Natural Playground Now Open At Forest Park

Looking for something to do with the kids or grandkids this coming holiday weekend? Check out the recently opened Oakland Avenue Playground at Forest Park. Read more about the playground from Forest Park Forever below.

The City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry and Forest Park Forever are pleased to announce the renovated Oakland Avenue Playground is now open to the public. The playground is located on Forest Park’s southern edge near the intersection of Tamm and Oakland Avenues. The $300,000 project was funded by donations to Forest Park Forever, including a lead grant from the PNC Foundation, and the City of St. Louis.

The design for the renovated Oakland Avenue Playground was based on feedback and ideas from hundreds of local children and community members who took part in online and in-person surveys and discovery sessions in 2020. The playground includes two main play areas – one designed for children ages 2-5 and the other tailored for children ages 5-12. The playground offers a variety of seating options, including picnic tables and natural benches, as well as bicycle racks. It unifies and connects to Turtle Playground, the existing restroom comfort station and the nearby neighborhood, giving the space a defined identity and welcoming atmosphere.

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Gobble, Gobble, Gobble Up That Turkey Pizza & More

Could one of these turkeys end up on your pizza? (Photo: MDC)

By Don Corrigan

The classic All-American Thanksgiving Dinner is getting a makeover. The roast bird, surrounded by hot plates of fixings, is being edged out by a new wave of holiday turkey dinner pizzas.

If you’re a doubting Tom Turkey, you need to get a load of the holiday concoctions being proposed for the 2021 table: barbecue turkey pizza, artichoke turkey pizza, turkey bacon flatbread pizza and turkey supreme pizza bake.

And now comes Happy Joe’s with a pizza featuring turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce – all layered and piled high – on Joe’s pan-style crust. The happy man contends this culinary caper will make for special holiday memories.

After all, who will ever forget such a novel holiday pastry – a pie that combines everyone’s favorite Turkey Day flavors – stacked in a one-of-a-kind creation?

Suzanne Corbett, a St. Louis food historian and culinary critic, is an outspoken doubting Thomasina. She intends to pound the table in favor of tradition. She thinks the traditional bird is going nowhere.

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SEED ST. LOUIS: Same Great Resource, Same Great Organization, New Name

Recently Gateway Greening announced they are changing their name to Seed St. Louis! Read more from the organization below.

Gateway Greening is now Seed St. Louis! To better clarify our mission and to avoid confusion with a local trails organization, we are excited about the change to Seed St. Louis.

With the name change, we have updated our vision and mission, while adding a new purpose:

Mission: To empower people and communities to grow food

Vision: Equitable access to fresh, healthy food throughout the St. Louis region

Purpose: To provide the community with the education, resources, and a network to grow their own food

We will continue to grow our network of 250 community-led projects that include community gardens, school gardens, urban orchards, and urban farms. We hope to plant more seeds with people and communities throughout the region to achieve “Food Freedom For All.” Stay tuned for more exciting news to come!  -Seed St. Louis – Staff and Board of Directors

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It’s Finally Here!! Don Corrigan’s New Book!

To order Don Corrigan’s latest book, call 314-968-2699 and ask for Don Corrigan, or email corrigan@timesnewspapers.com
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Celebrate Powder Valley Nature Center’s 30th Anniversary at Autumn Festival event Oct. 29

Families enjoy the fall color by walking the trails at Powder Valley.

MDC invites the public to help celebrate Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center’s 30th anniversary at an Anniversary Autumn Festival Friday, Oct. 29 from 6-9 p.m.  This special event is free and open to the whole family. (online preregistration to attend is required.)

 

The average price for a gallon of gas was $1.14; Terminator 2: Judgement Day dominated the box office; George H. W. Bush was president of the United States, and Boyz II Men was just breaking into the music scene.  The year was 1991, and something great was happening for St. Louis-area nature lovers too—the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) opened Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.

MDC invites the public to help celebrate Powder Valley’s 30-year anniversary at an Anniversary Autumn Festival Friday, Oct. 29 from 6-9 p.m.  This special event is free and open to the whole family.  Enjoy a beautiful fall evening with plenty of autumn-inspired outdoor activities.

Visitors will be able to go for a hayride and enjoy a bonfire complete with s’mores.  There will also be fall themed crafts, games, and other fun activities to celebrate Powder Valley’s anniversary. MDC will even provide free hotdogs, popcorns, s’mores, and drinks.

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Kay Drey: Whistleblower for an Atomic Age in St. Louis

Environmentalist Kay Drey will be honored at the First Amendment Celebration of the St. Louis Gateway Journalism Review. The event will be on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, from 7-8 p.m. Sign up for this virtual celebration at tinyurl.com/3rakxfet.

The celebration will benefit the nation’s only regional journalism review. Keynote Speaker is former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Kirkwood, Missouri.  

By Don Corrigan

Kay Drey is an activist, environmentalist, a whistleblower, an Earth Mother. Who could argue that there is anyone more passionate than Kay Drey about protecting humanity from the dangers of the atomic age?

Humanity means mothers, fathers, children – it’s not just a word. She is the premier whistleblower because she has educated so many journalists to blow the whistle, to make some noise, to sound the alarm in defense of man, woman and child.

She is the Paul Revere of the Nuclear Age:

• “Mobile Chernobyls are coming!” she warned us.

•  “Plutonium is coming!” she warned us.

• “Polonium is coming! Have you heard of it?” she asked us.

Who else but Kay Drey would have tritium3 as her email address? It is impossible to message her without wondering if this radioactive element might be contaminating the neighborhood.

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Squirrel Photo Contest Winners Announced!

The squirrel photo contest has ended. We had some wonderful entries! The winners will receive a phone call about how to collect their prizes.

Here are the winners!

(Look for more contest photos next week! We received so many great photos that we will share them with everyone soon!)

First Place
John Langholz from Webster Groves, Mo
(winner gave permission to post his full name.)

First Place Winner

Second Place
Bruce B. from Kirkwood, Mo

Second Place Winner

Third Place
Don F. from Lonedell, Mo

Third Place Winner

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Squirrel Photo Winners To Be Awarded At Magnificent Missouri Event On Oct. 17

UPDATE: Squirrel photos are coming in hot and heavy!

Don’t forget to send your squirrel photos in for the contest! Deadline is October 15. Email the photo entries to environmentalecho@gmail.com. 

Thank you for all the photo submissions received so far! 

Squirrels are frantically flipping out and burying acorns. It’s their pre-winter thing. Which makes squirrels great photo subjects this time of year.

A squirrel photography contest is now frantically underway.

Send your best squirrel images to the Missouri Nature Blog, EnvironmentalEcho.com. Limit of three photos per photographer, please. Deadline is October 15.

Squirrel photograph images should be sent on the worldly squirrel wide web to the email address: environmentalecho@gmail.com. Photograph winners will receive Squirrel Baskets packed with plenty of squirrel goodies.

Three winners will be announced at the Squirrel Day Table at Magnificent Missouri’s Elevator Days on Sunday, Oct. 17 at Treloar on the Katy Trial. Shuttle will be available to take visitors to the Peers Store just east of Treloar on the Katy Trail.

Professor Don Corrigan will give a Powerpoint lecture on his book, “Nuts About Squirrels” at the Peers Store at 1 p.m. The lecture and his book detail the importance of squirrel characters in our American popular culture.

Some tips about photographing live squirrels: Good squirrel photos should be close-up showing their character. Action photos are best.

Squirrels make good subjects because they are just plain cute. They are very cunning and will work very hard to get to a food source, i.e., your bird feeder. They offer endless opportunities for great photos with their gymnastic abilities.

They can be difficult at times to photograph because they are constantly on the move and you have to anticipate what they are going to do next. This is what makes photographing them so much fun.

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Trouble In Tree City USA: Storms, Disease Hit Suburban Trees

By Don Corrigan

There’s trouble in Tree City USA – and that means Tree with a “T” and that means Kirkwood and that means Webster Groves. And that means oaks, maples, elms, pines – and more.

Residents with mature trees in their yards have learned this summer that they don’t necessarily have it made in the shade. Their trees have taken a trouncing from storms, pests, rot, fungi – and more.

Perhaps the surest sign of this came on a July weekend when a microburst storm took down massive trees in the area. Earlier this spring, residents were sounding the alarm over pin oaks shedding yellow leaves.

“Trees are wonderful community assets, but they require some TLC and regular observation to determine care needs,” said Bill Ruppert, a Kirkwood horticulturalist and owner of National Nursery Products. “Homeowners are wise to invest in trees, but it’s also wise to keep up with your investments.”

Ruppert recommends tree owners have periodic tree health evaluations by a certified consulting arborist. These should check on presence of pests, nutritional needs and safety conditions related to limb and branch structure.

“We are learning so much now about the importance of putting thought into what kind of trees we plant in order to head off a lot of tree problems,” added Ruppert. “It’s important to think about site and diversity when planting trees.”

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Area Squirrels Ramp Up Their Fall Nutty Activities

Photo by Charles Hoessle, former St. Louis Zoo Director.

By Don Corrigan

If you’ve been paying attention to the wildlife near your home, you may have noticed squirrels are going a little nuts. They’re in their pre-winter ritual of hoarding and burying acorns.

An animal expert who finds squirrel antics fascinating is Charles Hoessle, former St. Louis Zoo Director. Hoessle has been up close and personal with large, wild animals at the world-renowned zoo, but he has a real soft spot for – squirrels.

“We have two white squirrels, which are quite rare, living in the trees near my home,” said Hoessle. “I don’t know how they got here, but they do show up every so often and they do not seem to be bothered by all the gray squirrels.”

Hoessle has a hoard of photos of his neighborhood white squirrels that he has taken on his cell phone. This is quite an accomplishment, because white squirrels can be shy as they are very visible out in the open and vulnerable to predators.

The vulnerability of white squirrels has made them rare, but they are populous in one town in Illinois. Olney is the white squirrel capital of America and the town’s police will levy heavy fines if you harass or hit them, even accidentally, with your vehicle.

“I lure the white squirrels out in my yard by sprinkling some cracked corn around,” said Hoessle. “I can never tell when they will show up, but the corn seems to attract them.”

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