St. Louis Area Volunteers Help Make PGA Here First Rate Venue

Thirty volunteers from Greater St. Louis grabbed a shovel, wiped the sweat from their brows on a humid Missouri Sunday and gave something back that generations will value decades from now. Such was the teamwork to help restore native forests emanating from a partnership between The PGA of America, Lexmark International Inc., The Nature Conservancy Missouri, The Monsanto Company and St. Louis County Parks.

Together, the participants planted more than 200 native bottomland trees and shrubs to offset the impact of printing and paper products generated for the 74th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 21-26, at Bellerive Country Club.

Tournament play begins Thursday with first tee at 7:15 and continued through Sunday with the final parings in groups of two. For ticket info go to:  seniorpgas.com.

The environmental project is part of The PGA of America’s commitment to benefit the host communities that support its Championships. The PGA and Lexmark partnered for a similar event prior to the 2012 Ryder Cup near Chicago, by planting 50 large trees

“This project is especially important to us because the plantings are alongside a freshwater stream, which ultimately flows into the Meramec River,” said Betsy LePoidevin, associate director of philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy Missouri. “It’s benefiting the health of an entire community.”

The tree planting featured Gateway PGA Section President Joe Schwent of St. Charles representing the 324 members of the Section. Schwent was joined by his wife, Laura, in the volunteer corps. “I was honored to be part of this event; nothing but good things going on all day,” said Schwent.

The roots of the new trees in Queeny Park serve as a filtering system for ground water, and help prevent a clogging of the banks. “This tiny stream system will lead into the Meramec River and provide 250,000 individuals with drinking water in St. Louis County. It’s a small part, but you have to start somewhere. It will magnify positive effects for so many.”

Tom Ott of Spanish Lake, acting director of St. Louis County Parks, said the partnership helps enhance the ongoing campaign to benefit what he calls “one of our jewels of the country.” Edgar M. Queeny Park opened in 1974 and is named after the famed industrial-conservationist Edgar Monsanto Queeny.  It is a 570-acre site and one of 70 similar sites encompassing 12,700 acres that are managed by St. Louis County Parks.

“It is great to see this partnership develop and help those who want to make the most of this park and many more like this,” said Ott. “The trees and shrubs planted today will help us eradicate bush honeysuckle, which grows like wildfire and doesn’t give anything else below a chance to grow under a tree canopy.”

 



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