Florissant- St. Louis Zoo Team-up for PAUSE
City Celebrates Planting Of PAUSE Urban Garden
By Carol Arnett
Students volunteers worked under cloudy skies last Wednesday to plant the first phase of the Florissant PAUSE garden. They took a break from moving mulch and planting long enough to celebrate the first planting with organizers and officials.
PAUSE stands for Pollinators/ Art/ Urban Agriculture/ Society/ and the Environment. It is a joint program between the St. Louis Zoo, the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi and Tohono Chul Park of Tucson, Arizina and funded by the US State Department through the American Alliance of Museums.
Ed Spevic, with the St. Louis Zoo, said “we are here to celebrate.” This is the first project that the American Alliance of Museums and the State Department have funded.
“This is both a conservation project and an educational project,” Spevic said, as well as promoting cooperation between the two U.S. museums and Kenya.
Heather Berry, with the American Alliance of Museums, said the program was “designed to foster ties between the U.S. and other countries.” She said she was excited to be there to see the impact of the grant money firsthand.
The student volunteers that were busy planting the garden are an integral part of the project. They have been working since last October and have committed to spending a year volunteering with the project.
Spevic said that the ten students were recruited from local colleges and universities. He said there were several applicants. After interviews, the ten were selected.
They represent several schools in the area and are committed to working 16 hours a month on the project. However, Spevic said, during the next few months they will work more hours to get the garden going.
Mayor Tom Schneider welcomed all who came. He said he wanted to extend a special welcome to the three Kenyan students who came from their country to work in the garden, and presented them with a plaque from the city. Some of the St. Louis students will visit Kenya in June.
The project began after community gardeners came to the city and asked for a plot for a community garden. The city let them use space near the Old Town Partners office. The community gardeners then applied for and received a grant from Gateway Greening. Their contact at Gateway Greening thought that the site would be a good fit for the PAUSE project and put them in contact with the zoo.
Spevic said the community gardeners were one reason the site was chosen. “The community already had an active and committed group of gardeners,” he said.
The project will eventually have a community garden, an orchard, a historical garden, a prairie garden, an education area, an art piece that will serve as a bee habitat, and signage that will explain the various areas of the garden and educate visitors.
Spevic said at a previous council meeting that this was a long-term, multi-ear project for the zoo. The garden will eventually spread to fill in the triangular three and a half acre site, from the Old Town Partners office to St. Denis St. and from the bike path to under the power lines on the site.
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