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Insect and Other Garden Friends & Their Benefits

Ladybug

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

If all the creatures that are part of our gardens, there are some that do extra work. Called beneficials, they are the insects, spiders and birds that act as predators or parasites to keep bad insects in check. Some beneficials also help with pollination and decomposing garden matter.

Of the close to one million species of insects worldwide a very small percentage damage plants. Attracting insects and birds in general attracts many more “good” insects for the garden. Some beneficials we are familiar with are ladybugs, praying mantis, parasitic wasps and lacewings. There are many others including parasitic flies, hover flies, assassin bugs, predatory bugs, ground beetles and damsel bugs.

There are six main things to do for beneficials. First, create a thriving ecosystem by planting a wide variety of plants with blossoms from early spring to late fall. Flowering plants with small flowers in clusters like aster, carrots, zizea and dill are favored by beneficials. Native plants evolved with the insects in our region and often offer the most in food and shelter. Provide moisture with a pebble tray filled with water.

Second, get to know and identify garden insects, both “good” and “bad”. Often an insect will do damage to a particular kind of plant. Looking for the insect and what it does helps identify the problem and solution. There are online photos and lists that help with identification. Sometimes the “good” insect resembles the “bad” one, so be careful with identification. Learn what beneficials will be best for particular problems. Praying Mantis is a voracious eater of all insects, good and bad. Ladybugs, or more correctly lady beetles, and their larvae feed on aphids. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs into caterpillars.

Third, bring more beneficials in if needed. Beneficial insects, usually in egg form, can be purchased and added to your garden. Make sure to provide the ideal conditions or they will move on to a more hospitable spot.

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Rise Up Festival Celebrates Revitalization in St. Louis, August 20

Rise Up Festival St. Louis

Rise is proud to announce our fourth annual Rise Up Festival taking place on August 20th, 2016 in the city of St. Louis on Washington Avenue, from 15 th Street to 17th Street. The festivities will start up at 2 PM and continue on into the evening until 11 PM, remaining free for all to attend!

Rise’s mission is to partner with communities to build stronger, more equitable St. Louis neighborhoods. The Rise Up Festival is a one-day street event that brings together art, music, local business, and other key elements that play a part in community building in order to celebrate revitalization in St. Louis.

A wide variety of musical performances will take place at the festival, including The Original Wailers (formerly with Bob Marley), Platinum Rock Legends (Rock), Roland Johnson and Soul Endeavor (Blues), and Dr. Zhivegas (Dance Music). With the broad range of genres, there will be something for everyone at the festival!

Emerging artists will attend, displaying their work and participating in a competition managed by Cultural Festivals (founders and managers of the Saint Louis Art Fair). Local artisan food and craft vendor booths will be present at the festival as well.

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Living In Harmony with Nature at Innsbrook

Innsbrook A Frame

By Cassandra Langley

Life in harmony with nature drives every aspect of the community of Innsbrook, a quiet and peaceful haven located just 30 minutes west of Chesterfield. One look around Innsbrook and you know right away you’re in the midst of nature’s playground.
The Innsbrook environment is designed to maximize your ability to relax, reconnect and rediscover quality time. What does that mean to you? Roasting marshmallows around the firepit? Teaching your kids how to fish, or identify bird calls? Spending the day in the garden? Whatever it means, there’s a place for it at Innsbrook.

Innsbrook properties are carefully built to disturb as little of the environment as possible. The iconic A-frame cabins leave one feeling like they live in the treetops of a forest canopy. Sit out on the deck for long enough and you may find yourself feeding birds right out of your hand!

Innsbrook property owners celebrate the creatures and plants that others may shun as pests. They celebrate the beauty and worth of all living things, from the smallest of animals to the tallest of trees. Native grasses and wildflowers flourish in this lake community. Monarch butterflies thrive as they dance their way from flower to flower.

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Simple Ways To Change Up Your Commute And Improve Air Quality

Article courtesy of the Clean Air Partnership

When we head out the door for work, school, or to enjoy a night on the town, most of us don’t think twice about jumping into our cars and the negative impact solo-commuting has on our air quality. More cars on our roads means more emissions in our air and an increased risk for poor air quality. Fortunately, there are many ways we can change our commutes and reduce time spent sitting behind the wheel in single-occupancy vehicles.
MetroLink and MetroBus are great alternatives to solo-commuting that individuals can use to get to work, their favorite entertainment destinations and venues around town.

Since public transit moves people more efficiently and produces significantly less air pollution to move one passenger one mile than a car does, transit use is vital in keeping our air clean. Transit is also a cost-effective transportation option that helps alleviate the stress of driving alone during peak commute times when traffic congestion is at its worst.

Choosing to share the ride to work, school or to get around town can also go a long way towards improving the region’s air quality. According to RideFinders, the regional rideshare agency, carpools remove nearly 4,500 vehicles, 2 million pounds of air pollution and 150,000 driving miles from area roadways each day. Like transit, carpooling can also save commuters money and reduce the stress of driving alone.

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T’ai Chi Ch’uan For Health and Fitness

Tai Chi St. Louis

By Paul MacFarlane and Bill Grivna

You’ve probably seen people practicing T’ai Chi on TV, in a movie, or even locally, in a park or at the botanical garden. You know it’s a slow moving, graceful exercise that is supposed to be beneficial. You may have heard that at advanced levels it is a formidable martial art based on relaxation, yielding, and using an opponent’s energy against himself. But what do you really know about the many health benefits that can be gained from this wonderful, relaxing exercise system?

T’ai Chi, when practiced regularly, has been said to improve relaxation, concentration, coordination, flexibility, postural alignment, and both physical and mental balance or centering. If some or all of this sounds intriguing to you, then we’d like to introduce you to the St. Louis T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association, a not-for-profit organization has been offering classes in the art of T’ai Chi Ch’uan since 1979.

“The five principles we practice are: relax and sink, separate the weight, waist as commander, body upright and beautiful lady’s wrist, ” said Michael David, President of the Association. Mr. David has practiced the Yang Style Short Form, as taught by the Association for nearly twenty years. And like most of the Association’s students, T’ai Chi Ch’uan has changed his life in countless ways. Mr. David experienced a more relaxed manner at work, increased health and vitality, plus improved balance and strength. David adds, “These benefits come subtly, like laying a sheet of paper on top of a sheet of paper. Over time, you find the way you sit, stand and move tends to change. You gain strength, balance, suppleness, stamina, and most of all, a more meditative approach to daily living.”

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