The Open Space Council in partnership with ARCHS has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The grant will fund Operation Wild Lands (OWL), an effort to increase community involvement in the restoration and maintenance of 12 natural wild land sites throughout the region. In addition to the grant, OWL will be supported by an additional $35,000 in expertise and services being contributed by OWL’s partnering organizations.
OWL’s partnering organizations include:
· Missouri Department of Conservation
· Missouri Parks Association
· The Open Space Council
OWL will also partner with AmeriCorps, Meramec River Recreation Association, Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri Stream Teams, Operation Clean Streams and area municipalities where sites are located (Arnold, Ballwin, Bridgeton, Chesterfield, Ellisville, Ferguson, Des Peres, Fenton, Kirkwood, Manchester and Wildwood).
In coordination with Missouri Department of Conservation staffs and local municipality parks and recreation staffs, OWL will recruit community volunteers to participate in each site’s plan.
OWL plans to follow science-based strategic plans that have been created for the 12 sites. OWL will initially focus on removal of invasive plants and collection of baseline information on species of plants. Restoration of native plants, trail improvements and the addition of environmentally friendly structures (bird feeders, picnic shelters) will also be part of OWL’s long term goals for each site.
ARCHS will coordinate with local schools to conduct student field trips to the sites as part of its math, education, technology and science (METS) community partnerships. OWL plans to host a series of volunteer events for each site.
The Open Space Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving public and private open space lands in the St. Louis region. It identifies areas that can be acquired and set aside for public use, and attempts to discourage improper land use and detrimental development as well as preserve and restore plant and animal habitats, which encourages bio-diversity.