Monday, May 9, 2011

Water Education Day at Alley Spring

The pavilion at Alley Spring quickly filled with 450 4th and 5th graders traveling from Birch Tree, Bunker, Eminence, Green Forest, Raymondville, Summersville, Willow Springs and Winona on Friday, April 29th, as the weather cooperated for the annual Water Education and Junior Ranger Field Day. This event was sponsored by the Jacks Fork Watershed Committee and the National Park Service.
15 booths were set up at Alley Spring Park for the students to visit on a variety of topics: Caving, Soils, Plants, Importance of Recycling, Effects of Pesticides, Recycling on the Farm, Springs and Karst, Safety in the Outdoors, Forest Fires, Snakes and the Ozark Hellbenders. Classes traveled to many booths, as well as participating in an hour long presentation on Eagles from the Dickerson Park Zoo. A Golden Eagle and a Bald Eagle were brought to show the students, which was the overall favorite for the day.
Many organizations and businesses helped sponsor this event. The National Park Service funded the Eagles and the Jacks Fork Watershed Committee was able to reimburse the schools $100 for each school bus used through their EPA funded 319 grant administered by the Department of Natural Resources through Top of the Ozarks Resource Conservation and Development. The Shannon County Commissioners provided a BBQ grilled meal for the volunteers along with NuWay Foods of Winona. Midwest Dairy donated ice cream sandwiches and string cheese for all of the students. 20 presenters from all different groups volunteered their time to help where fun and education were the name of the day! Visit our website!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's almost here!

Water Education/ Junior Ranger Day is this Friday! I'm picking up the snacks for the kiddos and the food for the volunteers Thursday! As of today the weather should cooperate with us, and be a great day to be outside- especially with us being stuck in doors for the past week! A new booth is replacing Trapping and I think it will be a great one! Kiddos will instead learn about how they can recycle on the farm! See everyone Friday at 9am!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Countdown has begun

Only 30 more days until the Water Education/Junior Ranger Field Day at Alley Spring! Topics of the day include: Bats and Caves, Water Quality, ATV Safety, Plants, Fire, Ozark Hellbenders, Snakes, and much, much more!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Great Year!

Greetings from the Lake of the Ozarks! Caroline Toole, here, working with LOWA (Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance) and AmeriCorps (MO Clean Water AmeriCorps Program, hosted by MO River Communities Network (MRCN)), in service to our community!
When I think back on my year with AmeriCorps, the two main topics that come to mind and around which all activities and events rotated, were watersheds and runoff. And all of them were all about clean water. From writing a watershed management plan to helping out with and then planning a Household Hazardous Waste Reclamation Day for Camden County, time and again LOWA was working hard to maintain and improve the water quality of the Lake of the Ozarks.
Summer brought no let up in activities and August culminated my year with AmeriCorps, partnering with LOWA, with the Attorney General’s Symposium: Protecting Water Quality at the Lake of the Ozarks: An Environmental Road Map for the Future, hosted by LOWA. This 2-day meeting introduced the Lake, and then examined the water quality and wastewater issues from the scientific perspective to the economic perspective and everywhere in between. A white paper is due in November and in general, people came away with the feeling that the Lake isn’t as bad as some of the press would have one believe and that if we start now, we can probably prepare for the future.
Leaving politics and partisanship out of the picture was very refreshing; and trying to bring a regionalization approach to the Lake District has long been one of LOWA’s goals. LOWA asked our local discount mega store for funding and I got to collect the check! And, August brought opportunities for LOWA to spread the good word about our clean, healthy lake and its watershed at several festival and fair events.
August also brought to LOWA our new MO Clean Water AmeriCorps member, Janet Dabbs, long time resident of the Lake area and fellow Lake enthusiast. Janet will be a valuable member of LOWA as we all work together to implement our 319 watershed protection grant and forge ahead with even more new ideas and projects. The Education/Outreach component of our grant is huge and the upcoming projects are exciting. In addition, I hope Janet and I will get LOWA’s Stream Team 3215 actively monitoring some of the many streams and creeks flowing directly into LOZ. This new AmeriCorps year will be fantastic! Welcome, Janet!
I’ve enjoyed my year with the MO Clean Water AmeriCorps Program and look forward to continuing my work with LOWA in a slightly different position. Who knows, I may even contribute a blog from time to time!
And please remember, what we do in our own backyards really does make a difference. My little back yard creek flows to Bollinger Creek which flows to the Lake of the Ozarks which flows to the Osage River which flows to the Missouri River which flows to the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico which has a large dead zone because of all the nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into it from all the watersheds along the way. Act locally, think globally. Together we can make a difference.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

MR340 volunteering

Hello. This month went by very quickly and fortunately the heat has abated. As the title hints, I am going to blog about my day of volunteering for the MR340 at the Glasgow checkpoint with Rebecca. With a little over 200 boaters we had our work cut out for us. We arrived at 9am and began almost immediately. Our duties were mainly to keep track of when the racers arrived at the checkpoint and when they left. This was necessary for a couple of reasons. Safety was the most important reason followed by time keeping. It was a warm day but there was a nice breeze on the river. Some racers made quick stops and others made long stops so we had to "arrange" the boats with some kind of logic. This became difficult when many boats arrived within minutes of each other. I think next year I will bring a video camera to record the interesting dances racers perform when exiting their boats and regaining their land legs. Nobody had an accident so the dance must be effective. Talking with the racers was very fun and enlightening. One solo racer said something to the effect that he was a mountain climber and he listed some recent exploits (Mt. Fiji being one), he then said that the MR340 was the most difficult thing he has ever done. Many racers questioned their sanity. By 5pm the last boats had check out and we were free to go. I met many interesting and entertaining people on the river that day and am looking forward to helping out next year if I am able. I have obtained an extention through September to complete my hours so I will meet the new AmeriCorps members at training and see the returning ones. Take care everyone. Lance Mallette.

An August Weekend

August was truly an eventful month for me, with educational presentations, tabling, rain barrel builds and of course getting my hands dirty in local rivers. On Saturday (August 28), I had the chance to host a rain barrel building demonstration in collaboration with Gateway Greening at their Bell Demonstration Garden. I was rather excited to work with Gateway Greening. As some of you might know rain barrels are useful in reducing combined sewer overflows, but they are also important tool for gardens as well, taking advantage of the rainfall for watering needs rather than using municipal tap water. Also, setting up a rain barrel system at community gardens, provides more of a visual medium for the rain barrels, for people in the community to see. I had the chance to build the rain barrel and respond to questions that the garden volunteers had. I decided to build a double barrel system, with one 55-gallon barrel with a 40-gallon connector barrel for reserve water. The best part of the demonstration is of course the provision of the rain barrel to the garden. The system (rain barrels and gutters) will be set up at a tool shed at the garden. The painting of the barrels and the setup will occur in the near future, will have pictures posted as soon as possible. The rain barrel demonstration was finished around noon, so I made my way out to George Winter Park in Fenton, Mo, for the Operation Clean Stream event. I must say hats off to all of the volunteers who participated. Because the amount of trash collected at George Winter Park was astonishing. Although I was slightly late to the party, there was still plenty to do. As the dumpsters were overflowing with trash, and piles of collected trash build up around the dumpsters. I lent a hand in clearing some of this away. Apparently most of the trash came from a peninsula across the bay on the Meramec River as it flows past George Winter Park. It was amazing the types of trash collected by the canoers and other paddlers; Trash like Styrofoam, old television, bikes, and other things. Though I did not get a chance to paddle the river and collect trash on Saturday, I got my chance on Sunday. I paddled the Huzzah Creek down near Steelville, Mo apart of the Operation Clean stream on the upper regions of the Meramec watershed. A six-mile paddle and litter pickup on the Huzzah, I found a tire about a ¼ way down the river as well as a metal fence post. There wasn’t an overwhelming amount of trash, but your typical floatable cans, bottles, and Styrofoam. Though I did not any large objects, another person whom I was floating with happened to find a very large tractor tire. Who knows maybe on my next paddle trip I will find a lot cooler stuff. I wanted to give all of you guys a friendly reminder, that September 25, 2010, is the date of the River des Peres Trash Bash; An event aimed at removing trash throughout the River des Peres Watershed. So if you are around on 25th of September, I highly encourage you to come and help us clean St. Louis’ urban river. Online registration can be completed at .

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

43rd Annual Operation Clean Stream

Hello all!

August has been the busiest month of the year, mainly due to the biggest project of the year for the Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region. The 43rd annual Operation Clean Stream took place on August 28th all along the Meramec River and its four tributaries. 2,000 volunteers came out to help us. We had more tires, metal, and trash than we had room for. Thanks to many organizations and companies for sponsoring this event, we had another great event!

Katie Park