Open Space Council STL

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Paddle for a Cause!

Join us for a fun-filled summertime float trip on the beautiful Courtois, Huzzah, and Meramec Rivers!  All money raised from this event will go to support Operation Clean Stream, an annual river cleanup and restoration event in the Meramec Watershed.

When: Sunday, June 1st, 2014 at 1:30p.m.

The Open Space Council office has moved and we are excited to announce our new home in Tower Grove South. photo

On Saturday, March 29th, we packed our Kirkwood office and moved to our new office in Tower Grove South, near many of our environmental and conservation partners including St. Louis Earth Day and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. 

Open Space Council helps complete work begun by grassroots group

Blog posting written by Lee W. Falk


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(Kirkwood, Mo)  February 26, 2014:  The life of Edgar W. Denison (1904 - 1993), late resident of Kirkwood, Mo, amateur naturalist, botanist, artist and early leader in promotion of environmental sustainability, will be celebrated in Kirkwood this spring with events promoting education and appreciation of Missouri's natural assets.  All events are free and open to the public:  
Edgar Denison:  A Modern Johnny Appleseed.  A panel discussion on the life and contributions of Edgar Denison.  Moderated by Scott Woodbury, Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve.  Panelists include Peter Raven, George Yatskievych, Tom Ott, Lesley Schoedinger and Bill Ruppert.  First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, East Adams and South Kirkwood Road, Monday, April 14th, 7:00 pm. 
An exhibit of Edgar Denison's original botanical artwork at Missouri Department of Conservation's Powder Valley Nature Center, 11715 Cragwold, Kirkwood, opening April 5th and running through the month of April, including:
April 5th:  Gallery Opening, 6 - 8 pm
April 12th:  Nature Drawing class, 10 am - noon
April 22nd:  Gallery Talk, 6 - 6:45 pm, 7 - 7:45 pm
Edgar Denison Nature Education Series at Kirkwood Library, 140 East Jefferson.  All presentations begin at 7 pm:
                   March 31st:  Missouri Natural Communities and Natural Areas, by Mike Leahy, Natural Areas Coordinator for Missouri                                       Department of Conservation
                   April 9th:  Naturescaping:  Landscaping for Life, by Mitch Leachman, Executive Director, St. Louis Audubon Society, and               co-founder/director of Bring Conservation Home
                   April 15th:  Natives, Beyond Beauty, Plants that REALLY Work, by Bill Ruppert, Kirkwood resident and representative   of Missouri Prairie Foundation's Grow Native! Committee
                   April 21st:  Show Me the Monarch:  Adventures in Butterfly Gardening, by Jennifer Loyet-Schamber and Tammy   Behm, Greenscape Gardens
                   April 29th:  The Best Missouri Trees for Native Landscaping, by Mark Gruber, Urban Forester, Missouri Department of   Conservation
Also at Kirkwood Library, an exhibit of nature watercolors by Kirkwood artist, Elizabeth Holm Cole.  On display April - May.  Artist's reception, Wednesday, April 9th, 6 - 7 pm. 
Edgar Denison Spring Wildflower Walk:  led by George Yatskievych, PhD, Missouri Botanical Gardens Native Plants Botanist and Curator of Steyermark's Flora of Missouri, Emmenegger Nature Park, Kirkwood, Saturday, April 19th, 1:30 pm.
Edgar Denison Day:  Saturday, April 19th, 10 am - 3 pm, Kirkwood Farmers' Market, in conjunction with Kirkwood Living Green's Earth Day celebration, including exhibitors and native plant sellers, kids' activities, and at 10 am, dedication of an Edgar Denison Memorial Garden, designed by Kirkwood resident June Hutson, Supervisor of the Kemper Home Demonstration Gardens at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
Emmenegger Nature Park BioBlitz:  Friday/Saturday, May 16th-17th, 24 hours of nature hikes and educational inventory of on-site flora and fauna, sponsored by Webster Groves Nature Study Society and St. Louis Academy of Science.
Events will also include Kirkwood Parks and Recreation annual spring nature hikes (TBA), and an exhibit of nature art by Kirkwood High School students, sponsored by Kirkwood Area Arts Commission, at Kirkwood Train Station gallery, through April.
Kirkwood - Des Peres Chamber of Commerce
Kirkwood Living Green
Webster Groves Nature Study Society
Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
PNC Bank
For more information on events, visit
Media contacts: 
Gwyn Wahlmann (Friends of Edgar Denison):
Walter Smith (Kirkwood Living Green): 
Bill Ruppert (Grow Native!):
Edgar Denison (1904 - 1993)
An extraordinary man with a wide range of interests, Edgar Denison was an amateur naturalist, botanist, pianist, artist, photographer, woodworker, geologist, paleontologist, teacher, a pioneering recycler and enthusiastic promoter of native plants gardening.
His garden in Kirkwood was a showplace where visitors were welcome. He grew more than a 1000 species of plants, often potting extras to set on the curb for passers-by. Largely self-taught, dynamic, creative, with a delightful sense of humor, Denison was inspiring, influential and beloved by those who attended his nature hikes, lectures and classes.  A founding member of Missouri Native Plant Society and a member of Webster Groves Nature Study Society, he was accomplished enough to teach a botany class at Washington University without a formal degree himself. 
Edgar Denison is probably best known for Missouri Wildflowers, the first full-color field guide of the wildflowers of Missouri, the materials for which he researched, wrote, photographed and donated to Missouri Department of Conservation in the early 1970's.  The field guide is now in its 6th edition. Denison's rock and fossil collection formed the basis for a museum at Missouri Mines State Park, and he developed a museum for Union Electric at Taum Sauk. He donated displays of rocks, minerals, trees, birds and other wildlife, and more than 1,800 slides of Missouri wildflowers to Missouri Botanical Garden, as well as 34 of his own watercolors of wildflowers to Shaw Nature Reserve. In 1994, he was inducted into the Missouri Department of Conservation Hall of Fame.
Denison led a long and productive life. Born in in Stuttgart, Germany, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 22, soon settling in Kirkwood, Missouri with his wife, Ruth, a noted artist and silversmith. He worked as a cost engineer for Union Electric for 37 years, retiring in 1969. Denison died August 14, 1993 at the age of 88. At a memorial for Edgar Denison at Shaw Nature Reserve, Missouri Botanical Garden president, Dr. Peter Raven, said in conclusion......
“In the glades and prairies and woods of Missouri, Edgar Denison will always be alive with us, teaching, urging, and challenging us to continue to do everything possible to enjoy, to cherish, and to preserve the wild things that make this such a wonderful place to live.”

Kat_Dec_13Katherine Dockery has been named the Open Space Council's new Executive Director.  Kat previously served as Director of Development and Programs. 


Operation Wild Lands Heads to Kirkwood's Emmenegger Park!

It was a chilly start to the morning, but all 20 students and two chaperones from Compton Middle school arrived at Emmenegger Park in good spirits and ready to work.  Open Space Council staff, Katherine Dockery and Megan Stortz, arrived early to evaluate the trails with volunteers from the Kirkwood Park Association, Gwyn Wahlmann and Alan Hopefl. 

Check out these fabulous pictures of our wonderful Operation Clean Stream volunteers! 

Check out our Flicker account to see more!

August 24th & 25th marked the 46th annual Operation Clean Stream, a project of the Open Space Council.  This year was one of our most successful years to date with over two-thousand volunteers collecting approximately 400 cubic yards of trash, around 1,000 tires and a variety of other items.  Volunteers came from a variety of ages and backgrounds and represented corporate green teams, religious groups, boy and girl scouts, canoe and kayak organizations, and many more.

At the OCS home site of Greentree Park in Kirkwood, the morning began with breakfast with the Valley Park Lions Club and the arrival of the 220th Engineers Commander with the Missouri National Guard's Festus-based 220th Engineer Company.  The Open Space Council staff, volunteers and interns spent the early hours setting up tables and tents, coordinating the registration area and instructing our wonderful Washington University volunteers in setting up.  Registration at Greentree Park began around 9:00a.m. as staff and volunteers signed in approximately 500 volunteers to clean up litter in the park and surrounding areas, both on foot and on the water.  

All New Special Activities for Youth and Families!

The Passport to Clean Water Program initiative seeks to educate the public, especially youth, about regional water resources using the Meramec Watershed as a model of community cooperation.  The program will allow youth to walk a quarter mile trail along the Meramec River with their families learning about various water topics. The stations will be set up at Greentree Park in Kirkwood, Missouri on August 24th, beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending around 1:30 p.m. Approximately 10 interpreters will facilitate educational, interactive activities, discussions, and explorations that explain different aspects of water with youth and their families. Demonstrations will include water filtration, mussel presentation, how trash impacts native species, and wildlife displays.

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P.O. Box 220011, St. Louis, MO 63122  |  314.835.9225
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