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.

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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:

Seek Nature, Receive More

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  ~John Muir

Walk With Nature

Step away from the city-scape, seek the amazing craftsmanship of God.  The natural sights far surpass the city blight. 

Took this photo last autumn at an outlook in Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois.

Muir Never Saw a Discontented Tree

“I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”  ~John Muir

Tree Philosophy

Took this photo last fall at Pere Marquette State Park, near Grafton, IL.  What a wonderful evening trek it was.

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.

Bluebell Blooms Bring Back Spring

When I see Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), I know that, despite the calendar date, Spring has truly arrived!

DSC_5446a

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Delicate new blooms

Ephemeral spring beauty

Look down. Don’t miss it!

Fire: Prescription for Life

Hawn State Park

Hawn State Park

Fires, floods, fallen trees,

All appears lost, all looks dead,

Yet life rekindles!

 

I took a 4-mile hike yesterday with some friends along Pickle Creek in Hawn State Park, near Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  Spring is finally springing, though I’ve yet to see many spring ephemerals popping up yet.  Can’t wait for the bluebells (see previous post)!!

Along part of the hiking path, we saw the charred ground and trees of a recent fire.  A prescribed fire, in this neck of the woods, is not destructive; occasional fires and floods are ecologically healthy for these ecosystems.  Fire helps keep the highlands from accumulating too much detritus and understory flora (and adding fuel for more-difficult-to-control wildfires).  Occasional prescribed burns affect insect populations, provide additional habitat, accommodate the perpetuation of more native plants and trees, and help curb the spread of weedy or invasive plants.

Of course, always be prepared and safe when conducting prescribed burns!!