016)


Sep 25, 2018

In a downtown office building, entrepreneurs work side by side with a visiting group of Tibetan monks. Business ideas are taking shape and a brilliantly vivid "painting" with sand is, literally, making peace. It's all in a week's work for innovation culture in St. Louis!


Earthworms' guest Geshe Monlam Gyatso and his fellow monks of the Drepung Gomang monastery are on a Sacred Arts Tour to U.S. cities. Earthworms' friend (and fellow guest) Patty Maher is hosting this group, as she has with groups of monks for several years. The T-Rex incubator welcomes their creation of a World Peace Mandala, Sept 25-30. On Friday Sept 30, the monks'  Dissolution Ceremony will transform this beautiful work into a blessing of the waters of the Mississippi River in a ceremony everyone is welcome to attend.


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

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms' ace audio engineer.

Related Earthworms' Conversations: Photographer Neeta Satam Documents Himalayan Climate Change (March 2018)

Patty Maher's Historic Green Home Rehab (August 2017)

Sep 11, 2018

Batteries. We rely on them, we burn through them - some of us want to recycle them. The national Product Stewardship partnership Call2Recycle works with battery manufacturers to support "circular economy" management of resources in batteries, for us all.

      Tim Warren, Earthworms host Jean Ponzi's longtime recycling colleague, shares a thorough report on the what-why-how of battery recycling for the U.S. today.

If you use power tools, a mobile phone, a laptop, a wristwatch or hearing aid, or drive a hybrid vehicle - or simply continue to use a flashlight - this update will be useful!

The Call2Recycle Locator can help you find a battery recycling option near you. Check it out - and recycle your batteries, of all kinds!

Music: Rear View, performed live at KDHX by Belle Star
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms' intrepid engineer

Aug 27, 2018

City of St. Louis and near-suburb residents might think "our" watershed is nothing more than a concrete drainage ditch. Theo Smith, coalition chair, and other members of the River Des Peres Watershed Coalition, see this urban waterway differently.   


River Des Peres drains over 115 square miles in the City of St. Louis and nearest suburbs, before it joins the Mississippi River. A coalition of Water quality and biodiversity advocates are joining together again this fall to raise awareness of the vital role of River Des Peres - and to pull out the trash that compromises its capacity in our regional watershed, overall. The River Des Peres Trash Bash will mobilize dozens of volunteers to support this waterway, on Saturday October 20, 2018, from 8 am to 2 pm.


Results from  2017: Hardworking Trash Bash volunteers cleared 6.6 tons of trash from the rivers and creeks in the River des Peres watershed in just 3 hours! This tally includes 2.2 tons of scrap metal and 1.8 tons (101) of tires that were recycled!

See yourself  this year in this cadre of water quality champions!

Music: Giant Steps performed live at KDHX by Dave Stone Trio

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms' audio engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Eco-Logic Applied to Road Salt Application Protocols (July 2018)

Aug 22, 2018

When a chance college dorm meeting prompts parlay about urban ag and life's design, can a live/work partnership based on decay, and inspired by nature, be far behind?

In the everyday and enterprise of Tim Kiefer and Beth Grolmes-Kiefer, for sure YES.

These two purposeful young sustainably-focused city residents are putting their ideals to work, raising and selling the outputs of hens, and transforming vacant property from poison-ivy infestation to rich-soil productivity. How? Primarily by collecting to rot the kitchen and garden scraps of others.

Perennial City Composting is a novel subscription service, providing St. Louis City and central-county area customers with regular organic waste pickup. Their on-the-road amenity feeds abandoned lot soil toward Tim and Beth's near-term goal of NOURISHing their subscribers with veggies from the composted scraps these same folks pay them to haul away.


This Earthworms conversation spotlights the Kiefer's unique, hard-working and visionary efforts, while also enlightening Beth and Tim to options host Jean Ponzi knows from her STL work and previous shows.

Listeners: Be ready to Rot & Roll!

Music: Jingle Bells - played live at KDHX by the Civiltones

Earthworms is honored by engineering this week from Andy Coco, host of KDHX Rhythm Section and station Production Director. THANKS!

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Elaine Ingham: Soil Science Rocks Plant Health (Nov 2017)Fungus Farming for Food & Fun - McCully Heritage Project (Feb 2018)

Food Policy Coalition Grows Health & Resouces (Dec 2015)The Easy Chicken - Fowl Fun Comes to You (Dec 2016)




Aug 14, 2018

Alicia and Josh Davis are farmers (and both are, by training, engineers) on a plot they call Green Finned Hippy Farm, near Pocohontas, Illinois.

They started life together, and their farming ambition, aquaponically raising ("green," finned) Tilapia fish. That was 2010. Today their rural 18 acres support hens in pasture, their family of three (son Bean was born there), organic veggie beds, and herds of goats and of the endangered heirloom American Mulefoot Hog.


Resourceful and determined, Josh and Alicia are figuring out farming as they go - helped by the Internet and their family-farming heritage. Innovations like their chicken truck and egg-washing apparatus continue to sprout, making their hard work more efficient. Farm events like Goat Yoga, Sips & Snuggles Baby Goat Happy Hour, and the truly sacramental Swine and Dine are growing their network of customers and friends.


Where there are now is inspiring. Where they aspire to be in 10 years, Josh sums up: "I envision a community where we're Their Farmer, like someone is Their Doctor." Alicia adds: "Our hog program is a conservation effort. We selectively breed to produce excellent genetics. Our hope is that by humanely bringing this animal back to the table, we can remove it from the critically endangered list."

Having this Earthworms conversation - and reading Josh and Alicia's blogs - I am in awe. These beautiful humans are working so hard to preserve and restore both a species of fellow living creature, and an essential way of life. Enjoy their story - and try their food!

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

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Slow Money: Woody Tasch on Investing in Food and Soil (July 2018)

Fungus Farming for Food & Fun (February 2018)

A Climatic Ode to Seed Savers (November 2016)

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

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

The Easy Chicken: Fowl Fun Comes to YOU (December 2017)


Jul 31, 2018

Winter weather brings out fleets of vehicles working to keep roads clear and parking lots free of icy hazards. But run-off of the salt and chemicals used will harm the life in creeks and streams.

Biologist Danelle Haake has researched options to treat slippery pavement without compromising her ecological focus, water quality. "Brining" uses conventional road salt, dissolved, in much smaller quantities.  Her findings are informing local decisions with data on salt concentration in streams during icy-road treatment periods.

Her perspective can help officials and citizens alike care for aquatic critter health.

This Earthworms conversation affirms the importance of urban and suburban streams and supports transportation safety efforts.

Local presentations on this topic are open to the public. Summer is the time to consider ecological winter road maintenance..

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms audio engineer.

Music: Inferno Reel, performed live at KDHX by Matt Finner

Jul 24, 2018

Investment pro Woody Tasch is evolving his own field.

Profoundly inspired by the nature of soil - yes, that BROWN stuff we typically march right over - his work serves its loamy muse by plowing, so to speak, "Nurture Capital" directly into the Local/Sustainable Food movement, yielding ROI of healthier soil and stronger local community economics and culture. He calls this prophet-able enterprise Slow Money.


Woody Tasch's turns of phrase and process grew an investment movement from his publication a decade ago of the now-classic Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money - Investing As If Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered. 

Now he is structuring SOIL, Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally. He articulates how and why the transformative aim of this economic system works in his mytho-poetic and colossally detailed new book SOIL 2017 - Notes Toward the Theory and Practice of Nurture Capital.

Tasch is the bard of a new economic saga, the story of bringing our human relations with money soundly back to Earth. His work is surely, slowly meeting a "lively serious," planetary-scale human need.

Music: The Exotic Future of Money, performed live at KDHX by Kinetics
THANK YOU Anna Holland, engineer for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: The Genuine Progress Indicator with Dr. Eric Zencey (March 2015) 

2% Solutions for the Planet, Courtney White's Super Stories of Green Innovation (Oct 2015) 

Slow Food St. Louis Project Garlic (October 2015)

Jul 17, 2018

Grown locally and designed in-season. Using nature's diversity of shapes, textures and hues in pods and leaves as well as vivid blossoms. Keeping plastic and other material waste to a minimum.

The trend in SLOW FLOWERS embraces all of these. Gardener turned floral business owner Kate Estwing makes these ideals (and more) work, beautifully, in her St. Louis enterprise City House Country Mouse.


Floral artistry that can sustainably bedeck a wedding as easily as creating a planter box of succulents adds value to a service that everyone enjoys. And the values at work for Estwing help grow a bouquet of community resources along with her business!


Open House August 16-18 at the new City House Country Mouse studio, 2105 Marconi Avenue on The Hill in St. Louis! Retail hours there are coming soon.

Yes! this is Kate Estwing of Beep Beep Boop Boop, the popular KDHX radio show; Kate has also served as Program Director for KDHX.

Music: Clavinova, performed live at KDHX by Messy Jiverson

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Urban Buds with flower farmers Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack (February 2015)

Jul 10, 2018

Missourians, meet our native neighbor: Ursus americanus. And meet Laura Conlee, Furbearer Biologist and Resource Scientist with the MO Department of Conservation, a true appreciator of bears.


Photos from MDC Black Bear Research Cam - 2017

Black bears (who can be brown, ruddy and even sort of blonde) have always roamed the Show-Me State (OK, maybe only after Mastodons), but by the early 1900s their numbers had dived. Introduction of bears from northern populations through an Arkansas Game & Fish program in the 1950s and '60s reinvigorated the Missouri Ozarks with vital black bear roles in healthy forest ecosystems.

By 2010, it was time to count MO bears. The MDC Bear Project now annually evaluates black bear reproduction and survival. Note: the bears in these field work-up photos are FINE! Laura Conlee and her skilled team are taking great care with the animals they're handling.


This research collaboration - among specialists in wildlife and habitat biology, landowner relations, public education and more - is tracking multiple factors to better understand and support the animals. Bear data is one element of a new MDC Research Website, created to share this agency's expert knowledge with colleagues and with all of us!

Check out MDC's new Bear Story Map to get a really cool feel for these beautiful creatures, and the research our state's conservation science teams are engaged in.

Going out hiking or camping into bear territory? Or if you're concerned about recent bear reports near our metro area borders, become BEAR AWARE with important advice from MDC advocates for healthy populations of humans AND bears!

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

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms, and to Dan Zarlenga, communications maven for MDC.

Jul 3, 2018

7.6 billion and growing. Human beings on Earth, that is. But talking Population in enviro-circles is not the topic at top of mind. More like on edge of biases.

So the Population Media Center, based in VT USA., marshals Entertainment-Power in societies world-wide (local writers, actors, production companies), to educate through stories of Love, Sex, Triumph, Betrayal and all the kinds of drama-rama that WILL make an impression among our kind. PMC data shows these shows are changing values, and influencing policy. Big work from soaps!

This year PMC celebrates 20 Years of this innovative, globally-partnered service. Joe Bish, PMC Director of Issue Advocacy, returns to Earthworms with a report on how this important work is going.


#RidiculousRight?! is PMC's awareness campaign for World Population Day 2018. The international focus for WPD this year is Family Planning is a Human Right. Throughout July, this hashtag will circulate ridiculous policies and investments contrasted with the value of family planning action and education. Chime in!

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

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

World Population Day 2017 (July 2017)

Jun 26, 2018

Plans and discussions rolled around our town for years. How could we make Bike-Sharing services feasible here in The Lou?


In April, 2018 - just in time for Earth Day! - the cycle-access techno-breakthrough that is Limebike sped past barriers, onto our streets. Today, that first neon fleet of 1,500 Limebikes has multiplied. These Global Cooling Devices and humans of all kinds are moving each other around STL, safely and sustainably, at public attractions and in our city neighborhoods.

David Woronets, Lime Operations Manager, details how Lime is peddling Smart Mobility with great success, and how St. Louis is leading the pack of U.S. Lime markets.

Down the road? Lime electric scooters - and more!

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

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

More Earthworms Conversational Cruises:

Trekking Green: Big Adventure, Tiny Footprint (August 2015)
STL Metro Market: Grocery Story in a Bus (June 2015)
Trailnet's New Vision (March 2016)
American Solar Challenge: Local Roadracing Teams (June 2016)

Great Rivers Greenway St Louis Bike Routes (April 2015)

RideFinders: Carpooling Made E-Z (May 2018)


Jun 12, 2018

Brothers Jeff and Randy Vines are turning 40 (local-speak sez Farty).

Their upbeat, Ham-on-Wry style  - and their business STL-Style - helps power the ultra-diverse, collaborative renewal of their city 'hood, Cherokee Street.


These sons of STL suburbia, who went into advertising, know how to put their love of City into action. Their choice of digs on Cherokee, in South St. Louis, is a perfect place to invest their prodigious love-work resources. And to hawk the "St. Louis inspired apparel, merch and curiosities" that deck their corner store.

This conversation is a valentine to City of St. Louis life, from these uber-articulate bros and City-dweller Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.

New bedazzle on Vines' place is the eye-popping swirly-hue giant mural by daughter-father artist team Liza Fishbone and Robert Fishbone. A Fartieth BD present to themselves gifts big beauty to their City too!

More Art-Related Earthworms: Enviro-Cartoonist Joe Mohr (November 2015)

Joan Lipkin: Theater Takes On Climate Change (October 2017)

Filmmaker Caitlin Zera: From The Pipeline (January 2016)

Chalk Riot: Woman-Powered Street Art (May 2018)

Music: Cherokee Nights, performed live at KDHX by Messy Jiverson

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering Earthworms

Jun 6, 2018

When a material (like paper) or a container (like a bottle or a can) has served its original purpose and still has useful life remaining, that material will remain in use as ingredients in recycled-content products - if you put it in your recycling bin. But not everything should go in that bin.
Bob Henkel manages Recycling On The Go for St. Louis Earth Day. He has BIN there & done that Green thang at hundreds of events, with thousand of humans. He know his recycling stuff. So does Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.

This conversation sorts through - literally! - what can and cannot be recycled, and why it's important not to use that Blue Bin as a catch-all for stuff you WISH could continue to be useful, if somebody else does something with it. 

Coming up June 30, 2018: the second Recycling Extravaganza collection this year for hard-to-recycle stuff. Check it out - and remember to ONLY bring what will be accepted!

Global market shifts are puttin' the squeeze on our recycling industry. We need to work together with our recycling service pros to keep this fundamental Green activity functioning, solvent and useful.

Got Sustainable Living questions? Missouri Botanical Garden's Green Resources Answer Service will give you any possible reuse and recycling options for other stuff - plus advice on more, FREE!

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

THANKS to Earthworms engineer, Ms. Anna Holland.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Life Without Plastic? (January 2018 and Barge-Based Trash Basher Chad Pregracke (March 2017)


May 30, 2018

Artists Chelsea Ritter-Soronen and Liza Fishbone are so down with taking art to the streets. Literally. On the pavement.   


From their home bases in Napa, St. Louis and Austin they meet up in cities everywhere to transform our concrete jungles into vivid works that draw you in. Literally! ChalkRiot's mastery of anamorphic visuals, done in ephemerally dusty chalk or persistent paint, create a riot of art that celebrates special events, delivers a message, and grounds Art-Girl Power in stunning, funny, intentional ways. ChalkRiot work vividly explores themes of Love, Technology, the Environment, Women-Strong, Aliens, Pink Bunnies, Justice and more.


Newest project Pavement Portals is ChalkRiot's ground-busting foray into Augmented Reality: your phone or tablet view of three fantastic Fortune Telling Machines jumps off floor canvas into scintillating, bubbly life. Look for a St. Louis media buzz around this work to amp up in other cities soon!

Photo credits: RJ Hartbeck Basil Tsimoyanis, Art St. Louis

Music: Jingle Bells, performed live at KDHX by CivilTones
THANKS to Anna Holland for Audio-Girl Powering Earthworms.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Artists Take on Plastic Pollution and Invasive Bush Honeysuckle (March 2018)

May 22, 2018

What stops you from considering a Carpool? Have to know someone who lives near you, who works where you do? Have to do it every day or it doesn't count? How can you get home in an emergency if you don't have your own car?

RideFinders has all this covered, and more - including their database of over 16,000 peeps, living and going to work or school, all over the St. Louis metro area. Some of them can be carpool partners for you!

Joe Wright shares the Carpooling how-to from experience, as well as his job directing RideFinders, our regional ride-sharing agency. This FREE service has been matching commuters in convenient, $$ and personal energy saving everyday travel partnerships since 1994.


RideFinders is supported by federal highway funds designated to help clean up St. Louis air by reducing the ratio of cars to persons traveling around our regional "Airshed." Services include FREE membership for companies, universities and other organizations with many possible RideFinders participants, FREE sign-ups for these individuals, FREE taxi service up to 4 times per year as a Guaranteed Ride Home, and FREE workplace presentations about how easy and beneficial Carpooling is.

Consider Carpooling (or joining a Vanpool) for any number of days of your weekly commute. And encourage your employer - or campus Office of Student Affairs - to join and promote RideFinders options.

Special for this summer's Air Quality season: add a new person to your current carpool, or start a new carpool and you'll be entered to win memberships, free passes and other summer-fun goodies in the RideFinders Museum Mania Carpool Challenge.

In a Carpool or Vanpool the benefits will add up way faster than the miles, as you Get Around Greener!

P.S. Informally carpooling counts too! Make it a habit for workplace meetings and social events.

Music: Lime House Blues, performed live at KDHX by legendary Del McCoury

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering this edition of Earthworms


May 15, 2018

On April 22, 1970, a conservative senator from Wisconsin led a diverse, national circle of organizers is bringing public attention to environmental issues of the day. Earth Day has since become the largest civic event on the planet its events strives to protect.


Dr. Adam Rome, Professor of History at SUNY Buffalo, has made a passionate study of this worldwide phenomenon. He shares insights from his 2013 book, "The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation." 

Earthworms host Jean Ponzi swaps Earth Day bits with Dr. Rome from her experience as coordinator of the 20th annual Earth Day Festival in 1990, that helped launch today's vibrant St. Louis Green culture.

Adam Rome will be in St. Louis on May 24 to give the capstone presentation in the 2018 Environmental History Speaker Series. This is a free talk at 7 pm at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

Music: Modern Andy Down - performed live at KDHX

Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer, and to Stephen Hanpeter, Sappington Concord Historical Society.

Related Earthworms Conversations: David and the Giant Mailbox, December 2015 - "Climate Walker" David Henry also presented in this 2018 Environmental History Speaker Series.
Earth Day St. Louis, April 2018


May 1, 2018

Once one of the wildest rivers of North America, some now call it the Missouri Canal. It has been dammed, dredged, cursed as it flooded, pinched between levees, straightened - and yet humans from many walks of life are dedicated to helping this river survive, and even maybe re-wild it a little bit.


Thomas Ball talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi as an individual engaged in the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (he says "Mister RIC"). He's also active in the Sierra Club's Missouri River work  Sierra Club originally filed to get the Pallid Sturgeon, a prehistoric MO River fish protected by the Endangered Species Act.


He brings to our attention two bills moving through Congress that would prohibit citizens from doing this for future threatened species: HB 2134 and SB 935. River lovers: consider action here.

Ball has taken countless humans - youth and adults - out on this river, and on other outdoor adventures. He loves nature, loves the big rivers, and persists in working with his fellow humans to right our actions that have crippled natural forces like the MO, actions which ultimately endanger us. He persists through knowledge, science, collaboration - and that big love. 

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS and welcome back Anna Holland, engineer & tennis champ

Related Earthworms Conversations: Water Issues: Meddling, Muddling, Advocacy (Dec 2017)

Cooperation for Water Security (Oct 2017)

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

Barge-Based Trash-Basher Chad Pregracke (May 2017)


Apr 24, 2018

Subtitle of the new book by Seamus McGraw is Making of the American Water Crisis. McGraw turns his curiosity and storytelling skills to focus on Texas, where he says every aspect of water use, issues, needs and potentials are in play. 


 From a state he says is more like an Empire, where multiple desert climates overlay multiple aquifers, where water use planning and water rights laws still work in a form of frontier justice - what can we learn about how diverse interests might cooperate to equitably manage what all parties need? Water is life, but can people work out ways to share it?


 Left Bank Books, STL's premier independent bookseller, will host Seamus McDaniel on May 1 for a reading and book-signing. A Thirsty Land (2018) comes from University of Texas Press.

Music: Cadillac Desert performed live at KDHX by William Tyler

THANKS to Dan Waterman and Andy Coco, engineering this edition of Earthworms.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Water Issues - Meddling, Muddling, Advocacy (Dec 2017)

Mississippi River Infrastructure Investment Plan (April 2017)


Apr 17, 2018

The 2016 book Climate of Hope conveys a broad, powerfully encouraging view from a longtime environmental champion, Carl Pope - former Sierra Club national Director - and his co-author Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and former Mayor of New York. 


This report on civic, economic, business and cultural alliances proclaims what Pope calls "Bottom-Up Climate Progress" even as U.S. federal leadership rolls back climate protections. Pope's perspective aims to foster citizen engagement and especially locally-based actions to boost clean energy and curb climate disrupting emissions from many sources.

Carl Pope comes to St. Louis on Monday April 23, as Keynote Speaker for the Saint Louis University Climate Summit.

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

THANKS to Dan Waterman and Andy Coco. engineering for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: Project DRAWDOWN (March 2018)

Dr. Peter Raven, Science advisor to Papal Academy and Climate Encyclical (June 2015)

David and the Giant Mailbox: Climate Conversations (December 2015)

Apr 3, 2018

Caring for our planet is fun when St. Louis Earth Day's intrepid crew leads the action!


On April 21-22 the 29th annual Earth Day Festival will fill the sunny, leafy environs around The Muny in our town's Forest Park with learning, music, food, people-watching and you-can-do options for all ages. Free and fabulous, this event is one of the largest Earth Day festivals on the planet!                                                         


The non-profit hosts of this Green gala also coordinate waste-reducing services year-round, from Recycling Extravaganza's annual spring-cleaning support to Recycling On The Go teams that bring food waste composting, single-stream recycling and public education to festivals of all kinds.

Check out volunteer opportunities with St. Louis Earth Day - they are rewarding, impactful and always well organized!

Thanks to Jen Myerscough, St. Louis Earth Day Executive Director, and Bob Henkel, who heads up Recycling On The Go, for joining this Earthworms edition.

Music: Extremist Stomp, performed live at KDHX by Pokey LaFarge and Ryan Spearman
THANKS to Andy Coco, engineering Earthworms this week with assistance from Dan Waterman.
Related Earthworms Conversations: 2018 Green Challenges Worth Taking! (March 2018)

Mar 24, 2018

With Earth Day coming up, we are challenged by a lot of "you can do." Individual efforts matter, but how much?

Earthworms endorses two challenges that WILL have an impact, in our lives and for our planet.

The DRAWDOWN Eco-Challenge, running nationally April 4-25, builds on ten years of eco-challenge experience from Northwest Earth institute to engage individual actions. Multiplying impacts, this 2018 challenge correlates our actions to the measures mapped, measured and prioritized by Project DRAWDOWN for collective capacity to pull climate-changing carbon out of Earth's atmosphere. Lacy Cagle, Director of Learning for NWEI, shares these potentials with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.


Then from April 27-30, residents of the St. Louis region - and 65 other cities around the WORLD - can contribute to understanding about local biodiversity by participating in the City Nature Challenge, as described by Earthworms guest Sheila Voss, VP of Education at the Missouri Botanical Garden .


Using the (totally terrific!) app iNaturalist, humans of all ages can log observations of plants and critters as communities "compete" to gather intel about local biodiversity. In St. Louis, observations logged during City Nature Challenge days will establish a baseline of biodiversity data crucial to address regional nature-preservation goals.

In Earthworms' opinion, these are two Challenges WORTH TAKING!

Music: Rearview performed live at KDHX by Belle Star

THANKS to Anna Holland, ace Earthworms engineer

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

Learning Green: Northwest Earth Institute (October 2017)



Mar 20, 2018

When Artists address environmental issues, people see/hear them in new ways. Art may fire us into action, more than mere info ever can.


Jenny Kettler co-curated and has pieces in a group gallery show, Plastic Nation - The Trashing of America, on view through April 7 at Stone Spiral Gallery in Maplewood, MO. Photographs, multi-media works, ceramics and prints navigate the plastic tide we are awash in, with the message that we can reduce our use of this polluting stuff. This show opened March 10; a Closing Reception on April 7 from 2-4 pm will feature Artist Talks at 2:30 pm.

Dale Dufer is bringing "suit" against one of our region's most destructive yet popular invasive plants. The Trial of Bush Honeysuckle comes to the historic Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis on Wednesday, April 4 at 1 pm. With a real Judge, real Environmental Lawyers and Expert Witnesses, this educational trial seeks justice for damages to the Biodiversity of our Native Plants.  Man vs Bush should be a landmark case, whatever the outcome. Open to the public.

These Artists want us to look deeply into problems we have created on our planet - with a sense of humor to encourage us toward turnarounds.

Music: Mr. Sun, performed live at KDHX by Hunter's Permit
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms podcast engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Life Without Plastic? (January 2018)

Fashion Through an Artists Eye: Bush Honeysuckle to Meat (April 2016)

Permaculture Goes Beyond the War on Invasive Species (March 2016)

Invasive Bush Honeysuckle: SWEEP It! (March 2016)

Mar 12, 2018

"Global warming is changing the Himalayas faster than any other region of the world, outside the polar caps," says documentary photographer Neeta Satam.


She has made three working treks to the isolated village of Kumik, in the Zanskar valley of Kashmir, where village life, family relations and culture is endangered as climatic shifts remove water from a people who've lived in balance in this region for thousands of years.

"Where should we go?" is one of many stories Satam relates through her perceptions as an environmental scientist, and now through her mastery with a camera lens.

Satam's compassion, insight and courage illuminate her work, as she strives to make the world aware of impacts of Climate Change on human beings in places being hardest hit.

THANKS to Prof. William Allen, University of Missouri, for making the connection to Earthworms for this interview.

Music: Dirty Slide, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Plants, Indigenous People and Climate Change - Dr. Jan Salick, ethnobotanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden (December 2015)

Mar 7, 2018

Humans are pumping CO2 (and other heat-trapping gases) into Earth's atmosphere, causing whopping changes to our climate, aka global warming.

Project DRAWDOWN says (and documents with data) that actions currently in use can, if combined and ramped up, literally draw down over-concentrations of these gases into Earth systems (like soil, trees, oceans) designed to contain them. And reverse global warming.


Chad Frischmann, VP and Research Director for Project DRAWDOWN, worked with multi-disciplinary professionals who have researched the potentials of measures ranging from increasing renewable energy generation to people eating plant-based diets to educating girls - and more. Erika Boeing, now based in St. Louis, is one of the DRAWDOWN Research Fellows and her company, Accelerate Wind, is developing technology to boost wind energy production.

The entire project is summarized in a 2017 book that immediately hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

A St. Louis talk on March 13 will spotlight four Missouri enterprises implementing measures defined by DRAWDOWN, including Ms. Boeing's work, and will describe the audience to Project DRAWDOWN.

With plenty of work needed, this project is seeding optimism in what world leaders and scientists call the moral issue of our time.

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

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: Dr. Peter Raven, St. Louis advisor to Papal Encyclical on Climate Change (June 2015)

Feb 28, 2018

For any Catholic parish, a Fish Fry cooks up fun and some revenue during the season of Lent. At Holy Redeemer in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, a portion of that green potential is being invested in Green education-by-example, led by two Moms.


Jamie Hasemeier, Earthworms guest (pictured right, photo by Dave Leuking), came to "Holy" with strong personal environmental values. She wants to contribute in every way to a healthy world for her four children - and for her fellow humans everywhere. When Jamie teamed with fellow Mom Lisa Reed, who runs the church's annual Fish Fry, she worked through several cycles of Lent to cook sustainability into those events.

Students educate guests about low-waste eating as they direct diners to correctly recycle and compost. Results of these efforts included less than 2 bags of landfill trash from each of 2017's Fish Fry evenings - that each served over 750. Green efforts continue growing!

Features in the St. Louis Review, an archdiocesan publication, and the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance blog helped boost attendance in 2017, when these dinners went Compostable. Trays going into yellow Compost bins are not Styrofoam - they are plastics made from plants.

Other parishes are acting on the Holy Redeemer Green example, set by Mothers who love Earth - and act on their faith.

Music: Rearview, performed live at KDHX by Belle Star

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms skillful, tasteful engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Laudato Si, understanding Care for Our Common Home, with Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (January 2016)

Dr. Peter Raven, science advisor to Pope Francis' Climate Change encyclical (June 2015)

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

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 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

Jul 11, 2017

We've heard the statistics: seven point something BILLION and growing. What do those "billions" mean, what's at issue for Earth's capacity to support human life - and what about the rest of the species living here?

World Population Day was designated in 1987 by the United Nations to educate and advocate on population-related issues. This Earthworms' conversation takes place on July 11, 2017, the 30th annual round of focus on these global concerns.

Joe Bish, Director of Issue Advocacy for the Population Media Center, explains some of these issues, especially from an environmental viewpoint. He also describes how PMC is changing the public population education game in countries where these issues are major stressors, with significant taboos. PMC produces Soap Operas! They collaborate with local talent to create stories based on local culture, supporting the work of writers, producers and actors and impacting community values and practices. Who doesn't love a juicy serial drama? 

Music: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer

In 2013, the Population Institute, a key partner of Population Media Center, recognized KDHX Earthworms and host Jean Ponzi with a Global Media Award for Best Radio Show.

Jul 3, 2017

We too often hear how out society is checked-out, apathetic, overwhelmed. There is a LOT of keep track of and cope with in the news today - in no small part because there's so much news coming at us constantly. But keeping engaged as citizens is IMPORTANT. The Missouri Coalition for the Environment has a new tool to help us be active, responsive, inquiring. It puts efficient, effective potentials in our pockets.

Caitlin Zera, Community Engagement Manager for MCE, leads the team developing The People's Pocket Guide to Environmental Action. A pdf version is available now. MCE staff and volunteers are distributing (pocket sized!) print copies at community outreach events, and will be offering citizen action trainings starting this fall. An interactive online Pocket Guide is in the works, giving MCE and many partner organizations the capacity to illustrate the basic action measures with community issue examples. 

As Caitlin talks through the action process with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi, we are confident you'll get the goal this guide's subtitle energizes: How YOU Can Make a Difference in Your Community NOW.

Music: Magic 9 performed live at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: From the Pipeline with Filmmaker Caitlin Zera (January 2016)

New Food Policy Coalition Grows Health & Environment Resources (December 2015)

Jun 28, 2017

They stand around us, enrich our lives in countless ways - that are increasingly well-documented with compelling data. They embody cooperation in many ways that humans could emulate. And they give us shade. When we tune to their frequencies, what's on the Great Tree Playlist for us? Plenty!


Biologist David George Haskell has been listening to trees in very different Earth locales. His new book The Songs of Trees - Stories from Nature's Great Connectors (Penguin 2017) features trees in an Ecuadoran rain forest, on Broadway in Manhattan, in a middle-eastern olive grove, and other unique spots. His observations and perceptions combine scientific precision with a philosopher's expansive take on life, told in a troubadour's voice. Trees have MUCH to teach our kind, about dancing between competition and cooperation, toward the vision (Haskell says it's an attainable goal!) of regenerating and benefiting all we touch.

David Haskell will speak on July 25 in St. Louis, for the Wild Ideas Worth Sharing biodiversity speaker series - FREE - at the Missouri Botanical Garden. He will also present to area teachers as keynote speaker for the "Visualizing Biodiversity Symposium." He teaches biology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. His work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world.

Music: For Michael, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer

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

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

Jun 21, 2017

Our human culture shapes our human values, which in turn makes us more (or less) of how we see ourselves and who we "really" are, as individuals and as the societies we form. Writer and thinker Jeremy Lent has explored the connecting, shaping forces in the context of human history - to help us see and hopefully direct ourselves.


This conversation lights on topics from Agriculture - and how it cultivated Hierarchies - to Truth, with and w/o the capital emphasis, to Love being our realization of connectedness, at the heart of human-kind-ness. We think you'll dig these deep thoughts, seasoned with Earthworms' sense o' humus about what it means to be Human - in the past, now and in possible futures. 

May this podcast prompt you to pick up Jeremy Lent's new book, The Patterning Instinct - A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning (Prometheus, 2017), and check his work through the non-profit Liology Institute, where connection is appreciated as a universal organizing principle. 

Music: Beneath the Brine, performed live at KDHX by The Family Crest

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer and hub of Sedentism Awareness



Jun 14, 2017

Consider money: abstract medium of exchange representing all human and natural creativity and productivity. Could money evolve through human ingenuity - motivated by human love - to restore, protect and cultivate the human and natural resources it stands for?

Investment expert Joel Solomon says, emphatically, YES! and expounds on how in his new book The Clean Money Revolution - Reinventing Power, Purpose and Capitalism (New Society, 2017; written with Tyee Bridge).


This revolution means that we who have monetary privilege can and will use the energy of money for the good of the whole, for the long term. Visionary - and practical, advocating from 30+ years investment experience that proves doing well can do good, in major ways. 

This Earthworms conversation explores the options, as it affirms the urgent necessity of transforming how money works, and how to realize changing it.

Music: Giant Steps, performed live at KDHX by the Dave Stone Trio

THANKS to Cody Pees, Earthworms engineer, and to Carney & Associates P.R.

Check out Joel Solomon's Ted Talk - Joel, chair of Renewal Funds, a $98 million mission venture capital firm in Vancouver, BC, was instrumental in bringing TEDx to Vancouver. 

Jun 7, 2017

The bug us. They bite us. Some of them carry a dread disease. Mosquitoes are a fact of summer life that WE can and must actively control.


Jim Sawyer, Vector Control Supervisor for St. Louis County Department of Public Health, covers the details about mosquito biology, disease concerns, and County mosquito control protocols. Earthworms host Jean Ponzi gets the facts to help us all work together with public health officials to minimize mosquito breeding (dump and prevent standing water!) and to identify sites where mosquito species of concern may be proliferating.

Hear how Integrated Pest Management by a local government uses surveillance, conservative and strategic applications of adulticide and larvaecide chemicals, and plenty of public education to protect human health while also protecting beneficial insects. If you are gardening for bees or butterflies, learn how you can opt out of street spraying.


For specific information about mosquito controls where you live, call you municipality or county government Vector Control office. Resources from St. Louis County, MO, include the basics of citizen-municipal collaboration toward good health for all.

Music: Hunters Permit, performed live at KDHX by Mr. Sun

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer, assisted by Cody Pees.

Related Earthworms Conversations:
Fight the Bite!  City of St. Louis Mosquito Team (July 2016)

May 31, 2017

Across the tribal lands of Oklahoma, indigenous people are supporting Monarch butterflies and other pollinators by learning about and restoring the area's indigenous plant communities.


Jane Breckinridge - herself a Butterfly farmer! - co-directs this initiative, Tribal Environmental Action for Monarchs (TEAM), a collaboration of seven sovereign native nations. TEAM is growing a living stream of plants and butterflies, the Monarch Migration Trail, in partnership with the international initiative Monarch Watch.  Jane also founded the project Natives Raising Natives (2013), which is teaching rural tribal members to cultivate butterflies with goals to (1) reduce unemployment, (2) promote STEM education for Native youth and (3) promote conservation of native butterflies and the ecosystems that support them. 

Evolving on the wings of cultural and environmental purpose, this is a new model for conservation as community action. that is working in accord with the partners' diverse tribal values. Healthier humans of all ages are thriving with bugs and plants, in interactions that restore the land all depend upon.

Jane Breckinridge will be guest speaker at The Pollinator Dinner, June 20, at the Saint Louis Zoo. Tickets for this delectable, inspiring event go fast. 

THANKS! to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Engineer

MUSIC: Jamie, performed live at KDHX by Yankee Racers

Related Earthworms Conversations: Dr. Chip Taylor, founder of Monarch Watch (March 1, 2017)

May 19, 2017

The operation's name affirms its goal: Living Lands and Waters, and it's founder is a powerhouse of encouraging experience for humans along many shores. As Chad Pregracke proudly reports, LLW has worked on 23 Rivers in 20 States, mobilizing 98,000 Volunteers to pull more than 9.2 million pounds of Trash OUT of U.S. waterways. Right livelihood, on a barge. Since this guy was 17.


Chad is a Green Giant - and his LLW crew and circles of helpers and supporters are doing some of the most amazing, effective and necessary work around. Including connecting people of all political persuasions to our land's big rivers, in ways that enable us all to experience being good citizens of our nation and our Earth.

This Earthworms is a rockin' good listen!

Music: Extremist Stomp - performed live at KDHX by Pokey laFarge and Ryan Spearman

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms' Engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Missouri River Relief (March 2017)

Mississippi Watershed Mayors take Infrastructure Plan to Washington (March 2017)


May 16, 2017

Now five issues old, The New Territory celebrates culture and views of the Lower Midwest in a quarterly anthology of writing, art and photography.


Founder, publisher, Ed-in-Chief Tina Casagrand took her vocational step into magazine-making to amplify voices of the region she unhesitatingly calls a Center of the Universe. She talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about the spirit and workings of her literary venture, and the region it portrays.

Visit online at   Let us know how you experience it!

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer.

May 10, 2017

Earth's atmosphere can safely sustain a concentration of 350 parts per million carbon dioxide (or less). That number, 350, now stands for the world-wide work of climate protection activists (, who also advocate for human stuff like a livable minimum wage - and for office-holders in accord with 350 goals.


350STL launched in November, 2016, on a wave of local affiliates to 350STL organizers John Shepherd, Stephanie Sturm-Smith and Elizabeth Ward talk with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about this group's purpose and activities - most recently coordinating the April 29 Peoples Climate March in St. Louis - and about their personal motivations and experience doing this work. 

You'll hear a climate of thoughtful purpose, working toward local and global change.

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

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms ConversationsCitizens Climate Lobby - Dec 2016 Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change - Nov 2016                                       An Ethnobotanical Perspective on Climate Change - December 2015               David and the Giant Mailbox: A 1,000 Mile Walking Climate Conversation (Nov 2015)

May 2, 2017

Digging into food values - while exploring her own - author Marissa Landrigan journeyed from her Italian family roots to vegetarian and PETA activism - and on into the realm of modern food production, especially Meat. Her new book, A Vegetarian's Guide to Eating Meat (Greystone Books, 2017), chronicles her quest for dietary and personal identity.

Even if you can expound on Food Issues in your sleep, you'll be nourished by Ms. Landrigan's  perspective on the importance of eating local, voting for instead of protesting with your fork, becoming aware of your food connections - plus participating at a steer slaughter and in an elk hunt.

This Earthworms conversation with Marissa Landrigan serves a menu of food consciousness, most eloquently. 

MUSIC: Deep Gap - recorded live at KDHX by Marisa Anderson

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer, and to Kathlene Carney Public Relations.

RELATED Earthworms Conversations:

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

Grow - Create - Inspire with Crystal Moore Stevens (October 2016)

St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (December 2015)


Apr 26, 2017

The Miller family had been farming acreage in Ferguson, Missouri for over a century when Molly Rockamann, a visionary who loves to dance, came home from service overseas, met Mrs. Miller and launched - in 2008 - the enterprise EarthDance Farms.

Today, this extraordinary human-nature partnership includes an Organic Farm School; hands-on working and learning opportunities for teens to elders; productive, nutritious, delicious and LOCAL public interactions through the Ferguson Farmers Market - and much more.


Most recently, the principles of Permaculture have taken root on the contours of EarthDance fields, guided enthusiastically by Farm Manager Matt Lebon. Matt describes the Permaculture way of working with nature to produce food while supporting whole ecosystems (way more than just crop rows) on agricultural lands. 

This summer, plan a Saturday morning trip up to Ferguson. Shop the Ferguson Farmers' Market starting at 8 am, then at 10:45 hop on the new Jolly Trolley (put your veggies in its cooler) for a short trip to tour EarthDance Farms. You'll be back to your car by noon - and it may not be your only visit! Learn more at

Music: Mayor Harrison's Fedora, performed live at KDHX by Kevin Buckley and Ian Walsh

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms' engineer, and to Crystal Stevens, EarthDance Marketing Mama, for coordinating this interview.

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Farming on a Downtown Roof - June, 2015 - Food Roof farmer Mary Ostafi is an EarthDance alumna.

Permaculturist Tao Orion Goes Beyond the War on Invasive Species (March, 2016)

St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (December, 2015)

Apr 23, 2017

Kat Makable, a financial analyst, was living in Japan in 2011 when the tsunami resulting from the Tohoku earthquake shut down the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  His experience of the effects of power outages and shutdowns motivated him to research nuclear power options.


His book "Buying Time: Environmental Collapse and the Future of Energy" makes the case that current generation nuclear energy technology must be included in a mix of energy production sources to support human needs and demands in the age of Climate Change - and beyond.

Music: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer!


Apr 12, 2017

Earth Day is a green-letter holiday for Earthworms, this year celebrating 29 years of communicative community service on KDHX! Worms and humans will whoop it up at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival in Forest Park on the glorious rolling grounds of The Muny. And did we say: it's all FREE!


We say a lot about this event in this Earthworms conversation with host Jean Ponzi and Bob Henkel, manager of St. Louis Earth Day's uber-resourceful year-round community-event program Recycling On The Go.
These days, in the enviro-biz, it ain't all good news. But Earth's elegant, beautiful systems persist in humming all around us. Getting outside for a fete is a righteous way to celebrate the gifts of Earth, and of Life here. The Earth Day Festival in St. Louis offers open-air breezes, music, great food and drink, fun and enlightening activities, super-duper people-watching - and the opportunity to learn a lot of good stuff toward becoming a better steward of this Earth we in habit. All for Free. 

Hope to see you at the Earth Day Festival!

MUSIC: Agnes Polka, performed live at KDHX by the Chia Band.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms very Green-minded engineer.


Apr 5, 2017

Their motto: 124 Cities, 10 States, 1 River. Their most recent collaboration: a proposal to the Trump administration for investing in an infrastructure plan that restores ecology as well as built features along the Mississippi.

They are the mayors of towns of all sizes bordering the river's "mainstem," forces joined in the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. This group of local leaders jumped on the presidential campaign promise of infrastructure improvements, preparing a plan they presented in Washington on March 1, that calls for investing $7.93 billion in specific actions that will create 100,000 new jobs, sustain 1.5 million existing jobs, and generate $24 billion in economic return.


The mayors' plan is grounded in economics. It modestly calls for near-current levels of funding for valuable EPA, DOT, DOI, FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers programs that clean our water and return taxpayer investments at the rate of at least 2 o 1. This group was FIRST to present a proposal to the White House, meeting with the President's senior infrastructure advisor and representatives from White House Intergovernmental Affairs and the National Security Council.

This Earthworms conversation with Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director of MRCTI, details foresight, cooperation, leadership, and common sense - applied to protect and restore the Triple Bottom Line of natural, human and capital resources - from elected officials of American towns.

It's a proposal, not a done deal by any means, but . . . Kudos, mayors for GREAT work!  Stay tuned.

Music: Butter II, performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer.

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


Mar 27, 2017

A river in songs and legends is also one of the most altered major waterways in the world, and the longest river in North America. The Missouri roils eastward from the Rocky Mountains to join it's mighty Mississippi cousin just upstream of St. Louis. 

Before this powerful confluence, Big Muddy flows past the historic, friendly town of Washington, MO. And on those banks - in fact, right in Renwick Riverfront Park - all are welcome to help clean up and celebrate the Missouri in the 6th Washington River Festival on Saturday, April 8th. Local artists and river friends host this festival in partnership with Missouri River Relief.


Join the clean-up effort from 9 am - 1 pm. The Festival from 11 am - 5 pm features music, educational booths, art activities, food, and an art auction - all FREE and all arrayed along Washington's Missouri River banks.

THANKS to Earthworms guests Steve Schnarr, River Relief Program  Manager (and real-life River Rat) and festival organizer Gloria Attoun for this flowing conversation!

THANKS also to Andy Heasley, Earthworms engineer.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Living With Rivers: Big Muddy MO (February 15, 2017 - AND Mississippi River Town Mayors: Leadership in Global Way (June 2016) 

Mar 22, 2017

"It's how we used to learn," says Scott McClintock, science teacher and board member of the Experiential Education Exchange of St. Louis. "You experience something, reflect on it - learn from it - and incorporate it into your life skills."

Scott expands this modest summary in an Earthworms conversation that covers outdoor trips, building school gardens, digging up the cow that died on the school farm last year - and how real-life experiences (and topics like climate change or tolerance) are growing human minds and hearts while also teaching necessary math and reading. Not your straight-line test-score old-school blues song.


Leaders and partners of the EEE have collaborated since 2013 to help teachers, students, parents and school administrators get access to Experiential know-how, grounding St. Louis in an international education movement. A free Spring Event on March 29 and the annual conference on April 29 of the Experiential Education Exchange are opportunities to build skills and relationships in a learning mode where connecting to nature and becoming fully human headline the curriculum.

Learn (a lot!) more at 

Music: Magic 9, performed at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: The Big Book of Nature Activities (June 28, 2016)

Mar 14, 2017

They may nest in a tree stump, or holes in the ground, or pull nest fibers from the stalks of your dried-up native plants. Wherever they can make a home, you will find them fascinating, useful guests. Earthworms guest Heather Holm - a landscape designer, author and native plant expert - LOVES to introduce humans to them!


They are Native Bees - species of insects that pollinate many kinds of plants. They are very different from familiar honeybees (introduced here from Europe) which live in huge colonies of thousands of bees. Our native bees are usually solitary, visible only during their brief adult lives, when their determined purpose is to build an out-of-the-way nest, provision it with "bee bread" made from flower pollen, lay eggs, seal their nest up - and die. Next year, new native bees will hatch from those obscure places and re-start the cycle of reproduction and pollination.

Heather Holm now works, researches, writes and speaks from her Minnesota home in the Twin Cities. She hails from the University of Ontario, Guelph, where another recent Earthworms guest brought us intel about honeybees. She visited St. Louis in early March, as keynote speaker for the Partners for Native Landscaping workshop, where she kindled many fires of interest in gardening to attract and observe native bees - including with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi!

Music: Divertimento K 131, performed by Kevin McLeod

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Bees and People (January 2017)

Prairie Plants: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February 2017)

Mar 8, 2017

In Earthworms' experience, when people want to do something Green they think recycling - or solar panels! But what makes solar tick? What are your options? How is solar evolving, in efficiency, affordability, and influence in the "energy space?"

Paul McKnight, owner of St. Louis-based EFS Energy, has made solar his business since 2011. He's weathered solar's ups/downs - and continues to be excited by innovations in power storage, renewable energy financing - and more.


Music: Giant Steps, Dave Stone

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, intrepid engineer

Related Earthworms' Conversations: PACE Financing (January 2017)

Energy: Efficiency, Policy, Financing (September 2016)

All-Electric America> (August 2016)

Mar 1, 2017

How can you not love a tiny, gorgeous creature that flies from Mexico to Canada to keep its species on the Earth? Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are one of our most iconic nature-kin. They need our help - and we can give it to them, beautifully.


Dr. Orly R. "Chip" Taylor has championed Monarchs since the early 1990s.  His studies through University of Kansas-Lawrence have documented a drastic decline (over 90%) of Monarch populations along their  North American migratory flyway, and his advocacy - as founder of Monarch Watch, Monarch Waystation and Milkweed Market - continues to mobilize citizen science and gardening support to restore habitat needed to preserve this species.

Chip Taylor will  keynote the second annual Grow Native! workshop in Edwardsville, IL on Friday, March 10. This is an opportunity to hear one of nature's Green Giants, learn how YOU can contribute to the health of Monarch and other native critter populations through Native Plant landscaping - and you can GET PLANTS!

Don't let this spring pass without digging into the Native Plant movement. Opportunities abound! You - and Monarchs - will benefit, beautifully.

Music: Artifact, Kevin MacLeod

THANKS to Andy Heasley, Earthworms engineer - and to Andy Coco.

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Native Plants: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February 2017) 

Prairie Power (March 2016)

Feb 15, 2017

Longest in the US, muddy-waters famous for music-inspiring - and one of the most-altered rivers on Earth. We humans have channelized, narrowed and straightened the Missouri almost (not quite) beyond recognition.   

With enough River Issues to float a boat, we STILL have opportunities to protect and in some spots even restore health to the Mighty MO. Greg Poleski, VP of Greenway Network, works on river issues by leading paddling outings on "water trails," leading river clean-ups, and organizing public education events. Brad Walker, River Director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, works with legal, legislative, public education and other means to protect the Missouri from further degradation.

LEARN MORE at River Soundings - a free panel discussion of Missouri River issues. Wednesday February 22, 5:30-8 p.m. Visitor Center in Forest Park. Panelists Tony Messenger, Brad Walker and Dr. Robert Criss, moderated by Jean Ponzi from KDHX.

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran, December 2003

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

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

Feb 8, 2017

Wildflowers are moving into the city - and plants with "weed" in their names are welcome even in the 'burbs. Sure and steady as Oak trees, a Native Plant revolution is changing the ways we experience our yards, our parks, our school grounds and even our corporate campuses. 


Neil Diboll, President of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, has grown this wild idea for 35 years. He was digging native plants when his business "couldn't give 'em away." Now he - and many humans like him - can't get enough of the kinds of plants that let our species garden in a Joint Venture with Nature. 


Mitch Leachman cultivates this mania here in the KDHX listening area. As head of St. Louis Audubon, he leads volunteers from groups with names like Wild Ones and Master Naturalists in efforts to "Bring Conservation Home" - the wildly successful Audubon program that comes to your yard with guidance to garden ecologically. 

Let this Earthworms conversation welcome you to the realm of Native Plants. Want to learn more? You're in luck! March brings workshops, talks and plant sales bursting like Milkweed pods with Native Plant knowledge, opportunity, and FUN! Neil Diboll will headline the 2017 Partners for Native Landscaping Workshop on March 3 & 4 - hosted this year at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, where native plant horticulture training is taking off like Prairie Blazing Stars. 

Additional visiting Native Plant maven: pollinator plant author Heather Holm.

Need a lift for your spirits? Start gardening for butterflies, birds and bees. Pick some flowers with "weed" in their names. Meet folks who've got the Native bug - and let yourself catch it too!

Music: Agnes Polka, performed at KDHX by the Chia Band, 1999.

THANKS to Andy Coco, Earthworms engineer, and to all the Partners for Native Landscaping organizations.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Prairie Power: Native Plants, Soil Health, Biodiverse BEAUTY (March 30, 2016)

Wes Jackson and The Land Institute: Growing Our Food Crops as Prairies? (September 15, 2015)

Jan 25, 2017

Honeybees are giving humans a sustainable buzz! Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association will host their 10th annual workshop for beginning and advanced beekeepers on Saturday February 11th. Local beekeepers - at hobby and commercial scales - gather at this event to learn basic and advanced apiculture from guest faculty and each other. 

Local beekeepers and EMBA members, Steve Rudolph and John Pashia, are joined by Paul Kelly, who is Research and Apiary Manager in the School of Environmental Sciences at University of Guelph, Ontario. Paul is coming to St. Louis as guest faculty for the advanced course in the EMBA workshop. 


We buzz about: Virroa destructor, the mite pestilence wreaking havoc in bee colonies across North America; honeybee health measures that are evolving to work with bee biology and habits, vs. techno-fixes; some beekeeping history; what folks like about interacting with these industrious insects - and of course, those enjoyable products of the hive.

Beekeeping is a popular, fast-growing hobby among sustainably-minded humans. And bees are essential partners in producing over half of the foods our society eats. If you've thought about beekeeping, now's the time to get to learn more!

Music: Divertimento K131, performed live at KDHX by Kevin MacLeod, February 2009.

Photos: EMBA members learning together (Ray Marklin); Paul Kelly (Guelph Mercury) 

THANKS to Earthworms engineer Josh Nothum, joined this week by Andy Heaslet.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Vanishing Bees: Science, Politics and Honeybee Health (January 16, 2017; Honeybee Democracy - Dr. Tom Seely is WILD About Bees (February 23, 2016)

Jan 18, 2017

Honeybees, among all types of pollinators, pollinate over 1/3 of all U.S. foodstuffs. And they are in trouble. Colony Collapse Disorder is just one of a hive of serious issues compromising the health of honeybees kept by commercial-scale and hobby beekeepers, here and abroad.

Many stakeholders share concerns - and conflicting views - about honeybee health: agricultural growers, government agencies, pesticide and herbicide manufacturing corporations, scientists, academics and - of course - beekeepers at every honeybee husbandry scale. Why can't these interests concur about causes - and work toward solutions - to critical bee-health issues?


Researchers from the University of Wisconsin explored what is "credible" and "trusted" amid the human buzz of bee-related viewpoints, while also digging into bee health issue details. Biologist Dr. Sainath Suryanarayanan talks with Earthworms host jean Ponzi about this work. He co-authored the new book "Vanishing Bees: Science, Politics, and Honeybee Health" (Rutgers University Press, 2016) with sociologist Dr. Daniel Lee Kleinman. Suryanarayan is Associate Scientist for the Study of Trans-Disciplinary Biomedical Research, Department of Population Health Sciences, UW-Madison.

MUSIC: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black, January 2011

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, and to Peter Bermudes of Gail Leondar Public Relations.

MORE ABOUT BEES from Eastern Missouri Beekeepers coming in the January 24 Earthworms podcast. 


Jan 11, 2017

We all know that using less energy pays (don't we?) by cutting utility bills, reducing demand for fossil fuels and belching less carbon into Earth's climate. But the issue of how to pay for energy efficiency upgrades to your home or commercial property can be a hurdle too high to leap.

Enter PACE, Property Assessed Clean Energy, a financing process that ties the value of improvements - and lending to support them - to the value of your property, not to your personal credit capacity. Across Missouri, including the KDHX service area, the HERO program is connecting municipalities (they levy property taxes) to lenders to energy-smart contractors to property owners to build PACE into our energy usage.


John Maslowski, VP of Marketing and Development for HERO in Missouri, tells Earthworms host Jean Ponzi the what-why-how of PACE. The program's website includes a spiffy animation that explains it too. John and Jean go into what kinds of efficiency measures HERO can finance, connecting with contractors, and what's in this benefit package for local communities and property owners.

In the KDHX listening area, HERO is available in 7 St. Charles County and 14 St. Louis County communities, the City of Arnold in Jefferson County, and all of Franklin and Greene Counties; also in the Kansas City and Columbia areas. Check with your mayor or City Manager if your municipality is not on the HERO list; other PACE programs are at work here too, or PACE can come to your community.

PACE is a great deal. We hope this podcast energizes you!

Music: Lime House Blues, performed live at KDHX by the great Del McCoury, August 2013. 

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Energy Efficiency: Policy, Financing and Relationships that Power It All with Josh Campbell, Missouri Energy Initiative - September 2016. 


Jan 4, 2017

Think about how we get around town, if stuff we want and need to get to is close enough to where we live, work, learn and play that we don't have to use a car to get there (or at least not all the time). If our neighborhoods feel lively, safe, healthy and productive.

This is all part of the national movement called Smart Growth, practiced by community builders like Earthworms guests Dana Gray and Eric Friedman, who are both local champions of equity, sustainability, creativity and prosperity - for everyone in the St. Louis community where they live and work.


Smart Growth is a trend prompting economic, social and environmental benefits in many U.S. cities. In St. Louis, the concept has grown some good roots and sprouted in places like South Grand Boulevard, Washington Avenue downtown, the Delmar Loop and Old North St. Louis. Efforts of community-builders in many places are moving out town in smarter directions, at a pace we will define in positive terms as gathering steam.

Evidence of this movement here is that the Local Government Commission is bringing their annual New Partners for Smart Growth national conference to The Lou from February 1-4. A special FREE day of Smart Growth skill-building and networking events has just been announced, DIY Great Cities on Wednesday February 1 - a scoop on this Earthworms podcast!

YOU could become a Smart Growth advocate in your neighborhood, with benefits cycling directly, sustainably back to your family, friends, and neighbors. Check it out!

Dana Gray is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. Eric Friedman is real estate and development professional, principal of The Friedman Group commercial real estate company, and founder of Housing and Community Solutions. Both have been instrumental in bringing National Partners for Smart Growth 2017 Conference to St. Louis. 

Music: Cookie Mouth, performed live at KDHX by The Provels, January 2015.
THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer - and to Jon Valley. 

Related Earthworms Conversations: 
Trailnet's New Vision for Getting Around Green - November 2016

Mississippi River Town Mayors - Global Leadership - June 2016

St. Louis Food Policy  Coalition - December 2015

Dec 28, 2016

As Earthworms rides out the tail tip of 2016, we find ourselves needing an Attitude Adjustment to prepare for a New Year. Jeannie Breeze, our longtime friend and positive-focus mentor, brings to KDHX some of her prodigious, witty skills to generate and maintain Peace through thoughts, words and actions. 

This conversation invites our whole community to join the 31st annual St. Louis World Peace Day Celebration, on Saturday December 31 at 6 a.m. (yes, we know it's early - you'll hear why in the podcast) at Central Reform Congregation, corner of Kingshighway and Waterman. As in every year past, this event includes fine music, words of wisdom  (some from Earthworms host Jean Ponzi), and an exceptional meditation guided by Jeannie herself. Check out the details. Potluck breakfast too!

Hocus-Pocus, You Can Focus - on being a Beacon of (green) Peace!

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran, March 2015

THANKS to Jon Valley, Earthworms engineer, and to Andy Coco.

Dec 21, 2016

Some of Earth's wonders are easy to see: gaze skyward or wake up into a "world" of freshly fallen snow. Others are more hidden, tucked into mathematical equations or the brilliant adaptations of elephants' senses - or your dog's nose!

A gem of a new book celebrates, in gorgeous images and cool facts, our Earth, our home, and its wondrously diverse phenomena. Acclaimed science journalist Nadia Drake has focused her prodigious skills to craft this lovely volume, Little Book of Wonders. It's a natural as a holiday gift.


This Earthworms conversation is our winter-holiday gift to you: an exchange about the planet we love, with a woman whose work inspires readers of National Geographic, Nature, Science News and WIRED. Check out her Nat'l Geo blog No Place Like Home. 

Thanks for listening. Cheers!

Music: Jingle Bells, performed by the Civiltones live at KDHX, December 2011.

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Dec 7, 2016

Four years ago, Brian Ettling began volunteering to educate people about Climate Change, through the Climate Reality Project. He is now Missouri State Coordinator of the Citizens' Climate Lobby. He takes this tough topic to public groups, far and wide. This fall, Brian took his climate protection policy message to the offices of six U.S. Representatives - and to the Canadian House of Parliament! 


With the ambitious goal of getting a Carbon Fee & Dividend bill through Congress in 2017, this national organization of Citizen Climate Lobbyists is meeting legislators with "Admiration, Respect and Gratitude," and digging into substantial answers to questions they meet along the way.

Brian maintains a positive, can-do focus as he advocates for climate protection. He details his group's policy proposal, including expert reviews and support, and shares his vivid experience with Earthworms' Jean Ponzi. Also check out Brian's report from his summer job as a ranger at Crater Lake National Park, where he educates Park visitors about Climate Change. 

Learn more at: - and considering bringing Brian or one of his colleagues to speak to your group.  

Music: Washboard Suzie, performed live at KDHX by Zydeco Crawdaddies, June 2009

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, and for assistance from Jon Valley.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Climate Change Tales from a National Park Ranger, April 2016

Nov 30, 2016

In this town of so many great places, what if we could get around to them easily, confidently - low-carbon and on two wheels? St. Louis' longtime active living non-profit, Trailnet, says Sure! Let's do it! 

This is a vision of interconnected destinations, in many great neighborhoods, along "calmer" travel routes, planted and built with eco-sense. Trailnet announced it in mid-November. The plan is to serve cyclists and pedestrians, of all ages and abilities. Now their team is taking this vision to the community, to find out what WE would like to experience, in this greener - saner! - travel vision.

Earthworms guests from Trailnet are Taylor March, Education and Encouragement Coordinator, and Director of Policy and Strategy Marielle Brown. They'll come to your community group, seeking planning input broadly. Word up: this vision is catching!

Music: Cadillac Desert, performed at KDHX by William Tyler, July 2013.
THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, with help from Jon Valley.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Get Around Greener - On Two Wheels, March 2016.

Nov 23, 2016

When a techno-breakthrough by one (anonymous) Human Genius makes it possible for animals to speak, they take over global TV. Earth's animals get 100 hours to message the ONE critter that NEEDS to hear from ALL: us.


Legendary environmental advocate and political activist Ralph Nader works the realm of fiction with his new book Animal Envy - A Fable (Seven Stories Press, 2016). He broadcasts a world of voices. His imagined Great TALKOUT, led by a TRIAD of spokes-species, starts with a tone of flattering humans to get our attention, and quickly turns in biodiverse-ly urgent, poignant, intense directions. 

What do animals want us to understand? One fabled guy who speaks up hugely and often to power invites Elephant, Owl, Emerald Ash Borer, Dolphin - and yes, even Earthworm - to speak their truth to People. Nader gives the animals their best shot at waking up his own species. We have much to gain by listening.

Music: Butter II - performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case, April 2016.

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, with help from Jon Valley.



Nov 16, 2016

The world's Indigenous Peoples and communities are more important players in the battle to curb climate change than anyone ever knew. So states a new report from World Resources Institute and partners at Rights Resources Initiative and Woods Hole Research Center.

WRI's Katie Reytar, co-author of this report, tells Earthworms about the enormous amount of forested land holdings and carbon management in the hands of indigenous communities around the world. While governments and companies continue to disregard the land rights of indigenous peoples, their rights and management practices demonstrate powerful measures of carbon sequestration. Forests take on a huge level of importance, as do their traditional human dwellers. 


Reytar also talks about Landmark: The Global Platform of Indigenous and Community Lands, which is a year-old collaboration among 13 NGOs to map - and thereby help affirm holding rights of - indigenous and community lands, worldwide. Motivation for this monumental mapping effort? When the public can see these tenures, we will have greater capacity to stand up for them to exploiters.

Music: Mr. Sun by Hunters Permit, performed live at KDHX March, 2014.
Related Earthworms Conversations: A report from the COP21 Climate Summit Indigenous Peoples Conference, by St. Louis ethnobotanist Dr. Jan Salick, December, 2015.
THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.


Nov 1, 2016

Filmmakers Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel have merged into "SEED - The Untold Story" the David/Golilath battle to ensure the diversity of global seed stock with a poetic tribute to an emerging, worldwide culture of seed-saving plant and planet respect.


Thousands of human generations always saved seeds to plant their next cycle's food supply. Some revered seeds like children: those who recognized the life in tiny, mysterious, silent kernels, who honored Seed's gift to all living beings.

Today, most of everyone's food comes from seed that's owned by agricultural corporations - seed types that can produce only a perilous fraction of the variety of plants on Earth. This film's focus on Seed issues embody food security, just distribution, profit vs. livelihood, cultural survival, and much more.

View SEED - The Untold Story on Saturday, November 12 at 12:15 pm at the Tivoli Theater, presented by the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival. 

Music: Hunters Permit performed by Mr. Sun at KDHX studios, March 2013.

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer and to Marla Stoker, Cinema St. Louis.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Project Garlic - Slow Food STL Crop-Sources the Super Bulb, September 2015. 


Oct 25, 2016

Herbalist, artist, vegetable farmer, wife and mother - and author - Crystal Stevens has embodied her Earth-loving knowledge and perspective in a bounteous new book: GROW CREATE INSPIRE, Crafting a Joyful Life of Beauty and Abundance (New Society Press, 2016).


Crystal empowers the reader to dance the path to sustainable, resilient, healthy living!  She provides practical advice on gardening, foraging, DIY natural household and beauty recipes, simple seed to table meals, preserving the harvest - and more. Her personal stories color this book with a rainbow of gracious values. 

With her husband Eric Stevens, Crystal has nourishing Earthworms host Jean Ponzi for the past three growing seasons, as farmers of the LaVista CSA in Godfrey, IL. Her work has been feeding this show's perspective!

Music: For Michael, performed by Brian Curran at KDHX, December 2015. 

Book Release Party!  Sunday December 4, Old Bakery Beer in Alton IL (3-6 pm)

Find "Farmer Crystal" in: Mother Earth News and Feast, Permaculture and The Healthy Planet Magazines. 

Oct 18, 2016

Where can you go to have some fun, close to home or just hours away, with the whole family or your pals, maybe catch some history, for sure get outdoors and enjoy NATURE . . . for free? In any of Missouri's 88 (and counting) state parks and historic sites.

Missouri is a national leader in providing nature-based public benefits, in no small part because a modest tax has supported our state park system for over 30 years. The Parks, Soils and Clean Water sales tax levies 1/10 of 1% of sales and uses these funds to manage our parks - and support farmers and landowners statewide through Soil & Water Conservation District services. Amendment 1 brings this tax up for another renewal cycle on November 8. Why consider supporting it?

Hear the vivid, diverse and compelling story of Missouri State Parks from the system's director, Bill Bryan, with the Dept. of Natural Resources, and from Heather Navarro, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.






Music: Lime House Blues, performed live at KDHX by the great Del McCoury, August, 2013.
Thanks to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer (and budding State Park explorer)

Pictured: Locations of Missouri State Parks, Elephant Rocks State Park

Oct 12, 2016

Historian and author Jill Jonnes digs in to science, social benefits, culture, data and leafy lore in her new book Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape (Penguin, 2016). 


Jonnes tells us tree stories: from the inspiring Survivor Tree of New York's Ground Zero - which is actually an invasive species - to the arborists who branched out and developed data that prove the practical and dollar values of trees in times of city budget cuts. Jonnes' meticulous research and narrative flair make the strong case for community investment in trees, especially in an era when cities everywhere are taking an axe to budgets. Trees yield high ROI, in bio- and other DIVERSE ways.

Music: Big Piney Blues - performed live by Brian Curran at KDHX, March 2015.

THANKS to Earthworms engineer, Josh Nothum. 

Related Earthworms Conversations: Backyard Woodland - August 2016

"City of Tress" Film Portrays Jobs, Nature, Humans, Hope - November 2015

Oct 3, 2016

The ABCs of R! R! R! will help every resident recycle - easily.

In the City of St. Louis, it's Brightside, our long-serving beautification agency, now educating residents and bringing resources to community events. Brightside's recycling specialists Elysia Musumeci and Jessica Freiberger and volunteer recycling ambassador Richard Bax recently went door-to-door in two city neighborhoods, to answer residents' questions and distribute home bins in a pilot effort to boost recycling participation. 

What do people want to know to make this most fundamental Green practice work? What kinds of issues do city recycling advocates face? A terrific new website,, and this Earthworms conversation explain it all for you! Check out their lively social media posts and the Brightside website too!

Music: Magic in Threes, performed live at KDHX by Trinity Way, December 2011

THANKS to Josh Nothum and Andy Coco, Earthworms ace engineers.

Sep 28, 2016

Few things in the "Green Space" get as wonky as energy policy - or get as popular when utility bills can start shrinking.

Players in the Energy Sector are utility companies (and their shareholders), government regulators, enviro-advocates, municipalities, businesses of all kinds - and us Average Joes who use and pay for energy. Josh Campbell, Executive Director of the Missouri Energy Initiative, works this sector behind the scenes, negotiating for benefits that range from energy efficiency financing options to getting more solar and wind power into the system. 

This Earthworms conversation covers state energy policy dynamics, PACE financing, responses in Missouri and Illinois to the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, energy efficiency efforts in the Midwest region - and the kinds of relationships helping our region move from reliance on "Legacy Fuels" toward resilient, diverse, clean energy systems - in ways that all can afford. Energizing!

October 4-5 in St. Louis: Midwest Energy Policy Conference

Music: Deep Gap performed by Marisa Anderson at KDHX-St. Louis, May 2014

THANKS Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: All-Electric America? - August 2016
From the Pipeline with Filmaker Caitlin Zera - January 201

Sep 19, 2016

These forested acres in far west St. Louis County have long beckoned visitors from around this region: as the famed Gilberg Perennial Farms from the 1980s until early 2000s, and now as a new creative hub, Wildwood Green Arts.


Proprietor - or should we say Potter and Host? - Doug Gilberg has rekindled his lifelong love of working with clay as a deeply satisfying way to connect with nature and one's fellow humans. He opens his family place to learners and guess, in a new iteration of his earlier work growing and popularizing perennial and native garden plants. Both the calm and joy of this enterprise is clear as Doug talks about it with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi. 



Wildwood Green Arts is open for creative use, with spacious new studio facilities including wheels, kilns, hand-building spaces and abundant surrounding natural beauty. From regular Coached Open Studio days to special classes to Date Nights, let this tactile medium lure you to newly experience or more deeply delve into the focused sensuality called Ceramics - in the bonus environment of a very intentional Creative Community. 

Music: For Michael by Brian Curran, performed live at KDHX, December 2015

Thanks to Earthworms' engineer, Josh Nothum

Sep 7, 2016

Everybody eats. So local food production could become an economic engine, with a modest carbon footprint and potentially huge community benefits. And gardens rooted in communities of faith can nourish the kind of massive root system - of leadership, partnership, entrepreneurship, stewardship - needed to give this ship's engine good Green steam.

Earthworms guest Sylvester Brown Jr. is putting these synergies to work in The Sweet Potato Project, a St. Louis enterprise since 2012 that empowers urban, disadvantaged youth to grow strong futures for themselves and their 'hoods by cultivating - YAMS! Brown will keynote a free public event on Tuesday Sept 20 that spotlights opportunity for faith congregations to GARDEN as a means to community service. Earthworms guest Gail Wechsler is a coordinator of this event - Greening Your Community, Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time - and a spokesperson from the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Green organizing power of communities of all faiths.

This event is third in a series of collaborations between the Jewish Environmental Initiative, US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and Missouri Interfaith Power & Light. Register here.

Earthworms Engineers are Josh Nothum and Andy Coco - thanks!

Music: Butter II performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case, March 2016

Related Earthworms Conversation: St. Louis Food Policy Coalition - December 2015

Aug 31, 2016

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:

Farming on a Downtown Roof - June 30, 2015

St. Louis Metro Market - Grocery Store in a Metro Bus! - June 15, 2015

Urban Agriculture Guide: New Tool for City Farmers - June 7 2016

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. 

Aug 24, 2016

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.



Aug 9, 2016

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.

Aug 3, 2016

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.



Jul 27, 2016

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. 

Jul 20, 2016

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

  • DRESS - Wear long sleeves and long pants or skirts  (loose and light-colored to keep you cooler)
  • DAWN and DUSK - Stay indoors at these times when mosquitos are most active.
  • DRAIN - Dump plant saucers, buckets and lids, pool covers, and anything else that can hold standing water - refresh pet water bowls and bird baths daily - mosquitos need stagnant water to breed.
  • DEFEND - Use an EPA-approved mosquito repellant, containing DEET, Picardin or Lemon Oil of Eucalyptus.

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.

Jul 6, 2016

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

Jun 28, 2016

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)



Jun 22, 2016

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

Jun 15, 2016

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)

2% for the Planet: Courtney White's Super Stories of Green Innovations (Nov 2015)

Jun 7, 2016

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

Jun 1, 2016

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.

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.

Apr 27, 2016

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)

Plants, Indigenous People and Climate with Ethnobotanist Dr. Jan Salick (12-22-15)

Dr. Peter Raven, Science Advisor to Papal Climate Encyclical (6-22-15)

Apr 20, 2016

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.

Located at 3211 South Grand Boulevard - in one of St. Louis most vibrant business districts - and online, Zee Bee Market is a delightful and ethical shopping destination.

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.

Apr 13, 2016

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

Apr 13, 2016

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

Apr 6, 2016

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)


Mar 30, 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: 

Wes Jackson, Founder of The Land Institute: Growing Our Food in Prairies (9-2-15)


Mar 22, 2016

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. 

Mar 15, 2016

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)


Mar 9, 2016

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. 

Mar 2, 2016

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)


Feb 24, 2016

You know the feeling: stuck in traffic, creeping along, ticking off the minutes and getting just ticked. And maybe you've felt that choke in the air, when vehicle pollutants heat up in the summer, and air quality veers off into a ditch.

RideFinders is driving a change to these scenes. Using federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds applied toward achieving Clean Air Act goals, this local agency is charged with getting some vehicles off the road, by grouping commuters into Carpools and Vanpools. SJ Morrison, RideFinders' Director of Marketing and Planning, tells Earthworms how these services can save you money, cut your stress and clean up the air our region breathes. 

Cost to you, the commuter? Free. Including the service "Guaranteed Ride Home" that covers a cab ride (up to 4x a year) if an emergency arises on your Carpool day. RideFinders maintains a database of over 12,000 St. Louis area commuters, to help anyone in a 12-county region match up with a convenient ride. Even a couple of days a week, carpooling contributes to cleaner air.

RideFinders tracks all results of these investments - and works with employers to get the word out as efficiently and broadly as possible. Could RideFinders work for you?

RideFinders is operated by Madison County Transit, serving the St. Louis region since 1994.

Music: Lime House Blues, recorded at KDHX studios by Del McCoury - and picked just for you SJ, with thanks for being a KDHX fan!

Feb 10, 2016

The St. Louis region is crisscrossed, surrounded and blessed with rivers and streams. Thanks to this week's guest group, Great Rivers Greenway, these natural features are increasingly connected by a network of trails and greenways, a vibrant invitation to folks of all ages to explore our area, and enjoy more of our lives outside!

Elizabeth Simons, GRG's Community Programs Manager, and Conservation Programs Manager Angie Weber talk about their organization's history, purpose, projects and plans, including the call this month for the public to advise the next five years of GRG's work. Efforts of the past 15 years to purchase and lease land, build trails and connect natural features are now being enhanced by ecological restoration, native planting, and water-conserving greenway elements. This is 21st century, habitat-hip get-around-Green great stuff!

Open House events on February 17 at the Bridgeton Trails Branch Library and on February 23 at the Missouri History Museum will showcase GRG achievements and solicit community input. 

A significant fact about GRG is that residents of St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County have twice voted to support these resources with our tax dollars (2000, 2013). Tax support on the Illinois side of the KDHX listening area sustains more inter-connective open spaces. GRG circulates an eNewsletter, including volunteer opportunities, fun events and progress reports.

Multiple reasons to learn more - and add your perspective to the public comment mix, by electronic survey if you can't make it to an Open House. Check out these active-living, nature-loving resources!

Music: Extremist Stomp, recorded live at KDHX by Pokey LaFarge and Ryan Spearman.

Feb 3, 2016

Today's Earthworms guest is one of the planet's most respected honeybee behaviorists, certainly a researcher and author whose bee-buzz is FUN (and useful!) to read. Dr. Thomas Dyer Seeley is Cornell University's Horace White Professor in Biology, in this biology powerhouse institution's Department of Neurology and Behavior. In more common terms, Tom Seeley is a scientist who loves honeybees and has learned deeply from bee colonies, domestic and wild. 

What is honeybee society? Is it "Democracy," really? What enables a Queen Bee to support the entire colony that she alone mothers? And what-all goes on with bees that, in turn, keep the colony going around the year, when nectar is flowing and when plants, water and earth are frozen . . . 

What's different about wild and domestic bee colonies? And what can today's avid amateur beekeepers (hundreds in St. Louis alone!) learn from wild honeybee populations, and potentially adapt to help domestic bee survival?

BeeSpeakSTL, our regional beekeeping speaker series, will host Tom Seeley here on Saturday February 27, 11 am - 3 pm at the Missouri Botanical Garden. May this Earthworms conversation pique your interest in hearing this Super Bee Guy's talks. Maybe you'll even step out and try the Apis melifera - Homo sapiens dance.

Our species share "Democracy" - yes, at least more or less - and Dancing, and for sure a taste for Sweetness. 

Thanks to Isabee's and for coordinating this interview.
Thanks to Haley and Andy for engineering.

Music: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 by J.S. Bach (a notable "B") performed by Kevin MacLeod.

Jan 27, 2016

The pope says Climate Change is real - so it must be true! Seriously: he calls humankind, in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, to change our ways and protect "our common home."

In Earthworms' home St. Louis, the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are hosting learning sessions to dig into this message and its personal meaning for everyday life. Sr. Rosalie Wisniewski and Sr. Cheryl Kemner join Jean Ponzi in this podcast's mini-exploration of the landmark papal call to environmental awareness and action. 

The Sisters' winter discussion series is part of their ministry since 2007, Franciscans For Earth. Activity includes their organic farm in DeSoto, MO, monthly screenings and discussions of local, national and international films on a wide range of enviro-topics - and luscious heirloom tomatoes grown with love and shared each summer at local farmers' markets.

Related Earthworms conversations:

Dr. Peter Raven, senior advisor to the Papal Academy of Science, talked about the climate encyclical - and his experience as it was crafted - just after its release (6-22-15).

The Franciscans' January film was "From the Pipeline" by St. Louis filmmaker Caitlin Zera whose documentary covers tar sands pipeline issues (1-6-16).

 Music: Hunter's Permit performed live at KDHX by Mr. Sun (3-13-14)


Jan 20, 2016

How much time do you spend in buildings? At work, at home, in places where we learn, play and pray:  experts figure we Americans are typically in buildings over 90% of our lives, not counting being inside vehicles!

The U.S. Green Building Council works toward a "built environment" that maintains our personal health, while also safeguarding water and air, minimizing waste of all kinds and using energy as efficiently as possible.  In St. Louis, USGBC's Missouri Gateway Chapter has been actively advancing these goals for 15 years. Earthworms congratulates USGBC MO Gateway, talking with Executive Director Emily Andrews and chapter leader Nick Bristow, a senior associate engineer with Forum Studios.

What effects has this green building work had in our area - economically, environmentally and for professionals involved in the green building movement? Hear all about it in this Earthworms podcast - and check out one (or more) of our USGBC chapter's regular programs in their anniversary year. Topics will range from "benchmarking" for energy efficiency (February), to wellness in buildings (March) to a "Sweet Sustainability" program in July spotlighting the green headquarters of the Mars Candy Company.

Music: The Exotic Future of Money by The Kinetics, recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis.

Jan 13, 2016


Humans and honeybees work together - as both hobby and livelihood!

As the Eastern Missouri Beekeeping Association (EMBA) prepares to host their 9th Annual Beekeeping Workshop on February 9th, Earthworms welcomes Bee advocates to the KDHX studios to talk about this hugely popular activity that also happens to sustain a lot of the food crops we enjoy. Guests are Scott Jackson, a St. Louis beekeeper and EMBA board member, and Mark Dykes, chief of the Apiary Inspection Service for the State of Texas and guest instructor for the upcoming EMBA workshop. 

The honeybee, Apis melifera, is not a U.S. native (Europeans brought their bees and hives to North America as early as the 1400s), but these fascinating insects and their complex society have established a super-productive niche here: pollinating one-third of our crops (dramatized in a Whole Foods produce section) and annually contributing to over $14 billion in crop production. But bee health issues -  including virroa mite infestations, Colony Collapse Disorder, pesticide use and habitat loss - are threatening this productivity.

Hobby beekeepers are truly helping to sustain honeybee vitality, while contributing to research aimed at sustainably protecting honeybees and their habitat. Could this BEE the year you join forces with these beneficial bugs? Hundreds of St. Louis area beekeepers will welcome you and help you build skills!

Music: "Remington Ride" performed by Western Satellites live at KDHX 1/15/11

Jan 6, 2016

Check the prices at gas pumps. Do we NEED to extract Tar Sands, the dirtiest, hardest-to-refine, lowest value, Carbon-belching petroleum squeezin' on the planet?

But we are, and St. Louis filmmaker Caitlin Zera has documented issues with transporting it, across Missouri on the 593 mile route called the Flanagan South Pipeline. It's run by Canadian fossil fuel delivery giant Enbridge, the folks behind a 2010 oil dump into the Kalamazoo River. Zera and her crew traveled the Flanagan Pipeline's route through Missouri, interviewing landowners, small-town civic officials, and environmental advocates about the process and permitting (or lax of it) associated with this pipeline - which typify tar sands pipelines anywhere. One of her goals in making this film is raising public awareness about tar sands pipelines and what actions we can take in the face of this petroleum-based bum deal.

From the Pipeline will be featured in five free local January screenings with Q & A, January 12 through 26, as part of the ongoing STL Eco Film Festival, a collaborative of local faith-based environmental groups. Find details and view a segment of the film at

Zera returns to Earthworms tonight with this major film focus. We had the pleasure of talking with her in 2013 about her short feature End of Linea quirkly, loving portrait of two men and their devotion to typewriters. She works now (when not directing and producing) at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, coordinating membership and events for this regional enviro-advocate organization. Thanks, Caitlin, for your perceptive, articulate, diligent efforts!

Music: Hunter's Permit by Mr. Sun - recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis

Dec 29, 2015

Sure, we gotta eat - but how we get the food we need needs big reforms. Our health and Earth's is directly linked to where food comes from and how it's grown. Food Policy is a tool to sustainably hoe all these necessary rows:

  • a living wage for farmers 
  • agriculture that protects and restores natural resources
  • healthy and affordable food for folks at every income level

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment now steps into this niche, coordinating a new St. Louis  regional Food Policy Coalition, thanks to a multi-year grant from the Missouri Foundation For Health. Melissa Vatterott - MCE's Food & Farm Coordinator - talks with Earthworms' host Jean Ponzi about the issues and opportunities she and her growing circle of partners are digging into, around the St. Louis Regional "Foodshed."

Food is the one environmental "issue" that can touch every human heart, engaging us in needed awareness and changes through stuff we all ENJOY and LOVE. 

Food Policy? Fork it over! And stay tuned to learn more, as these efforts grow.

Music: Magic 9 by Infamous Stringdusters - recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis

Recent Related Earthworms Conversations:

Dec 22, 2015

Global media of all stripes ably covered the recent COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. Earthworms contributes our part with this conversation with Dr. Jan Salick, Senior Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden, who was invited by UNESCO to present at Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, a pre-conference event in association with the Climate Summit.

Jan Salick has studied and learned from indigenous peoples for decades, in her work as an ethnobotanist for the Garden. Her focus is the cultural relationships between plants and human beings. She hosted the first international symposium on indigenous people and climate change, in 2007, at the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University. Her knowledge and, most importantly, her perspective is deeply rooted.

From her years climbing around the Himalayas, and her current work on flatter ground on Cape Cod, Jan Salick is an articulate voice for the delicate balance both plants and indigenous people must maintain to survive the human-generated impacts on Earth's climate. As you can hear, a week or so after Jan's "life-changing experiences" in Paris during the climate events, she remains optimistic that people - like plants - can adapt, and that our species can make changes, to reduce our collective impacts.

Personal, hopeful, and informed by experience: this report amid many from the landmark meeting of 196 nations, that actually reached an agreement needed to guide our species' work - of which there is no bloomin' lack!

Music: Mayor Harrison's Fedora, performed at KDHX by Kevin Barkley and Ian Walsh

Dec 15, 2015

St. Louisan David Henry was fed up, back in 2013, with public indifference to climate change, and denial of the science defining climate issues. He wanted to shake his fellow humans by the scruff of the neck or, as he says, "at least figure out how they became such idiots."

David is a gentle, calm, thoughtful guy; really not a scruff-shaker. But he does care passionately about dealing with this key problem of our time. So he embarked on a one-man climate action: walking - over 1,000 miles - and having conversations with people he met, about climate change. A vivid feature of this trip was the cart he rigged to carry his stuff. It looked, inadvertently, like a giant white mailbox, with his identity emblazoned on the side. This climate messenger had no trouble starting conversations!

David Walker

David Henry reported on his trip, fresh off the road, in a 2013 Earthworms conversation. Today, he shares the perspective he's gained in writing this tale, along with stories from his new book, David and the Giant Mailbox - Walking 1,000 Miles to Talk About Climate Change (2015, Good Boots Press)

David's climate of frustration has turned into a hopeful perspective, a resource we can sure use. And his determination to get us climate-dependent humans to ACT has not changed. 

Music: Audrey's Bounce, performed by Western Satellites in the studios of KDHX.



Dec 8, 2015

Chemistry is a fact of Earth Life, not a problem in itself. The increasingly persistent hitch is with the thousands of synthetic chemicals routinely used in making clothing, cosmetics, household products, electronic devices - even children's toys - and the toxic chemical soup in which we are all increasingly steeped.

Ken Geiser's new book, Chemicals Without Harm - Policies for a Sustainable World (2015, MIT Press), details issues associated with today's largely unregulated chemical use in all areas of manufacturing, especially in the U.S. More importantly, he lays out examples of policies and practices by which the chemical industry itself is moving toward a 21st Century "green chemistry" ethic. Emphasis: the power of consumer awareness and purchasing choices to drive policy and practice changes!

Ken Geiser  speaks and writes from depth of experience, as Professor Emeritus of Work Environment at the University of Massachusettes Lowell, founder of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and as a Fellow of the U S Green Building Council, addressing Healthy Materials. He describes needed shifts in strategy, away from merely trying to control levels of exposure through regulation, and toward developing and adopting alternatives to hazardous chemicals, by applying sustainable values and design.

Consumer-awareness resources cited in this podcast include:

The Good Guide - Provides reviews of over 250,000 consumer products, based on scientific ratings; includes app for evaluating product choices on the go! Catch Earthworms' October 2014 conversation with Good Guide's chief scientist Bill Pease.

Skin Deep - Cosmetics database evaluated by Environmental Working Group.

Women's Voices for the Earth - Non-profit research and advocacy group, specifically focused on products affecting women's health.

The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan - Consumer education, local services, advocacy addressing public health and safety policy. 

Silent Spring Institute - Partnership of scientists and citizens concerned about environmental links to breast cancer.

Music: Cadillac Desert by William Tyler, recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis



Dec 2, 2015

Canadian biologist Jessica Ernst worked in the oil and gas industry. When her well water became a flammable stew, she embarked on a fact-finding and legal campaign, now into a second decade, that's about to go to the Supreme Court. Her opponents: corporate fossil fuel giant Encana, the agency Alberta Environment, and the Energy Resources Conservation Board. At issue: just oversight of public resources (water!) and the accountability of both government and industry.

Earthworms podcast guest Andrew Nikiforuk tells this complex story in his new book Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider's Stand Against the World's Most Powerful Industry (2015, Greystone Books, published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation). Nikiforuk, a Canadian journalist, is a recipient of the prestigious Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award. He weaves a compelling report of Jessica Ernst's research and extraordinary citizen activism with the science of fracking and its wake of human and environmental repercussions.

The book is a page-turner. This conversation is an intelligent, compelling must-hear.

Music: Public Enemy Number One, recorded at KDHX by the Godfathers.

Nov 25, 2015

If we recognize Nature as most expert designer, how do our human designs compare?

Maybe not that well for overall health and sustainable benefits, given that our species lives in boxes and dumps our waste in our water supplies. But the legacy of an "evolutionary" like R. Buckminster Fuller is one force that continues to call forth the kinds of human design ideas needed to nudge us into real accord with our zillion kinds of neighbors on (as Bucky called it) Spaceship Earth.

Earthworms' Jean Ponzi talks today with J.P. Harpignies, a senior reviewer of ideas proposed to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, regarded as socially responsible design's highest award. The 2015 Challenge prize recently went to "Green Wave," the swimmingly intricate project of Nova Scotia fisherman Bren Smith, whose vision transforms a livelihood drowning from overfishing into a new kind of 3-D vertical underwater farming, conservation and restoration culture. The Challenge is the centerpiece of principles and work of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the Brooklyn NY-based non-profit continuing the brilliant arc of its namesake's ideals.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Thompson, BFI Executive Director, and Megan Ahearn, Communications Coordinator, for arranging this conversation.

Music: Abdiel by Dave Black - recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis.

Nov 18, 2015

With the huge enviro-problems facing us today, wouldn't the best solutions be whoppers as well? Courtney White says smaller is working, WELL and NOW.

White is an Activist-turned Rancher-turned Green Idea Grower Supreme. He harvests 50 current success stories into his new book "Two Percent for the Planet: 50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech, Nature-Based Practices for Combatting Hunger, Drought and Climate Change" (2015, Chelsea Green). These inspiring pieces report on Ranching, Farming, Technology, Restoration and Wildness. Links in each section invite us to learn more and full-color photos illustrate each example of human partnership with nature.

This fun read expands on White's 2014 personal experience, also featured on Earthworms, in the book "Grass, Soil, Hope - A Journey Through Carbon Country" From the rancher whose "flerds" of sheep and cattle are restoring soil health and plant communities to San Francisco's use of human poop (aka "Night Soil") as healthy fertilizer, every chapter affirms ways we humans are by nature problem-solvers, and CAN collaborate productively with the Earth. 

Whopping good stuff!

Music: Rearview by Belle Starr, recorded live at KDHX.

Nov 10, 2015


How do you communicate about climate change, GMOs, ocean pollution and other such heavy stuff to move your fellow humans to notice, and even laugh at ourselves?

Joe Mohr does it in cartoons - and, for younger humans, in illustrated poems.

From his home in St. Louis, Joe's environmental cartoons have zinged out into such notable forums as YES! Magazine, The Progressive, Important Media, Cartoon Movement, and publications of Greenpeace and the Center for Media and Democracy.

His book of illustrated poems "Robot + Bike = Kitten" (2013 Treehouse Publishing) mobilizes surfer girls, fish, boogers, words with their vowels removed and much more to entertain, affirm and nudge kids and the grownups who read to them to act on Joe's "Minimum 29% Green Content." 

This Earthworms conversation invites your mind's eyeball to check out the viewpoint of a whiz illustrator drawing on ideas about the planet he loves. 

Music: Pokey LaFarge and Ryan Spearman - Extremist Stomp - recorded live at KDHX

Nov 4, 2015

In 2010, the Washington D.C. nonprofit Parks and People received a $2.7 million stimulus grant to generate a Green Corps of jobs by planting trees. The human stories from this effort are white and black, activist and unemployed, nature-promoting and nature-disconnected. The tree stories continue to grow around the community portrayed. 

City of Trees film producer Lance Kramer describes successes and shortcomings of these "green jobs" interactions, and the social initiatives that seeded them. He cites a modern factoid: 75-80% of Americans today who see a tree each day are seeing this "nature" in a city. Together with his brother Brandon Kramer, City of Trees director, he relates the importance of even imperfect efforts to nurture both human and tree viability.

This 2015 documentary screens on Sunday 11-8-15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Washington University Brown School of Social Work - Free - as one of several environmental films featured in the 24th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.

Music: Giant Steps - Dave Stone Trio, recorded live at KDHX

Nov 4, 2015

Today's nuclear industry was born in secrecy during World War II. St. Louis pitched in, refining the massive amounts of uranium used by the Manhattan Project. We have the world's oldest nuclear waste scattered around this community. 

St. Louis filmmaker Anthony West digs in and shows this complicated history, from workers (and the bosses) at the then-small Mallinckrodt Chemical Company, to federal agency officials, to today's on-edge residents living around radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill that continues to make local to international news.

This cinematic story challenges our societal idea that there IS a "Safe Side of the Fence" and hopes to prompt viewers to engage with nuclear issues. 

The film screens Weds 11-11-15, 7 p.m. at St. Louis University - FREE - in the 24th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival. Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, an environmental group working to keep both public and planet safe in relation to nukes and many other issues.

Music: The Exotic Future of Money - Kinetics - Recorded live at KDHX

Oct 27, 2015

When the City of Arnold, MO had to remove an 1890 farmhouse to build a new municipal facility, they called the intrepid non-profit Refab to safely, responsibly take the old home apart and make its fine vintage materials available to appreciative new users, through resale.

Eric Schwarz - a young guy with good tools, Green vision and business sense - launched Refab just three years ago. He is building on experience gained while earning a Fine Arts degree, teaching about sustainability around STL, and managing sales and deconstruction for the Habitat For Humanity St. Louis ReStore. He's providing steady, well-paying jobs for veterans who need a hand, in a partnership with St. Patrick Center. And he's leading efforts to keep over 1,000 tons of useful stuff a year in use, instead of going to landfills.

Refab sells what they deconstruct: flooring, beadboard, and de-nailed lumber of all kinds; vintage plumbing and lighting fixtures, cabinets (carefully removed) - and more. Resale store prices make these items a great bargain for designers and builders of restaurants, new homes, and businesses with sustainable tastes.

This month Refab celebrates a big move to a new 30,000 ft2 warehouse at 3130 Gravois in St. Louis, recycling the former Union Brewery into working and sales space. Join the celebration on October 30 - and shop Refab's material treasures every Friday-Sunday, 9 am-5 pm. Your business supports this intrepid non-profit, giving new life to amazing stuff and jobs to guys who've served our country. And you get the goods and deals!

Music this podcast: Measure Once, recorded at KDHX 2011 by Matthew Van Doren. This is a woodworking musical pun for you, Eric - JP

Oct 19, 2015

With a river basin flowing through 31 states, the Mississippi drains Earth's fourth largest watershed, some say it's #3! A recent study of its revenue-generating power reported $405 billion bucks a year, supporting 1.3 million human jobs. It also supports phenomenal fish, plant and animal life - and millions of living creatures, including us, are drinking it every day.

It should get our attention, therefore, that a recent river Report Card brought home just a D+ average grade. Some bright spots for sure, but plenty of room for improvement. Mayors all along the river are taking notice - and taking action!

Colin Wellenkamp, this Earthworms podcast guest, is Executive Director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. He works with mayors of river towns from the Minnesota headwaters to the delta in New Orleans, and cities across the Mississippi Basin from the Rockies to the Alleghenies. Mayors are calling for a "River Basin" approach to understanding and addressing the issues behind that funky grade. They're speaking with one voice about the Mississippi's issues, and seeking cooperative ways to rebuild river infrastructure, protect river biodiversity and health - and promote enjoyment of a U.S. resource more popular with visitors from around the world than the Grand Canyon.

In this podcast you'll hear stunning facts about the Mississippi River's value and power - and ways you can join a rising tide of appreciation and support for this planetary treasure.

Music: Balkan Twirl 


Oct 13, 2015

Sorry about you, little pale bulbs in the grocery store package! Slow Food St. Louis aims to get a bunch of the SIX HUNDRED varieties of heirloom garlic growing and thriving and feeding us here by "Crop-Sourcing" Project Garlic.

Brian DeSmet, Slow Food St. Louis board member and GardenWorks Manager for Schlafly Brewing, tells all - OK, a LOT - about this super-food, a plant that's super-easy to grow, a part of human eating pleasure for more than 7,000 years!

Launching its second year this month, Project Garlic is recruiting dozens of home gardeners, local farmers and foodies willing to dig in the dirt. Slow Food has purchased heirloom garlic varieties from Baker Creek Seeds and Filaree Garlic Farm. They're giving bulbs to growers, who'll return bulb stock from next summer's harvest. Result? This plant's amazing variety of subtle flavors blooms with biodiversity here through Farmers' Markets, CSAs . . . maybe even into those grocery store aisles.

Hardneck, Softneck - Allium bulb - Stripey, Turbaned, Rocambole -  Join the Garlic growing club!

Music: Cookie Mouth by The Provels

Oct 6, 2015

Water is our most valuable resource, essential to everything we do in life, for every living thing. Yet the systems - the infrastructure that delivers and cleans our water, and the natural systems that provide it - are invisible to most of us. Water is life - water is FUN! Let's turn on some water-savvy stewardship and good ole' water sense.

Radhika Fox, CEO of the U.S. Water Alliance and Director of the Value of Water Coalition, is leading a national education effort called "Imagine a Day Without Water" to irrigate everyone's power to protect our water supplies. Ms. Fox talks with jean Ponzi about water supply challenges our nation must address, and ways that our communities are innovating water system protection and conservation measures.

Want to learn more? Download a "What's the Value of Water Toolkit" for your school, faith community, business or home.

Thanks to you, H20 - Cheers!

Music: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - J.S. Bach

Sep 30, 2015

A Pawpaw looks like a mango, tastes like banana custard, grows across the broad range of 26 U.S. states, shows up in fossil records from 56 million years ago! Gardener and writer Andrew Moore's new book dishes the amazing story of this versatile fruit and the handsome tree that produces it. 

What happened in recent history to drop the Pawpaw off our cultural menu, when it had been so well loved (and spooned up) by Native Americans, enslaved Africans - even 20th century opponents of Prohibition? And what potentials is the Pawpaw offering today for local food economies, cocktail wizards and even cancer researchers?

Hear this great story - and consider a couple of Pawpaw trees to plant some tasty biodiversity where you live. Forgotten fruit? Earthworms is thinking that's history!

Sep 23, 2015

Clif Bar wrappers, shampoo tubes, chip bags - even cigarette butts? TerraCycle accepts and recycles them all! At the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the in-house Green Team makes this sustainability service available to employees and volunteers.

Hear how from Joyce Gorrell, Sustainability Events Coordinator for the Garden's EarthWays Center. But be forewarned: you may catch the TerraCycling bug for your school, business, church or institution. If you do, tell 'em Earthworms sent you!

And - hear the intrepid story of Terracycle direct from its founder, Tom Szaky in Earthworms exclusive conversation with this Recycling Rock Star! 

Sep 23, 2015

As a Princeton student in 2001, Tom Szaky packaged and sold the liquified worm poop he produced to super-feed special plants. From those beginnings (including selling to the  "world's largest retailer" in reused plastic bottles purchased from school kids) Tom founded Terracycle, a powerhouse non-profit where "up-cycling" resourcefulness is Eliminating the Idea of Waste®.

Innovator, entrepreneur, media figure Tom Szaky is an Environmental Rock Star! He spoke in September 2015 to the Missouri Recycling Association Conference - and to Earthworms host Jean Ponzi in this extended one-on-one conversation. Don't miss it!

Tom talks about the "why" and impressive impacts of Terracycle's unique material collection and repurposing systems. Jean also talks with Joyce Gorrell, her colleague at the Missouri Botanical Garden, who serves on the Garden's Green Team and manages an extensive internal Terracycle practice for Garden employees.

TerraCycle works with more than 100 major brands in the U.S. and 22 countries overseas to collect used packaging and products that would otherwise be destined for landfills. It repurposes that waste into new, innovative materials and products that are available online and through major retailers. Thousands of school, business and community organizations TerraCycle, around the world.

Sep 2, 2015

What if the grains we eat could be grown in a biodiverse ecosystem - like a prairie - instead of fossil fuel and chemical-intensive row-cropping? The Land Institute, a research non-profit in Salina, Kansas, has been working wth plants to achive this goal for nearly 40 years.

As TLI's founder and president Wes Jackson explains, humankind's decision (10,000 years ago!) to eat annual, instead of perennial, plants has spawned an agriculture that rips up the Earth and overwhelms natural communities. But his team's work is showing the way to reverse  these consequences, by crossing our grain mainstays with their wild perennial relatives.

It's a ground-restoring body of work! 


Wes and Joan Jackson welcome Jean Ponzi for a tour and interview.

This conversation, recorded on Earthworms' Summer Vacation, is a very special one-on-one with one of the environmental greats of our time, biologist Wes Jackson.

Learn more - and contribute your perspective at The Land Institute's annual Prairie Festival in Salina, KS  - September 25-17, 2015

Aug 26, 2015

What's in those cleaning products under your sink - and in your school, workplace or church closet? Chemicals of all kinds. Many beneficial, many more harmful to human and environmental health. The U.S. EPA has a new evaluation and labeling program to help Americans make a Safer Choice. This label on a product tells you at a glance that a host of significant science-based factors have been documented to earn the right to market as a Safer Choice.

Marcus Rivas, environmental engineer with the U.S. EPA's Region VII office (Earthworms host Jean Ponzi's and longtime esteemed colleague/Green Pal) tells the why, how, what and more about kind of products used around us every day - and how Safer Choice can help individuals and businesses safeguard health. Our tax dollars at work!

Can your business use a Pollution Prevention Intern?  EPA's Pollution Prevention (P2) program also works with universities nation-wide to support professional training for students and sustainability implementation and documentation for businesses.

Music: "Washboard Suzie" by Zydeco Crawdaddies - from "KDHX Music Sampler Vol. 1" (1999)


Aug 19, 2015

Millennials are truly a Global generation. Lifetime traveler Amy Mank is building a business on her demographic's values of making a difference while making a profit - and having FUN! 

 Amy MenkTrekking Green logo

Amy's blog features travel fashion, well-being tips for any journey and Eco-Tourism outpost reviews, seasoned with her thoughful philosophy. This Earthworms conversation bridges Boomer and Millennial viewpoints, as Amy shares how human travel is evolving, sustainably.

Music: Balkan Twirl by Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth Trio - from "KDHX Music Sampler Vol. 1" (1999)

Plus - your IN-vitation to support the creativity KDHX powers in St. Louis, and around the listening world! INdependent, INvested, IN your heart, mind, ears. All IN for KDHX! 

Please go to to show you're ALL IN - and tell 'em Earthworms Podcast sent you!  THANKS!

Aug 12, 2015

Run a radio station on volunteer people-power?  

KCMJ is in the earliest stages of this community-building effort. Dave Gardener, KCMJ's volunteer Station Manager, took a leave from his lucrative industrial film-making career to jump-start this "Center for Media Justice" on the Rocky Mountain front range. Licensed by the FCC for a startup 100 watts, KCMJ is still limited to streaming live their 24-7 programming - while they fundraise to earn transmitter space!

KDHX has been doing it for 27+ years, with Earthworms producer/host Jean Ponzi involved for all but the first of them. We're supremely fortunate to broadcast at 42,000 watts in a major media market. And we've worked, struggled and squeaked through a lot of the same issues facing KCMJ now.

This candid conversation bounces questions and perspectives about what works, what didn't, what might, and who cares about it all between two broadcast media veterans. Why is people-powered radio still important in the digital media marketplace? Can it still influence community health? And can it succeed?  

Dave and Jean's visit in the KCMJ studio (housed in a room at Rocky Mountain Public Television) pretty much say YES - with a lot to consider along the way.

Is KDHX important to YOU? Make a contribution today at - and note that you're an Earthworms Podcast listener!  THANK YOU!

Jul 29, 2015

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) lets eaters put our money where our forks are, right up front. Subscribers share both risks and harvests. At Earthworms, Crystal Stevens (and her husband Eric) are our farmers! 

This week's conversation highlights weeds and weather, the demands and rewards of a near-to-city farm wife's life, and the blessings of connecting community to farm. Specifically the farm at LaVista, on the bluffs of Godfrey, Illinois.

Are CSA meals a workable option? For sure, the fridge bulges with greens some weeks, but then we turn on the stove and KDHX and cook up something organic, local, healthy and delicious. And it's worth every bit of chopping and planning to support as well as eat from land that's worked with love.

LaVista CSA Farm has a limited batch of mid-season, pro-rated subscriptions available now, just in time for summer tomatoes. Tell 'em Earthworms sent you.


Jul 21, 2015

Walter (Stormy) Crawford was one of Earth's colorful and influential denizens. He parlayed his love of wild creatures into work that's known and respected world-wide, as founder and longtime director of the World Bird Sanctuary. His unexpected death on July 17, 2015 at age 70 opens a vast space in the fabric of environmental education and conservation action, in St. Louis and beyond.

This interview with Walter Crawford from the Earthworms Archives was broadcast live on KDHX on July 26, 2010. 

Roger Holloway, World Bird's longime Director of Operations, joins Jean Ponzi to introduce this tribute. Walter Crawford's colleagues - staff, volunteers and friends - wil continue this work, healing and returning to the wild injured birds of prey, and teaming human-bird resources to educate all ages. 

Every Thursday in August, St. Louisans and visitors will thrill to the power of eagles, owls, hawks, and ravens as THEY participate in the World Bird Sanctuary summer evening concerts. Birds in Concert wil feature Walter's favorites on August 13. Every show features The Raptor Project, World Bird's high-flying house band. Concerts are free - come early, stroll the grounds.

Music: Wonderful Bird Song (by Joe Hoffman) from The Raptor Project first CD, Save The Future (Raptor Records, 2009)  - used by permission, with Earthworms thanks.


Jul 15, 2015

Meet Mark H.X. Glenshaw: college library staffer by day, Owl Prowler by night, and self-styled Naturalist extraordinaire. For over 9 years, in all weathers, Mark has been observing a mated pair of Great Horned Owls (and their 26 owlets!) in this country's second largest urban park. He generously helps adults and kids to get out in nature too.

Charles and Sarah, as Mark calls these owls, invite you to meet their human student, fan and champion in this true tale of urban ecology.

Learn more at

Music: Divertimento - W.A. Mozart, via Kevin MacLeod


Jul 8, 2015

Studying food policy at NYU, Leanne Brown wanted to help SNAP recipents eat well on the "$4 a day" provided to over 46 million Americans. Her cookbook GOOD AND CHEAP steamed a 2014 Kickstarter campaign, getting 40,000 copies donated to non-profits or sold at cost. This month's new editon from Workman Publishing will distribute on a buy-one, give-one model. PDF version available too!

Leanne shares stories from cookbook recipients, favorite recipes and her ideas about food and social equity. From pulled pork to food systems, this conversation is a menu of Earthworms' specialty: Green Views You Can Use.


Music: Jamie by Yankee Racers, performed at KDHX 6-29-15

Jun 30, 2015

Architect-turned-farmer Mary Ostafi's dream of Growing Food Where People Live is bearing fruit - and chard, eggplant, tomatos and flowers - atop a storage-unit building in downtown St. Louis.

 Urban Harvest Food Roof 

Mary's leadership has also harvested major $$ support, from crowd-funds to a Metropolitan Sewer District Project Clear grant. With veg in the "ground" and a biz-plan in hand, this city's first rooftop farm is growing connections between loft-living eaters, social service job programs, water conservation needs, and much more.

Food Roof features include raised beds, aeroponics, a drainage board that can contain 17,000 gallons of rainwater (which won't run off to overload storm sewers), bee hives and a Milkweeds for Monarchs pollinator garden. Living lunch from a flat-roof ecosystem!

This week's Earthworms podcast is a taste of what's evolving as the Urban Harvest Food Roof Farm - featured this week in the New York Times!


Music: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - J.S. Bach (he liked turnips)


Jun 22, 2015

Peter Raven is St. Louis' own Hero of the Planet. Since 1990 he's been a Senior Science Advisor to the Pontifical Academy of Science, most recently one of the minds behind the letter from Pope Francis, released on June 18, framing climate change as a moral issue for all people of this Earth.

Dr. Raven, who is President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about the papal message, about this moment for humankind, and about the potential each one of us has to make the changes needed to heal and protect the Earth.

Read the climate change encyclical, Laudato Si' - and be assured that our individual efforts do matter in a world where "climate is a common good" and ". . . .nothing is indifferent to us."

Thanks to Earthworms engineer, Andy Coco.
Music: Artifact by Kevin MacLeod

Jun 17, 2015

This summer watch the streets of St. Louis for a unique rolling service: a grocery store in a Metro bus. Earthworms guest Jeremy Goss and his partners Colin Dowling and Tej Azad are medical students and an MBA about to launch some serious business.

The St. Louis Metro Market will address food access issues rooted in poverty and racial discrimination. It will run as a business, generating revenue through at-cost sales in low-income neighborhoods and market-rate sales on corporate campuses. Produce supplied by community gardens and sustainable farms will help nourish our Local Food sector, as the bus delivers healthy food to folks in need. Plus cooking demos - and SAMPLES! - will encourage customers to prepare healthy meals.

This inspiring conversation blooms with "good and great" responses to needs of people, the planet - and the process of making a decent living. 

Follow Jeremy and the Metro bus grocery on Twitter @STLMetroMarket 

Jun 10, 2015

For 6 years (this month) an (amazing!) group of ordinary people have worked to keep a coal ash landfill out of the floodway of the Missouri River. Not saying "no landfill" or "close the coal plant." The Labadie Environmental Organization, LEO, marshals the resources of scientific, medical, legal and engineering experts who pitch in alongside farmers, parents, business owners - hundreds of engaged FOLKS - in efforts to get coal ash disposal sensibly and safely sited. Struggle? Yes. Crucial? LEO members and supporters believe so, and they are WORKING on this issue. 

Guests: Petra Haynes and Patricia Schuba - LEO core organizers

Music: R. Roger Pryor - traditional instrumental performed 1997 at The Focal Point

Connect with LEO on Facebook and Twitter and through

Your engagement is welcome, needed and will be rewarding. Time-sensitive responses include June 11, 2015 Franklin County (MO) Commission testimony date and submission of email testimony. See LEO on Facebook for details.


Jun 3, 2015

Missouri's largest private landowner, Leo Drey grew a mighty forest of conservation impacts, cumulatively and literally, over his 98 years (1917 - 2015).

In this first edition of Earthworms' new podcast era, Jean Ponzi welcomes historians and fellow enviro-champions to honor a beloved colleague, leader and friend. Guests are:

  • Dr. Susan Flader - Professor Emerita, University of Missouri and Vice-President, L-A-D Foundation
  • David Lobbig - Curator of Environmental Life, Missouri History Museum and Board President, Missouri Coalition for the Environment
  • Music by the late R. Roger Pryor - Co-Founder and Director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment; recorded live in 1997 at The Focal Point in St. Louis

Learn more about the life and work of Leo Drey - and explore conservation opportunities YOU can enjoy and support - from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

May 11, 2015


Jean talks with Pen Augustin, author of "Waves of Light: Messages From Nature to Heal Our Planet", about her work as an energy healing practitioner, and how humans can consciously use lessons from creatures in nature to improve themselves and the Earth.

Apr 21, 2015


Jean discusses the 26th annual St. Louis Earth Day with the event’s Marketing and Communication Coordinator, Jen Meyerscough. Jen tells us about what new features to expect this year, and what it takes to keep this event thriving and growing after a quarter-century.

Apr 21, 2015


Anne Milford, Communications Coordinator for Great Rivers Greenway, explains how advancements for bike lanes are calming traffic and benefitting the community. This month, Great Rivers Greenway is celebrating 135 miles of bike routes being established throughout St. Louis City and County, and Anne explains what’s next to help low-impact travelers get around and travel safely. 

Apr 14, 2015


Serena Cochran, a farmer that runs Stuart Farm with her husband Fred, talks with Jean about raising meat chickens humanely and sustainably.

Apr 14, 2015


Patricia Schuba, Citizen Activist for the Labadie Environmental Organization, discusses an intensely debated proposal to build a coal ash landfill in close proximity to the Missouri River, the source of much of the St. Louis area’s drinking water.  

Apr 14, 2015


Gloria Attoun, musician and organizer of the Washington River Festival, and Jeff Barrow, Manager of Missouri River Relief, talk with Jean about working with the community to keep our rivers clean.

Apr 7, 2015


Brian Ettling, activist for Climate Change solutions, discusses his first-hand experience with climate change as a park ranger, overcoming misinformation, and facing opposition in his work as part of the Climate Reality Project.

Apr 7, 2015


Bob Gill, grassroots lobbyist for the Sierra Club, discusses how volunteer, citizen lobbyists differ from conventional lobbyists and how they engage legislators to advocate for environmental causes. 

Mar 30, 2015

Dr. Eric Zencey, Professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, discusses the links between ecological sustainability and a country’s success. While the Gross Domestic Product is usually used to measure a country’s economic health, Zencey tells us about the Genuine Progress Indicator, and other alternative metrics that take sustainability and biodiversity into account.

Mar 23, 2015

Ed Maggart, head of The College School in Webster Groves, explains the benefits of Experiential Education. Maggart discusses how Experiential Education differs from conventional methods, why it works for both children and adults, and how it can be effective in teaching kids about the environment.

Mar 10, 2015


Ann Dettmer, Communications Manager of the Missouri American Water Company, and Colleen Scott from the Missouri Department of Conservation, discuss the struggles to conserve water in a society where an abundance of clean water is taken for granted.

Feb 24, 2015


Laura Carroll, co-author and editor of the second edition of Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World, dissects the global population boom and what a lack of action could mean for the rest of our environment.

Feb 17, 2015


Lark Rodman discusses her community-building work with Sadhana Forest in India, Haiti, and Kenya. Sadhana Forest aims to help rural villages develop a more sustainable environment through methods like cultivating food forests and restoring stripped-down lands back to the thriving ecosystems they once were.

Feb 10, 2015


Mimo Davis, Miranda Duschack, and Stephanie Davis discuss raising flowers and plantlife in an urban environment, including the one-acre flower farm that they are currently raising in the Dutchtown neighborhood in South St. Louis.

Feb 3, 2015


Michael Sorth, Executive Director of Gateway Greening, discusses the rise of community gardens in St. Louis and making the practice more accessible with the upcoming Community Gardening Summit.

Feb 3, 2015


Robert Wintner, known as Snorkel Bob, discusses the subject of his new book Reef Libre: Cuba - The Last, Best Reefs In the World. Bob explains how Cuba's reefs are some of the very few reefs in the world left untouched by the outside world, and how we can protect this rare gem.

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