Home » Environment » Recent Articles:

New Tree! Please, no pets!

A new street tree was recently planted near the entrance to my building.

ABOVE: base of newly planted tree outside my building
ABOVE: base of newly planted tree outside my building

This replaced the new tree planted in 2008 that died in 2009.  Hopefully this tree will survive although with the level of the dirt well above the sidewalk level I’m not optimistic.

– Steve Patterson


I didn’t request a phone book

April 17, 2010 Environment 6 Comments

In the lobby of my condo building was a huge stack of bound & printed phone directories.

I thought these became upon request only?

– Steve Patterson


Some cities planting public fruit trees

Image: Waysidegardens.com (click to view)

A recent USA Today article caught my attention: More urbanites have their pick of fresh fruit:

Fruit-picking opportunities like that are becoming more common, as volunteers in cities including Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Madison, Wis., mobilize behind a goal of planting fruit trees on public land in city parks and neighborhoods.

Free fruit also is available for picking in season on public land in Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Minneapolis and New York, according to neighborhoodfruit.com, a site that helps people track down available fruit.

Interesting idea, the idea of growing public fruit is appealing.

– Steve Patterson


St. Louis’ first ban on smoke

On April 8th St. Louis took action to get rid of damaging smoke.  The year was 1940 and the smoke was from coal fired furnaces. The problem had been building for years.  Time magazine explains:

The burly head of Bernard Francis (“Barney”) Dickmann, the enterprising bachelor realtor who is St. Louis’ mayor until at least April 6 (municipal election day), last week literally was in a smoky fog, and had been there for many winter weeks. The murk over St. Louis has been so thick that the new Governor of Missouri, Lloyd Crow Stark, an enterprising nurseryman, could not see the city streets when he flew over during an inspection of the Ohio-Mississippi flood. He wished that Mayor Dickmann would sign a pending city ordinance to abate the smoke which makes St. Louis grimier than notorious Pittsburgh.   (Medicine: St. Louis Smoke Monday, Feb. 22, 1937)

Dickmann was reelected as Mayor but it would be another three years before he’d get a bill from the Board of Aldermen to sign into law.

During Mayor Dickmann’s administration, the city also enacted a Smoke Ordinance, and took steps to reduce the air pollution created by the extensive use of coal for home heating and industrial use in the city. (Wikipedia: Dickman)

A key figure in banning smoke was future mayor Tucker:

Tucker served in Mayor Bernard F. Dickmann’s administration from 1934 to 1937, during which time he served as City Smoke Commissioner. From 1939 to 1941, he was secretary to Mayor Dickmann’s Survey and Audit Committee which sponsored the Griffenhagen Report on St. Louis City Government. In part of 1940 and 1941, he was Director of Public Safety. (Wikipedia: Tucker)

Can you imagine smoke so bad you had to use lanterns to see during the day? It took years to ban the cause of the smoke because many fought the change.  Today, 70 years later, I’m so glad they got it done despite those who objected.

– Steve Patterson


Unexpected green on St. Patrick’s Day

On St. Patrick’s Day I had the opportunity to witness something remarkable in a most unlikely place:

St. Louis’ MSI houses over 750 inmates who stay roughly 80 days.  Built originally for men only, it also has a female section (apprx 10-15% of the total). So what was so remarkable?  Let’s go out back and see.

I couldn’t walk the distance from the front door to the back so they drove me through the gates and series of fences to our destination.

At left is Jerome Fields, the Correctional Program Manager for the City of St. Louis.  The three women in orange are inmates at MSI.  They were all working to take this pile of soil and get it into new garden plots, from the press release:

MSI received a neighborhood greening grant from Gateway Greening for the project.  The grant provides lumber and soil for five 4’ x 20’ x 10” raised beds, one wheelbarrow and one sprinkler.   The garden will be maintained by five to 10 female residents who volunteered for the project, some guards at the facility, along with assistance from Gateway Greening staff and volunteers from Lincoln University and UMSL. The food grown will be donated to two local food pantries:  St. Vincent DePaul and Church of God at Baden.

The facility attempted a garden last year but did so by trying to plant just in the existing ground.

Charles Bryson, Director of Public Safety helped out in the morning.

Cardboard was placed over the grass to kill the grass underneath. The facility tried gardening last year but it failed because they tried planting in the existing ground.

The base of one guard tower will serve as the tool shed for the gardening equipment.  Click here to see the Fox 2 story.

– Steve Patterson