“Gardening helps kids build self-esteem, teaches them to respect the environment and it teaches them about the science of plants,” said Doug Wolter, longtime horticulturist with St. Louis County Parks & Recreation Department. “Better still, it’s an inexpensive hobby and just outside your back door.”
By Don Corrigan (Article from the South County Times)
County kids were going green on a recent Saturday at the Sappington Garden Shop on Gravois Road. The Children’s Garden Club of St. Louis County Parks & Recreation met at the shop to build garden wreaths.
“We’ve been working with children’s club members for about a dozen years now,” said Annie Stanley, store manager of Sappington Garden. “In the past, we’ve built terrariums and topiaries. This year our project was bird wreaths for the garden.”
Stanley put together dozens of bird wreath kits for the kid builders. The wreaths provide a sort of one-shop stop where birds can pluck off ingredients for a first-class nest or for some comfy “bedding” inside a bird house.
“The big job for me is to put the kits together for easy assembly,” Stanley noted. “We had 45 kids this February. The weather really dictates how many we get. We’ve had as few as 27 kids for our projects and as many as 109.
“I’ve had plenty of experience with Cub Scouts and Brownies, so this is not a new experience for me,” added Stanley. “It would never work, though, without Doug Wolter. Doug just has a tremendous group of volunteers who explain everything.”
This year, Wolter and the volunteers explained how birds are pollinators, just like butterflies and bees. It’s important to encourage birds to nest near backyard gardens to help all the plants grow and thrive.
St. Louis County’s Wolter, longtime horticulturist with St. Louis County Parks & Recreation Department, is the founding force behind the Children’s Garden Club. He put together the club in 1999 as part of the County Fair and Air Show that year.
“I figured children love to play in the dirt, so why not get them into the garden,” said Wolter. “Children also love to learn, especially if it is fun, and that is what the club is all about.
“Gardening helps kids build self-esteem, teaches them to respect the environment and it teaches them about the science of plants,” said Wolter. “Better still, it’s an inexpensive hobby and just outside your back door.”
Wolter hopes to get some of the club members to special events as part of Project Pollinator this spring at the Butterfly House in West County. The events launch a community garden initiative designed to protect bees, butterflies and more.
Throughout the month of April, Spring Fling will be held on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Butterfly House. Each week, a beneficial pollinator will be highlighted through fun facts, crafts, games and other family-friendly activities.
Youngsters will learn about bees, ladybugs, bats and of course butterflies during Spring Fling. Spring Fling will also feature a Native Plant Sale to get your pollinator garden. Proceeds support Project Pollinator. The Butterfly House is located in Faust Park at 15193 Olive Blvd. in Chesterfield, Mo.
The Children’s Garden Club has a full slate of monthly activities from now until December with topics ranging from “Planting Fall Color” in June to “Natural Holiday Decorations” in December.
More information on the Children’s Garden Club is available HERE.