By Nina Mantegna & Alexandria Moore, OSC summer interns
Last week on June 20th, 21st, and 22nd, Open Space Council staff headed out of the office and into the field to work in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood as part of OSC’s Operation Wild Lands Program. With the amazing help of of the Outdoor Youth Corps, Missouri Botanical Garden’s Youth Employment Team, we were able to work on removing invasive species, such as bush honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle, and wintercreeper, from vacant lots in the area and help to create healthy green spaces in the St. Louis community. Large amounts of waste and invasives were removed from the area, including 20+ tires and huge piles of honeysuckle (only a fraction of which is pictured below). Removal of these invasives allows for these lots to be more easily maintained and allows for the native prairie grass that will be planted on the lots to have the opportunity to thrive. Once these species are removed, it encourages not only the native prairie grass to grow, but also other native species to thrive, creating a healthier and more biologically diverse space.
In addition to this invasive species and litter removal, members of the OSC and the OYC worked on weeding and watering in the Belt Loop Triangle. By performing general maintenance of the Triangle, we helped to make sure the plants that were installed during our Earth Day event in April, including the Rosebud Tree, Black Gum Tree, and Virginia Sweetspires, were healthy and growing fruitfully.
This work to help improve the community comes in partnership with with Green City Coalition’s long-term goal of converting nearly 9 acres of connected vacant lots to a new neighborhood green space for the community to enjoy. In partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Botanical Gardens, OSC was able to identify keys areas on these lots that required immediate attention due to invasive plant overgrowth and litter in the area. By removing the invasives and cleaning up in the neighborhood, OSC and the Youth Corps were able to create a healthier community and helped to improve open green spaces in the area that everyone can enjoy.