Blog Archives

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Environmental Echo Gets Notice In Statehouse Resolution

Missouri State Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, presents Don Corrigan with Missouri House Resolution #5355 recognizing his contributions to journalism, including the founding of the blog, Environmental Echo. 

Environmental Echo, which has been publishing since October 2014, received recognition in a Missouri Statehouse Resolution in the one-hundredth session of the General Assembly of Missouri in Jefferson City. The 2020 Resolution was presented in June by Missouri State Rep. Deb Lavender, 90th District, at Kirkwood City Hall.

Don Corrigan accepted the resolution which was prompted by his recent induction into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Corrigan, along with Holly Shanks, founded Environmental Echo as an outlet for journalism focused on nature, wildlife, sustainability and environmental protection.

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Just Moms Question EPA Award for Atomic Site Remediation

West Lake Landfill

By Don Corrigan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the winners of the third annual National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse awards. The Weldon Spring atomic site, located in St. Charles, Missouri, receives one of three awards given nationally.

Pictured above: Dawn Chapman (Left) and Karen Nickel, co-founders of Just Moms STL.

Dawn Chapman, a leader of Just Moms STL, which has been battling for the remediation of the West Lake atomic site in the Bridgeton area across from St. Charles, is not so impressed by the award for Weldon Spring.

“If we are being honest, the federal government polluted the hell out of this area during the atomic bomb production era,” said Chapman. “Then it let everything just sit around leaking for decades — some of it sitting next to a high school. The government let radioactive waste get into ponds and streams, then knowingly allowed and even encouraged people to hunt and fish there.”

The Weldon Spring DOE LM Site, comprised of a former Chemical Plant and Quarry, has a complex history, according to the EPA. It played a pivotal role in the success of World War II and the Cold War, according to EPA, and the 228-acre site,  located about 25 miles west of St. Louis, has been revitalized for beneficial reuse as a community educational center and recreational site.

EPA officials said new Weldon Spring Interpretive Center features exhibits designed to fulfill DOE’s post-closure responsibilities. The center informs and educates the public about long-term stewardship and the site’s historical legacy. An important educational focus is on risk communication, showing how cleanup activities made the site safe for public use. Other redevelopment highlights include community use facilities and a natural prairie habitat, which promotes wildlife conservation.

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MDC Extends Program Cancellations To June 30  

With concerns about COVID-19 continuing, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces it has extended its cancellation of programs and events at nature centers and other Department locations through June 30.

To help continue to connect people with nature, MDC will be offering more of its nature-focused programs through online formats. According to MDC, the online offerings will make it more convenient and comfortable for people to attend the programs virtually from wherever they are in the state — and beyond.

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Consumers Turn To Insect Protein As Meat Disappears from Grocery Shelves

Sarah Schlafly, CEO of Mighty Cricket, with Jacob Pratt, general manager for St. Louis area FroYo locations.

St. Louis Startup Combats COVID-19 Meat Shortages

As grocery store meat cases empty, some consumers are seeking alternative sources of protein – from insects. This is exactly what St. Louis startup Mighty Cricket had been anticipating when it launched in 2018 with its line of all-natural cricket protein powders, decadent protein oatmeals, and wholesome protein pancake mix.

Mighty Cricket’s founder, Sarah Schlafly, explained, “Mighty Cricket was born out of the realization that the whole nation is food insecure. Our nation’s food system is incredibly fragile. One major catastrophe and we’re all suffering from food supply issues.”

Determined to create a sustainable food system, Mighty Cricket launched with a mission to build a clean protein supply to sustain the world.

Schlafly’s concerns about the U.S. food system was realized during the COVID-19 pandemic when supply chain issues forced farmers to destroy millions of pounds of fresh foods. In a letter published recently by John Tyson, chairman of the board at Tyson Foods, Tyson echoes Schlafly’s alarm, “The food supply chain is breaking.”

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Mark Your Calendars! The Saint Louis Zoo Opens To The Public June 13

Photo: Saint Louis Zoo/David Merritt

The Saint Louis Zoo has announced Saturday, June 13 as its reopening date for the public. As part of its commitment to the continued well-being of guests, staff and animals, and in an ongoing effort to assist the community in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Zoo has implemented enhanced protocols and procedures.

“I am excited to share the news about our reopening and I hope everyone knows that the Saint Louis Zoo values safety,” said Jeffrey Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “I am amazed at the incredible care our staff has provided to the animals during this pandemic as well as the diligent work underway in preparation to provide our guests with safe and memorable experiences.”

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Daniel Boon Conservation Area Renovation and Multi-Use Trail Reroute 

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) work teams have completed a significant renovation and reroute to the multi-use trail on the Daniel Boone Conservation Area in Warren County near Jonesburg. The trail, which is 6.8 miles in total length, is open to hiking, biking, and equestrian use.

One of the main reasons for the reroute was to allow portions which had experienced significant wear a chance to recover. The Daniel Boone Conservation Area also encompasses the 923-acre Razor Hollow Natural Area. The project modified the route for biking and horseback use to protect sensitive resources in the area. Users are asked to follow the posted signs regarding access.

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EPA Helps To Reduce Diesel Emissions With School Bus Rebates

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a total of $1,030,000 to 23 Missouri school districts and one Missouri school bus transportation company to replace 52 older diesel school buses.

The funds are part of $11.5 million to replace 580 buses for 157 school bus fleets in 43 states and Puerto Rico, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage. The program awarded the funds in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Earth Day’s primary goal is to protect the environment for future generations. These rebates help do just that by continuing to improve air quality across the country and providing children with a safe and healthy way to get to school,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “While many fleets are currently off the road, when these local school districts start up again, EPA and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act have helped equip them with cleaner running buses, moving farther along the route to healthier kids and communities.”

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Visiting A Zoo Is Good For Your Health New Study Shows

Photo courtesy Saint Louis Zoo

new scientific study authored by Saint Louis Zoo researchers concludes that immersive, naturalistic exhibits in zoos can elicit positive changes in physiological and psychological measures of health and well-being of visitors. In other words – a visit to the zoo is good for your health!

The study titled “Changes in human health parameters associated with an immersive exhibit experience at a zoological institution” was published on Friday, April 17, 2020, in PLOS ONE.

“At a time when the number of people living in urban areas is on the rise, and humans and the natural world are more disconnected, we are now fully realizing why we need the human-animal-nature bond to ensure public health,” said Sharon Deem, DVM, Ph.D., Director of Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine and senior author of the study. “The evidence from this study supports the role of zoos and other green spaces in providing health benefits to zoo visitors,” said Deem.

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MDC Offers New Podcast Exploring Positive Impacts Of Nature

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is excited to announce the launch of its new podcast, Nature Boostwith a focus on the positive impact the outdoors has on each of us.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors is linked to an increase in overall physical health. Being outside has also proven to help decrease stress and anxiety, and help lower depression. For example, spending time in nature, conservation areas, backyards, and urban parks may ease stress levels, including increasing attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

“We’re very excited to share this Nature Boost experience with both our seasoned outdoor enthusiasts and those brand new to discovering nature,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “It’s a chance to learn about the incredible natural resources we have right here in Missouri, including how those nature experiences are changing lives every day.”

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Celebrate 20 Years Of World Turtle Day on May 23

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

By Don Corrigan

People are sheltering in place during the 2020 pandemic for good reason, but on May 23 it might be nice to come out of your shell to celebrate World Turtle Day. It’s the 20th anniversary of this annual event that was founded by American Tortoise Rescue.

The purpose of World Turtle Day is to educate people about what they can do to protect the habitats of turtle and tortoises. It’s also a celebration of the great joy that these reptiles bring to so many people on a daily basis. Humans love turtles.

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