Earth Day Action Grant Recipients Announced!

by Cassandra P. Hage,
Executive Director, St. Louis Earth Day

In the afternoon of Monday April 8th, history was made as a small committee met to review our first round of Earth Day Action Grant proposals. We received 34 qualified proposals with a total request of $58,000. Budgets ranged from $150 – $10,000. We have awarded $12,080 to 18 very worthy recipients.

The majority of the funding has been provided through a $10,000 pledge from Boeing’s Corporate Citizenship grants, but as you can see…we couldn’t help but award $2,080 in additional funds. There were several excellent proposals that received only partial funding or no funding at all, and we would like to raise an additional $3,000 – $5,000 to support these projects. Read below and if you can, DONATE NOW – 100% of your donation will go directly to grant applicants!

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis –
Adam’s Park Club

Materials & rain barrels
Revive an existing garden at the Adams Park Club that has been overrun with weeds for the past 3 years; the garden will be an extension of the education and healthy habits programming the group offers Saint Louis youth through after school and summer camp programming. The garden is located in a developing neighborhood (Forest Park Southeast), where many homes have been abandoned. Once the garden is installed, members of the Boys & Girls Club will have the opportunity to enjoy and work in the outdoor classroom.

EarthDance Farm
Organic seeds, educational signage, and stipends for field trip hosts
EarthDance’s apprenticeship program empowers aspiring farmers and community food activists by providing them with hands-on training in organic agriculture, so that more St. Louisans will produce and have access to sustainably-grown food. Volunteer opportunities provide many more community members a chance to connect to nature and the source of their food, through engagement in service projects.

Hip Hop Saves
Materials for activities
Organize a small festival with an emphasis on environmental and community resources using seven community lots to set up tables for groups, hands on workshops, healthy activities and take home materials. This will be an opportunity to introduce many topics, ideas, and resources to neighbors and those who attend, including: eating locally & seasonally, growing produce, composting, saving seeds, vermiculture, herbs & healing properties, native plant landscaping, rain barrels & collection, energy & water conservation, solar benefits, recycling. Children’s area with activities, face painting, and snacks. Local artists will be on site painting a positive community message mural that overlooks community herb garden. Street musicians and local artists will perform music for the crowd.

KDHX Community Media/Green Strum Project
Green Strum Workshop at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival
Green Strum is a natural extension of KDHX’s mission to build community, engaging in outreach to promote music, creativity, and sustainability through the arts. Through demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and musical performances, Green Strum musicians teach children and adults to build and play instruments – ranging from ukuleles and fiddles to guitars, bass, and drum kits – using recycled and found materials.

LaSalle Park Community Garden
Materials for irrigation system
Establish a micro irrigation system throughout the raised planter beds of the community garden, using a central trunk water line to irrigate each planter bed. Micro irrigation sprayers will be installed in the planter beds just above the soil line, watering the root systems of the growing vegetables.

Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Materials for educational, hands on activities for watershed education
In collaboration with a local artist, this program will encourage families to learn about their local watershed and understand ways to contribute to the conservation of local waterways. The program will take place at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival and other area events.

Materials, supplies & program support
reMAKE is a once-a-month event in which Perennial partners with a local St. Louis establishment to host a happy-hour-style evening of upcycled crafting. Each month, Perennial’s staff develops three unique projects from salvaged materials to teach at reMAKE. Perennial provides all materials, supplies, and instructors at the event to guide participants through the projects. Each craft is simple, yet well designed to illustrate how easy and fun it can be to reuse materials and live more resourcefully and sustainably.

The Sarah Community
Recycling education and signage
Through the collaboration of five Catholic religious congregations of women, The Sarah Community provides quality services for the long term care and retirement needs of their members. In general, residents have little knowledge or experience with the concept of recycling. Although recycle bins and pick up services are available, the majority of the residents and staff are not fully utilizing the program. An informational survey showed that residents and staff are willing to engage in learning about care of creation through the proper disposal of waste, recycling, reusing and renewing products.

St. Anthony Food Pantry
Materials for seed starting
Rather than just give away food, this food pantry also teaches clients how to establish “container gardens,” an easy way to grow food for those who rent or do not have space to grow a garden. Plants are grown from seeds and each seed/ plant is repotted 4 times before it is big enough to give to a client. Besides giving the pantry clients plants, volunteers give them a printed list with growing instructions. Last year, 560 tomato plants, 64 cucumber plants and 94 basil plants were given away; 426 households took home plants and were thrilled when their plants produced.

St. John’s United Church of Christ
Compost bin and recycling containers
A compost bin will allow this group to close the loop even further and recycle food waste, teach others about caring for the earth, and allow them to use compost for their National certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat and the flowers each spring. It will be located conveniently outside the kitchen door. Office recycle bins will greatly help the efficiency of paper recycling.

St. Louis City Open Studio & Gallery (SCOSAG)
Bike rack installation
The project involves permanent installation of a bike rack at SCOSAG’s building. The rack will provide a secure location to park bikes for SCOSAG staff, families and visitors as well as the general public using the park.

St. Louis Teachers’ Recycle Center
VanGo program at St. Louis Earth Day Festival
VanGo and the Teachers’ Recycle Center provides educational, hands-on and experiential activities at the Earth Day Festival. This year’s theme is the “Great Green Re-Read Outside”. VanGO Traveling Reuse Center will be filled with gently used books; and throughout the day, visitors can select a book to keep and explore areas of the park where you can read outside. Participants are welcome to create a personalized “I read outside” badge using old First Night pins.

St. Vincent Greenway, Inc
Instructor & material costs for Youth Environmental Leadership Program
The Youth Environmental Leadership Program will engage approximately 20 participants between the ages of 14 and 18 who reside in the Pagedale, Normandy, and Wellston municipalities of St. Louis County. Programming will focus on conservation and improving water quality at Engelholm Creek, turning it into a community asset. Participants will assess current conditions of Engelholm Creek and take part in the annual River des Peres Trash Bash at an Engelholm Creek location, perform a walking neighborhood audit, coordinate a neighborhood clean-up and find a site for a RainScape project for River des Peres Watershed Coalition. Upon graduation of the program, youth will be eligible for partnerships with local mentors and internships for those interested in environmental careers, as well as the opportunity to apply for teen supervisor positions in future years of the Youth Environmental Leadership Program.

Sustainable Backyard Tour
Map & guide booklet printing
The Sustainable Backyard is a free, self-guided open-house-style, one day tour of private backyards throughout St. Louis that showcase a range of green living practices, including low-impact lawn care, composting and using recycled materials creatively, organic gardening, chicken and beekeeping, gardening with native plants, mushrooms, fruit & nut trees, as well as rainwater conservation, pesticide and herbicide reduction, renewable energy production and backyard habitat creation. Tour sites demonstrate ways residents can convert unproductive, high-maintenance lawn and pavement into something more useful and restorative—both to the earth itself and the human spirit–while recognizing the interconnectedness of humans and our natural habitat.

Tower Grove East Community Garden
Bin construction materials & educational signage
Build and maintain a three bin composting system for composting garden waste as well as member kitchen scraps, then host “how to compost” seminars for tower grove east residents. As space allows, non-garden members in the neighborhood will be invited to bring their scraps to the garden if they are unable to set up their own home composting systems.

Urban Harvest STL
Aeroponic “Tower Garden” unit
The FOOD ROOF project will be situated on a rooftop in the heart of city living in downtown St Louis. This rooftop farm will have high visibility not only from the well-traveled street below, but from neighboring office and residential buildings that surround the site and overlook it. Located a block north of Washington Avenue, adjacent to the downtown volleyball courts, and one block from the established community garden, the FOOD ROOF will be an extension to the community amenities and attractions already established in the downtown district. Tower Gardens, which have proven to be a water-saving and efficient means of growing food, will be one of several methods used to garden on the roof.

US Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter
Program materials & supplies
2nd Annual Do It Yourself (DIY) Sustainability Program – Six presenters will deliver presentations in a Pecha Kucha format, which includes 20 slides set on a timer for 20 seconds per slide. This is a fun and fast-paced approach for exploring a variety of creative DIY ideas for sustainable living.

Wildlife Rescue Center
Documentary screening and educational materials
Funding will support documentary screenings and promotion of Wild & Scenic Film Festival favorite, “BAG IT” in schools and throughout the community. Lessons in the curricular guide are geared toward students in grades 4-12 and correlate with the chapters within Bag It’s Educational DVD: Single-Use Disposables; Waste and Recycling; Oceans; Human Health; and Activism. The core focus is working together to reduce buying bottled water, using plastic grocery bags, disposable cups and single use plastic packaging.

Earth Day Action Grant recipients were recognized during a ceremony at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival April 21.

For more info about Earth Day Action Grants, call (314)616-7354 or visit www.stlouisearthday.org.