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 to learn more!