84-Year-Old Volunteer Helps Maintain River Views in Cliff Cave Park

If you walk or ride along the Mississippi Greenway in Cliff Cave Park, you’ve probably seen 84-year-old St. Louis County Park volunteer Joe Messler. He spends an average of twenty hours a week working along the paved trails in the lower section of the park, clearing out honeysuckle and other invasive plants to make sure park visitors always have a clear view of the river. In the five years he has been volunteering, Joe has not only made great progress enhancing the landscape, he’s also lost 135 pounds! Thanks for all your hard work Joe, we appreciate it!

Joe’s story is a great example of how volunteering is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for you! If you are ready to lend your hand, check out some volunteer opportunities here.

Great Rivers Greenway Volunteer Spotlight: Ava G.

Twelve-Year-Old “Force of Nature” Organizes and Plans Second Greenway Volunteer Day

Have you been thinking about volunteering for a stream cleanup or native planting day but can’t quite commit? Twelve-year-old volunteer Ava G. might provide all the inspiration you need to follow through. This dynamic soon-to-be-seventh-grader recently planned and coordinated her second volunteer day on a greenway!

Working under the direction of Great Rivers Greenway Conservation Program Manager Tom Schweiss, Ava recruited volunteers to plant 100 trees in the Meramec Greenway near Sunset Hills. Thanks to her enthusiasm and encouragement, more than 23 middle and high school students (and a few parents) showed up on a sunny Saturday morning to plant native trees that will increase diversity and improve habitat along the Meramec Greenway.

Last year, Ava and friends planted pollinator-friendly native plants and weeded existing flower beds at the Centennial Greenway trailhead in Shaw Park. At the end of the day they installed 75 native plants and improved approximately 1900 square feet of pollinator habitat.

“I was inspired to do something to help the environment by what I have learned at Cheley Colorado Camps. They encourage us to take what we learn at camp each summer and bring it back home – It’s called ‘Cheley in the Community.’ When I returned to St. Louis, I did some research and decided to work with Great Rivers Greenway. ”

Ava and friends’ day of tree planting will have a positive impact on the environment for years to come. In just one morning, they planted a variety of native trees including Burr Oak, Paw Paw, Black Chokeberry, Witch Hazel, Kentucky Coffee and more!

“It makes me happy to plan a memorable experience for my friends! We had a lot of fun and also created memories that will last a lifetime. Everyone who volunteered will be able to tell their kids or grandkids that they planted trees along the Meramec River!”

Inspired yet? Good! We would love to welcome you or your group as a greenway volunteer. Visit greatriversgreenway.org/get-involved/ to learn more!

 

Volunteers Remove 80 Yards of Trash, 5 Tons of Scrap Metal, 100 Tires (and a Boat!) at March 10 Meramec Greenway Cleanup

It’s amazing to see what 128 hardworking volunteers can do to improve the native ecology of the Meramec River watershed in a single Saturday! On March 10, we were thrilled to support two cleanup efforts in the Meramec Greenway.

Meramec Greenway: Pacific
In Pacific, The Ozark Trail Association, Pacific River Walk Trail Association and more than 40 volunteers joined forces to clear trash and debris along the Meramec River. The goal of the cleanup was to remove trash, invasive plants, and two dilapidated cabins along the route of a planned riverfront park in Pacific that will eventually link the Meramec Greenway, the City of Eureka and the Ozark Trail.

Thanks to the hardworking volunteers—and two expert equipment operators—the group removed more than 30 cubic yards of trash and debris left on the property by past floods. Volunteers also removed invasive plants, benefiting the native ecology of the Meramec River watershed.

Meramec Greenway: Lower Meramec Park
The Open Space Council kicked off their 51st Annual Operation Clean Stream with a special winter clean up near lower Meramec Park. More than 88 volunteers pitched in to remove scrap tires, debris, and other litter to improve the overall quality of the watershed and improve open spaces.
At the end of the day, they removed 5 tons of scrap metal, 50 cubic yards of trash and 100 tires.

Many hands make light work and we rely on the support of partners like the Open Space Council along with volunteers to maintain the greenways and improve our region’s watersheds. If you would like to learn more about the Open Space Council’s Operation Clean Stream, visit their website here. If you would like to receive updates and information about volunteer opportunities, sign up for our quarterly volunteer newsletter here.

9th Annual Confluence Trash Bash Breaks Records!

A record-breaking 600 volunteers showed up on Saturday March 18th to clear litter and trash from rivers and creeks within the Confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

People of all ages were happy to donate part of their weekend to clean up several areas across north St. Louis City and County, and through their hard work 287 tires, 1.3 tons of recyclable scrap and 6.6 tons of trash were removed from the rivers and creeks of the Confluence!

Thanks to the many volunteers who donated their time and energy to improve water quality and animal habitat in our region’s waterways! The fish, birds and other animals who live in and around these creeks and streams thank you too!

If you would like to learn more about future stewardship opportunities and cleanup events,  subscribe to our volunteer newsletter here.

This year’s Confluence Trash Bash was coordinated and sponsored by a number of organizations and municipalities including Great Rivers Greenway, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri American Water, St. Louis Audubon Society, Greenway Network, St. Louis Brightside, St. Louis County, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Stream Team, Missouri River Relief, St. Louis Forward, Big Muddy Adventures, and BudgetDumpster.com

National Public Lands Day Volunteer Blitz

EarthDay16-Busch-04Help us Give Back to the Greenways at a district-wide volunteer blitz on Saturday, September 24, that coincides with National Public Lands Day.  This is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort dedicated to the stewardship of public lands.

Bring your family, friends, students, or coworkers to spend the day outdoors giving back to your community and the greenways by pulling invasive species, planting pollinator habitat, working on trails and cleaning up trash. Your time and effort will help ensure that the greenways and our public lands continue to be beautiful places for all to enjoy!

Tools, gloves, snacks, and water will be provided for these events.  All volunteers will also receive a free one-year National Park pass.

Please wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather.

Below is a list of project descriptions and locations.


EarthDay16-DeerCreek-35Invasive Honeysuckle Removal

Bush honeysuckle has invaded many parks and natural areas in our urban areas. We could use your help eradicating this nasty plant and restoring habitat for our native wildlife. The birds and the butterflies will thank you for it!

We will be removing honeysuckle at Deer Creek Park located along the Deer Creek Greenway in partnership with the Open Space Council

• Time: 9 am – 12 pm
• Address: 3200 Laclede Station Rd, St. Louis, MO 63143
• Ages 15+ are invited to join us; youth under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
Click here to register


EarthDay16-McKinley-04

Pollinator Garden Planting

This project is a partnership with Brightside St. Louis, City of St. Louis, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Master Naturalist Great Rivers Chapter and Missouri Botanical Garden to support urban monarch conservation efforts and the creation of a Butterfly Byway along the St. Louis riverfront.

We will be planting a new pollinator garden at the Mary Meachum Visitor Center located along the Riverfront Trail of the Mississippi Greenway.

• Time: 9 am – 12 pm
• Address: 100 East Prairie Ave. St. Louis, MO 63147
• Children are welcome to join us; youth under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
Click here to register

Note: Stay on East Prairie through the floodwall into gravel lot and go through the opening onto the bike trail.  Take a right (south) onto the trail, the Mary Meachum building is located about 100 or so yards down the trail and will be on your left. Volunteers can park in the gravel area located just past the Mary Meachum building on the right.


Service Day at Riverlands Bird Sanctuary

A public service day will be held on Saturday, September 24th 2016 starting at 8:30am at Riverlands Bird Sanctuary, 301 Riverlands Way, West Alton, Mo.

After meeting at Riverlands volunteers may choose from several work site options on public lands at the confluence of two of our county’s great rivers, the Mississippi and Missouri. The USACE Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Jones Confluence State Park, and the West Alton trail will be the sites of this effort to enhance our public lands.

The service day will include trash cleanups, plantings, and trail work. All necessary equipment for the cleanup will be supplied.  A  T-shirt or water bottle and a free National Parks pass will be given to all volunteers. There will be a free lunch for volunteers, followed by opportunities to hike on your public lands at the Confluence.

Your help is important to improve our public lands, so please join us on National Public Lands Day. REGISTER HERE!

This event is supported by Great Rivers Greenways, Audubon Center at Riverlands, US Army Corp of Engineers Riverlands, Missouri Dept. of Natural Resource Jones Confluence State Park and Greenway Network.


Please contact Angie at 314-436-4536 or aweber@grgstl.org  to learn more about these opportunities.

Give Back to the Greenways Earth Day Blitz Recap

EarthDay16-McKinley-bridge-plantingOn April 22, volunteers from AT&T, Southwest Airlines, Oasis, Crossroads College Preparatory School, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, AmeriCorps, Open Space Council, and Greenway Guides, celebrated Earth Day by “Giving Back to the Greenways.”    In just three hours, these sixty hardworking volunteers contributed more than 180 hours of service in five greenways across the region.  Here is what they accomplished:

Installed a total of 637 plants on the McKinley Bridge Bikeway in the Mississippi Greenway and Shaw Park Trailhead in the Centennial Greenway.  The plants included milkweed, asters and other beneficial native plants to create a welcoming habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.  Thanks to Forest ReLeaf of Missouri for donating nine native shrubs for the project.

Removed more than a half-acre of invasive honeysuckle along the Busch and Deer Creek Greenways. This will enable native woodland plants and trees in this area to flourish!

Painted two storm drains at Ruth Porter Mall in St. Vincent Greenway with colorful artwork to people that any trash or pollutants dumped into the storm drain flows into neighborhood creeks and ultimately the Mississippi River; harming native wildlife and degrading water quality.

In addition to a sense of accomplishment, volunteers were rewarded with bike bells, slap bracelets and an Eastern redbud seedling to plant in their yard.  We are so grateful for each and every volunteer who helped us!  It was a great way to spend a few hours working together to care for all of our greenways. Plans for our next “Give Back to the Greenways” work day in September 2016 are already underway. If you have a corporate or school group who wish to spend a day on the greenways with us, please contact Angie Weber at 314-436-4536.