Green Wall Blogging

Green Wall Blogging

I’ve been a little quiet on here lately.  But I have kept myself busy.Green Wall

After about 2 years of being involved with the start-up living wall company, I am pursuing other opportunities in St. Louis (or KC, or beyond). Entry-level opportunities of interest include: environmental scientist or specialist, sustainability coordinator, program coordinator, product manager, environmental educator, renewable energy sales, consulting, landscape architecture, green roof or wall representative, native landscaping representative, marketing/outreach/social media, etc.

Anyway, with my career search ongoing, I’ve been sharing some thoughts on green walls as a blogger with NewProContainers.com.  Their new blog is focused on informing the interiorscaping and interior design industry.  Green walls are a becoming increasingly popular inside and out.

So, here are the entries I’ve generated so far.  Keep in mind the audience is geared towards interiorscapers.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.  Let me know if you have any questions about green walls.

Have a great week!

Up with Green Roofs! It is time, St. Louis.

I had the pleasure of attending a Green Roof Design and Installation workshop last week in Nashville, Tennessee.  This course is for those interested in the green roof industry and Green Roof Professional accreditation.  It was a real treat to have Steven Peck, Founder and President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, as our instructor.  We were also lucky enough to tour a 4-acre green roof at the Nashville Music City Center!

Nashville Music City Center Green Roof

Although I’m no architect, landscape architect, or engineer, I have a special interest in the living architecture industry.  In fact, I hope to get involved with green roof and living wall projects in the Midwest, and I can’t wait for cities like St. Louis and Kansas City to adopt living architecture incentive programs.  So many cities in North America already have green roof policiesNashville, Tennessee, offers a $10 per square foot incentive for green roofs, which is EXCELLENT considering green roofs can cost $11-50 per square foot!

Both KC and STL have environmental problems associated with urbanization, including major stormwater control problems, and Kansas City has one of the worst Urban Heat Islands  in the country! (About Urban Heat Islands.)  The impacts of climate change may amplify environmental problems already present in these cities.

A green roof policy would incentivize the implementation of green roofs, living walls, and other sustainable green infrastructure.  Why?  A few reasons:

  • Mitigate urban stormwater problemsNative Green Roof at Shaw Nature Reserve
  • Alleviate urban heat island effect
  • Reduce energy costs
  • Mitigate air, water, and soil pollution
  • Increase urban biodiversity (plants, insects, birds, etc.)
  • Beautify the urban jungle
  • Augment urban food production
  • Create green amenities for private consumers
  • Create park space for the general public

The St. Louis region already has green roofs at places like NGRREC in Alton, the St. Louis Zoo, Shaw Nature Reserve, SIUE, Webster University, Washington University in St Louis, Shaw Nature Reserve, just to name a few.

Now, I believe that many companies, organizations, non-profits, and regional government entities already support the concept of green roofs.  Here is a short list of folks I believe would/could/should support and benefit from a St. Louis Metro Green Roof Policy:

I’m sure there are more!!  Let’s go, St. Louis.  It’s time to make St. Louis a more sustainable, healthy, and verdant city!

Green Roof Tour

About me:  I am a LEED Green Associate, and have an M.S. of Environmental Sciences from SIU Edwardsville.  I’ve conducted research on green roofs and living retaining walls during my graduate work at SIUE.  I have also created artistic plant designs and assisted with installations for living wall projects (Pics in My LinkedIn).  I’m currently looking for career opportunities in the region.

Bring back Wildflowers, Bring back Monarchs!

Bring back Wildflowers, Bring back Monarchs!

Orange, Black, White. In flight.Monarch on a Thistle
Delicate beauty. Glorious sight.
Please don’t disappear!

Picky young eater.
So no Milkweed, no Monarchs!
Grow native, save lives.

Learn more:

Hitched to Nature, Hitched to the Universe

Hitched to Muir's Ideals

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

~John Muir

One of my favorite quotes…it not only inspires my continued appreciation for the natural world, but it also clarifies my thoughts on Sustainability.

*I took this photo at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO this Spring.

Green Career Fairs in the Midwest?

Are you a college student or a recent graduate?  Have you followed the educational path to a shiny new sustainability or environmental degree?  (If so, bless you and your commitment!)  But are you ready to look for work in this field?? Are you looking to network?  As a part of your search, I bet you’re planning to hit up some career fairs.  Should be helpful, right?  Unfortunately, for aspiring sustainability and environmental professionals, this may not be so easy.

Career fairs exist to give potential employees face time with employers.  They give us a opportunity to socialize, make important contacts, and perhaps even make acquaintances in similar fields. 

Career fairs are hosted all the time.  Unfortunately, many career fairs that I have attended (or planned to attend before viewing the exhibitor list) were filled with exhibitors that may not have been there to recruit sustainability and environmental professionals:  financial institutions, insurance companies, major corporations, retailers, grocers, etc.  (It’s certainly true that these companies NEED Environmental Specialists and Sustainability Coordinators, whether they know it yet or not.)

But for us ‘green’ folks out there, opportunities to connect in-person are few and far between: monthly meetings (Sierra Club, Green Drinks, USGBC, etc.), occasional seminars/conferences/fairs, and, of course, annual Earth Day events. (See ‘Getting Sustainably Involved in St. Louis.’)  Now I’m no social butterfly, but I could certainly use more frequent opportunities to mingle with my local tree-huggers.

Currently, however, it seems like many Earth Day and green events are geared toward education and outreach (excellent goals!), not recruiting and hiring.  They may not be expecting you to ask about a job.

But maybe they should.  I believe there is a need for Green Career Fairs in this part of the country (especially in St. Louis and Kansas City metros).  Until that torch is taken up, Green Career Fairs could easily be integrated into Earth Day celebrations!  Many relevant organizations are already in attendance.  Exhibitors could expect job-seekers as well as the general public, with just a little notice.  Event planners could attract job-seekers and job-providers to network table-by-table throughout the event.  Or perhaps a separate mini-networking social could be arranged, eh?  Green Events could give relevant organizations face time with the general public AND with potential employees.

We green folks need the face time to educate one another, lift each other up, connect with each other, and bring about that change we wish to see in the world.

Forest March in February

The truck rumbled and rattled and crackled along the gravel road back to the park office;  I was sitting in the bed, relaxing in the open air.  The cool air  and the speed of the truck felt brisk, though it was fortunately offset by the pleasant warmth and radiance of the sunny day.  The truck and its passengers were all given shadowy, temporary stripes as we drove through acres and acres of beautiful Missouri forest.  The forest seemed to march with pride alongside us.  The still-green pines and cedars were attempting to outshow the leafless deciduans.  Only a few brown and brittle leaves still bravely clung to their oak and hickory homes.  But the eye cannot miss the occasional grand oak, burly and rugged.  Those grand trees seemed to command their offspring and their companions: oaks, hickories, hackberries, honey locusts, persimmons, walnuts…  From our truck bed, all of the trees seemed to be marching.  The trees closest to the road marched swiftly, while the trees several yards from the road trudged at a moderate pace.  The tree ranks closer to the horizon seemed only to saunter across the countryside.  All, however, were marching under the sky flag of blue, white, and light.

This grand and relaxing procession ended one of my first service outings with the Sierra Club EMG at Hawn State Park.  I had joined friends and strangers to help remove some old fencing.  Like many parks in the area, most of the land at Hawn State Park has been purchased from or donated by private landowners.  For one reason or another, old cattle-fields were left to the advances of the forest and many forgotten fences were overtaken.  The wildlife that returns with the forest, however, has to deal with the hazards of barbed wire and the possibility of injury when crossing half-buried, brittle fence.  Thus, our group set out to tear down some of these old fences and open up the back country.

I must admit, I feared the cold would make me slow and useless.  However, I quickly warmed up through activity and sunny exposure. March.  We slowly followed the rusty, dilapidated fence line.  Snip.  We snipped a section of fence.  Pull.  We pulled the fence and flattened any messes.  Fold.  We folded the metal wire fence into neat stacks.  Flag.  Finally, we flagged the fence for finding later;  pulling all of the fence bales from the forest would be another day’s work.  Indeed, I found myself helpful during this outing.

This part of Missouri reminds me of the Black Hills in SD.

This part of Missouri reminds me of the Black Hills (This Photo taken near Sylvan Lake, SD).  Didn’t take any photos this time on the outing.

This is what I need.  This is what anyone stuck in the city, stuck in the office, stuck in suburbia, needs; some sun and some nature to offset the constant exposure to man-made constructs and rat races.  Go outside!! “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  ~John Muir

The Sound of Silence

**We had a nice evening snow a couple nights ago over the St. Louis metro area.**

I stand outside on my front lawn.  It is a dark, chilly night.  The snow falls quietly, blanketing the grass and creating white shadows atop the trees’ leafless branches.  Our dead end street is filled with tire tracks, mainly from lost folk who turn around at our driveway (three-pointers, we call them).   The rabbits and squirrels have yet to fill the yard with their own tracks.  This little space of the city is quiet;  however, I am occasionally reminded by the roar of buses and the squeal of sirens that city life is bustling still at this hour, less than a block away.

Above me, the wandering snow clouds are aglow with the light (pollution) of the city.  Every now and again, an airplane thunders overhead, overwhelming the sound of the nearby traffic and disturbing my snowy solace.

If you can appreciate the sound of silence, surely you can understand the need to silence the sound.  Dissonant noise and trespassing light are indeed forms of pollution.  And like other forms of pollution, there are remedies.  For noise pollution, remedies include source-noise reduction, increased vegetation, and even sound fencing.  I’m particularly partial to increasing vegetation wherever possible in the city…particularly when it involves living architecture and/ore native landscaping.  For light, several options can be employed, like simply re-aiming lights, putting up shields, adding motion-sensing & time controls, using lighting that may reduce insect attraction and bird disorientation.