As we’ve rounded out another extraordinary year of highlighting the tremendous work that several local organizations and municipalities have put forth to help improve the environment and air quality in their communities, we’re pleased to recognize the green efforts of two final participants from the 2020 St. Louis Green Cities Challenge – Wentzville and Wildwood, MO.
With a strong commitment to the mission of the Green Cities Challenge, the City of Wentzville’s employee-led Green Team fosters sustainable practices citywide and encourages all employees to reduce their environmental footprints. Through quarterly meetings, projects such as pollinator plantings, holiday gift-bag exchanges, policy review and more, the city continues to be resourceful and environmentally responsible.
For starters, Wentzville’s Parks and Recreation staff swapped out the existing Holiday Night Light scene display for LED lights. Since starting this gradual change about three years ago, the city decreased overall power usage for the displays by an astounding 62%. An additional 12,000 bulbs will be changed out this year, converting nearly all the lightbulbs to LEDs. Since LED bulbs are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting and draw far less power, this reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions, which also positively benefits the region’s air quality! Additionally, the city’s Employee Committee purchased reusable utensils for quarterly staff luncheons to prevent an estimated 1,000 plastic utensils from going to landfills each year.
To further reduce environmental impact, the city’s Stormwater Advisory Committee and Green Team completed a pollinator planting at the Schroeder Creek Boulevard – William Dierberg Drive roundabout. More than 700 native flowers were planted to help the local ecosystem and increase biodiversity. Moreover, the Green Team collaboratively built a sustainability-focused employee resource website with an assortment of eco-friendly offerings, including a “Green at Home” section with activities like composting, rain scaping and educational activities for kids; a “Recycling in the Office” section featuring the what’s, how’s and why’s of recycling; “A Green Guide” with tips on where and how to start your sustainable journey; and a calendar of sustainability-focused days, regional events and opportunities.
With Wildwood being one of the largest municipalities in Missouri and St. Louis County – in both population and land mass – the city has shown that it’s possible to develop businesses and build homes while protecting the beauty and space of its land. Among their impressive green innovations to receive recognition in the 2020 Challenge was a community planting project that installed at least 20 native trees and hundreds of native plants at LaCave Trailhead. The City of Wildwood also removed over 100 ash trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive jewel beetle that feeds on ash species, and replaced over 80 trees with Missouri native species using a Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant. Last but not least, the city installed new and improved recycling bins with relevant labels in all City Hall meeting rooms to prevent contamination to recycling and promote proper waste disposal.
In the coming months, the Clean Air Partnership will continue to shine a spotlight on local clean air advocates and the latest St. Louis Green Business/Green Cities Challenge Class of 2021. For more information on how to get your company or municipality involved in this year’s Challenge, contact program manager Jean Ponzi at [email protected] or subscribe to the Challenge’s weekly E-newsletter here. And stay tuned for more information on registration for the 2022 Challenge, which officially opens on Feb. 21!
To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, be sure to check out our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.