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The Community Stewardship Alliance

Through a collaborative partnership led by the Open Space Council, the Community Stewardship Alliance (CSA) is an exciting new conservation program intended to provide focused, trained, volunteer leadership to restore and maintain the natural areas within our St. Louis County Parks.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Restore, protect and actively manage vulnerable natural areas to maintain and enhance the St. Louis region’s biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by our public lands;
  • Foster regional partnerships between public land managers, community members, and local organizations to align restoration efforts across priority natural areas;
  • Adapt successful local and national stewardship models to develop a coordinated program for the St. Louis region to achieve standardization of restoration techniques, management plans, reporting, monitoring, and communication;
  • Empower community members to become leaders invested in their local parks.

Foundational to the Community Stewardship Alliance are our Site Ambassadors. Site Ambassadors are dedicated and trained volunteers who serve as the backbone of the Community Stewardship Alliance. They build a community of stewardship around the county parks’ natural areas to safeguard their future. Site Ambassadors commit to stewarding a specific park in collaboration with the CSA partners. Site Ambassadors oversee the management of a natural area, working with the CSA partners and parks staff to meet the goals listed in their restoration management plans. Site Ambassadors recruit local volunteers and schedule workdays to help achieve those goals and are provided ongoing support through CSA partners and the ability to network with other CSA Site Ambassadors.

We are looking for committed individuals to step up and support our Site Ambassadors to create a cohort of dedicated Volunteers that will coordinate with the Ambassadors to support restoration activities in targeted parks. This is your opportunity to become a champion for park restoration and a vital member of our community volunteer team.
Community Benefits:
  • CSA projects at St. Vincent Projects benefit:
    • Community members and volunteers by helping to create lasting relationships that empower local friends and neighbors while bringing people together who value this community treasure and want to see it sustain and thrive.
    • Park & Trail users by improving the urban landscapes and beautifying the park for everyone who enjoys these outdoor spaces for recreation.
The CSA pilot program currently includes the following three county parks:
  • Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park
  • St. Vincent County Park is a 134-acre park in North St. Louis County with upland woodland, marsh wetland, a perennial stream, and successional woodland. Historically, the park is located in what was the prairie belt of St. Louis County, but none of the historical landscape remains due to the various uses the land has seen since the 1800s. Through our collaborative CSA partnership, Ambassadors support conservation efforts to restore woodland within the park, reestablish native prairie habitat over the coming years, and control invasive species within St. Vincent Park through volunteer efforts. Want to know more? Join the St. Vincent Park Ambassadors for monthly garden maintenance and networking on the first Tuesday of the month from 9 am to noon. Click here for more details.
  • Lower Meramec Park

Our CSA Pilot Program launched in 2021 and the first year has already begun to make an impact. Here are some of the highlights:

A complete 2021 report is available here.

To find out more about becoming a Volunteer for one of these parks and an essential supporter of our dedicated Site Ambassadors email volunteer@openspacestl.org. Watch our January 8, 2021, virtual Site Ambassador Orientation session here.

To attend a CSA volunteer workday, please visit our Volunteer page for current listings. To learn more about how you can become a part of a CSA team, contact andrew@openspacestl.org.

The Community Stewardship Alliance partners are Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, Great Rivers Greenway District, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Master Naturalists Great Rivers Chapter, the Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region, St. Louis Audubon Society, St. Louis County Parks, and St. Louis County Parks Foundation.