Finding nature in neighborhoods
One pivotal aspect of BiodiverseCitySTL’s success has been helping citizens see their backyards, neighborhoods and the St. Louis region in new ways. The program’s wide-reaching embrace provides a framework for viewing projects — from edible school gardens to backyard birding — as parts of a bigger whole that speaks directly to enhancing the region’s diversity of plant and animal life and the quality of human life.
Through “Nature in our Neighborhoods” activities, citizens are urged to “find somewhere to love” in their own backyards or places where they live, learn, work, play or pray. Extensive print and digital materials suggest project possibilities, offer guides and resources, and list nurseries, garden centers and landscape designers to help citizens “beautify, biodiversify and better” their communities.
Jennifer Schamber, general manager of BiodiverseCitySTL community partner Greenscape Gardens & Gifts, stresses that IGCs can help people make the nature connection. “Getting people to value it, whether through monarchs or migratory bird stories or turning it into a human health and wellness story, people make connections between what they do in their yard and how it affects the world around them,” Schamber says.