2014 Earth Day Action Grants Announced

By Cassandra Hage
Executive Director, St. Louis Earth Day

Competition among proposals was tough this year! In addition to having many qualified and exciting proposals, St. Louis Earth Day experienced a dip in funding that decreased the amount of available grant funds. Many thanks to the William A. Kerr Foundation; with the Foundations assistance, St. Louis Earth Day provided $6,000 in grants to support five local projects! Read on to learn how you can ensure that all qualified proposals are funded in 2015!

Bike Rest at CommuniTree Gardens
Nursery (Creve Coeur Park) – Forest reLEAF
This project leverages partnerships and matching funding to enhance an underutilized information kiosk, transforming the space into a bike rest area, complete with a bike rack commissioned by St. Louis ArtWorks, an organization that employs inner city youth to create artistic, one-of-a-kind bike racks from used bicycle parts. Area improvements include a picnic table and shade trees. The kiosk will educate visitors about trees, rain gardens and the environment.

Container Garden Educational Program –
St. Anthony Food Pantry
St. Anthony Food Pantry breaks the mold by teaching clients how to maintain container gardens, since many do not have the space for an in-ground garden. The staff plant vegetable plants from seeds and nurtures them to mature plants. Once the plants are mature, potted plants are given to food pantry clients (along with care instructions and fertilizer) so that they can enjoy fresh, home-grown produce throughout the season.

Parking Lot Native Landscaping –
Francis Howell Middle School
Students in the Character Connection Class will plant native ground cover along three sets of staircases that connect two parking lots where soil erosion is occurring. Students and the district grounds crew will monitor and maintain the plantings until they become established. This project will educate students and faculty about native plants, stabilize the eroding soil around the stairs and demonstrate the beauty and practicality of native planting in various applications.

Sustainable Backyard Tour
This tour coordinates dozens of backyard and garden sites that will be open to the public for a free, self-guided tour demonstrating the many ways St. Louis-area residents can utilize their yards in a more eco-friendly, sustainable way to provide food for their families, wildlife habitat, relaxation and visual appeal, all while minimizing impacts on the environment and the communities in which they live. Tour sites 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. (June 22, 2014, 11 to 4 p.m.)

Vegetable Starts Here – Gateway Greening
Vegetable Starts Here will provide community and youth gardeners with affordable access to seasonal vegetable plants, including onion slips, potato seed, sweet potato slips, garlic bulbs, and fall plant starts, for use in their own gardens. Gardeners will be empowered by raising their own food and will be educated on proper growing techniques through customized growing guide handouts and seasonally held planting and harvesting workshops.

Help us reach our goal of $12,000 for 2015 Earth Day Action Grants. Money raised during Earth Day Eve and the Earth Day Festival will determine available funds for the next grant cycle. Make Earth Day every day by enabling grassroots projects to spring to life!

To donate you can call 314-282-7533 or email info@stlouisearthday.org or donate online: http://www.stlouisearthday.org/support/donate/.
And save the date for next year’s Earth Day Eve 2015, Saturday, April 25.