Friday, July 18, 2014

SCC Community Garden Update!

Anyone else hungry all of the sudden?

 Mary Kathleen Curry

 Joseph Galloy

 Jean Deimund

 Child Development Center
 SCC Housekeeping and Adult Life Program

Great job so far gardeners! See you outside!

Monday, July 7, 2014

S.C.C. Friends and Family...

I once did a monthly post about a favorite tree species on campus, or a plant on campus I thought should be utilized in the landscape more. Problem is I am running out of trees to talk about!

As I work outdoors I do not get to spend much time getting to know my family here at S.C.C. This is unfortunate, so I am making it a point to talk to someone new as often as possible, and get to know everyone, including those interesting people we never get to see. I figured why not post these encounters in my blog for us all to see. I will be stopping by random buildings to meet new people or interview interesting people such as yourselves!

Meet, Brian Alich S.C.C. Art Studio Technician!

Me: How long have you been with S.C.C? 
Brian: " Two and a half years..."

Me: What types pf projects have you been involved in?
Brian: "The art flower pots at Visual Arts Bulding and Fine Arts Building. Also working on a near-finished Kamra-e-faoree camera..."

Skillfully Crafted Kamra-e-faoree camera by Brian Alich...

Me: Where are you from?
Brian:  "Indianapolis, Indiana."

Me: What is your favorite thing to do? 
Brian: "Art."

Me: What is the last song you listened to? 
Brian: "I was listening to Tame Impala in my car."

Me: What is your favorite thing about S.C.C?
Brian: "Working with a team of like-minded individuals."

Me: Tell me something about yourself that would surpise us here at S.C.C; 
Brian: "I have all my internal organs!"

Brian Alich works in VAB and is vital to the success of the art program and is a very talented artist. Stay rooted and next month I will be meeting someone from our amazing housekeeping department! Until then I will see you outside.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ash Tree News...

I received this bad news from a local Urban Forester this week;

"Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Emerald ash borer found in St. Charles County

COLUMBIA, Mo.– The emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found in St. Charles County, marking the destructive insect’s first known infestation in the St. Louis area.

EAB was first found in Missouri in the summer of 2008 south of Greenville at a campground on Lake Wappapello, says Hank Stelzer, University of Missouri Extension state forestry specialist. Since then, EAB has been found in 11 Missouri counties, most notably in the Kansas City area.

Left unchecked, EAB is fatal for all three of the state’s native ash trees—blue, green and white ash. Pumpkin ash, a popular ornamental tree, is also susceptible. While mountain ash and prickly ash have “ash” in their name, they are not true ash trees and are not at risk.

“Over the years, ash trees were a species of choice to replace the American elms that were lost to the Dutch elm disease,” says Stelzer. “Plus, they hold up well in urban environments.” Until now.

The infestation in St. Charles County was discovered by an employee at an industrial park on Highway N, a few miles south of Interstate 64. He noticed a declining ash tree in the parking lot. He looked closer and found the distinctive D-shaped exit holes. He then called the urban forester from the Missouri Department of Conservation. The forester, along with entomologists from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, collected a good adult specimen. USDA personnel in Brighton, Michigan, confirmed it was EAB.

The crown of a tree with EAB will be mostly dead within two years of showing symptoms. This could be a problem if the tree is providing summer shade for a home or playground.

What are homeowners and communities to do?

“The first thing a homeowner can do right now is take an inventory. Communities too,” says Stelzer. “Do they have ash trees? If so, how many? And what is their general condition?”

Stelzer says another important question to ask is, “Am I willing to invest the time and money to protect my ash tree?”

Available treatments only protect the tree from attack. Once you stop treating a tree, it will once again be vulnerable. “If that tree is providing shade to your home, then I think the cost of losing that shade in terms of an increased energy bill justifies the expense of protecting the tree,” says Stelzer.

For communities, weighing the costs versus the benefits might seem more abstract, he says. However, the USDA Forest Service has developed a software tool called i-Tree that helps communities of all sizes strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy by quantifying the environmental services that trees provide.

The Kansas City urban forester did just that and was able to get the city government to reallocate $1 million dollars to protect their ash trees,” Stelzer said.

Once you have determined you have an ash tree worth saving, the next thing to do is to take action if you are within 15 miles of a known infestation, he said. There are two options for protecting an ash tree with insecticides: “A homeowner can apply an over-the-counter product each spring, or a professional arborist can apply a registered insecticide providing protection for up to two years.”

If you have decided that a particular ash tree is not worth the long-term investment of protection, then consider replacement. Stelzer has two pieces of advice when it comes to replanting.

First, make sure it is the right tree for the right place. “The replacement tree should be a native species that is adapted to growing in the St. Louis area, and it should be planted in a place where, as it grows, it will not interfere with utility lines or building foundations.”

Second, if you are replacing more than one ash tree, vary your tree selections. “Just like diversifying your stock portfolio, planting a variety of species will help minimize future losses when the next invasive insect or disease shows up,” Stelzer said.

For more information about EAB, go to “This is an ever-changing situation,” Stelzer said. “The best way to stay informed is to check out our website on a regular basis.”"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eight State Escape...

Good morning everyone! Earlier in the year I set a goal to hike in every state touching Missouri. I recently hiked in Oklahoma and came upon a beautiful and striking plant that grows there. The Buffalo Gourd.Cucurbita foetidissima.

Buffallo Gourd, Cucurbita foetidissima Source: SMMTC

This gourd is very striking with bright green leaves and a tough vine appearance. It must be tough to survive some very dry and arid conditions! One of the most interesting things I found out was its history and uses. It can be utilized to create Biofuel and utilized by Native Americans as a source of oil used as a soap.

"Red Dirt"

Tent Shot on the grasslands...

The beautiful area I hiked and camped was Black Kettle National Grassland. Full of beautiful plants, windmills, and Oklahoma's famous "red dirt." One state down and seven to go! See you outside!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy, Trails...

You may have heard about the new Greenway Trail opening on campus! Being an avid outdoors-person I couldn't be happier when I see a community invest in projects similar to this.

I made a promise when the trail was complete to grab my bike and hit a few trails! My plan is to start on campus, head over to the Vantage Park Trail, then a transfer to the Hamburg Trail, and finally the Katy Trail where I will stop at the beautiful Klondike Park and set up camp. The next day I will return and end the adventure on our beautiful campus!

To see my full route I have a map here. I plan to take some photos along the way and post here the results from my adventure. My target date is this Friday May 16th, but the weather is looking a bit, peculiar... In the meantime, I will see you outside!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Grounds Art...

We have amazing resources here in our academic community that we take for granted, and probably should utilize more. It is absolutely essential we work together on all things! Recently while brainstorming with some amazing faculty about how to incorporate a little art and student involvement with our department, this little experiment came to be!

Beautiful Painting by Professor Sanker, Flowers by Jay Jackson, and photo by Professor Sanker!
Beautiful things can come from open minds and amazing people!

Thank you to the art department for saving us a little work, and painting two of our flower pots for the Visual Arts and Fine Arts building! This adds much needed character to our campus, and hopefully next year we can inspire some more faculty and students to get involved! Thank you to the SCC Art Department for being the best art department this side of the Atlantic! See more of their amazing endeavors here! Hopefully, more art is to come, and more relationships and resources working together! We really are one! See you outside!

Beautiful Painting by Professor Sanker, Flowers by Brandon Tiek, and photo by Professor Sanker!
Beautiful things can come from open minds and amazing people!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Eight State Escape...

There are eight states that are touching us, and I intend to touch them back. My goal is to hike in each state that borders Missouri before the end of the year. I wanted to start in my home state so I visited Prairie State Park in South-west Missouri, and was overwhelmed by beauty and magic.

Maddie enjoying a beautiful day on the prairie...

The drive down Old Highway 66 is full of history, folk art, culture, and amazing people. The drive already had cured my wanderlust, so visiting this beautiful restored prairie was overload for the senses. Spending a couple of days and nights with the calling coyotes and intimidating Bison was an experience I will never forget.

Bison bison roam free on the prairie and their size demands respect and distance...

So eight states here I come! Stay tuned and I will see you outside!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SCC Mo-hawks...

Technically we are the Cougars, but hopefully we will welcome a couple of mo-hawks around campus for a day...

If you talk a walk through the main hallway of the Social Science building, you will see a wall with hanging portrait photographs. These are portraits of faculty that have recieved the "Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching"  Among these you will find Darren Osburn. Darren Osburn has been a SCC Associate Professor since 2006 and is one of the most passionate and amazing resources we have on campus. His list of awards and declarations are so long I would need to devote an entire blog post to them... As if that wasn't enough, he is also a great human being. So what can we do to thank him... embarrass him!!!!

Darren Osburn, Say goodbye to that hair!

Darren Osburn has started a St. Baldrick's Fundraiser Team. The St. Baldrick's Foundations is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.

Darren has promised to shave his head if he reaches $500, but sweetened the deal by offering to sport a mo-hawk if he reached $1000 by April 26th! " I have an important meeting on the 28th, so this is really your chance to embarrass me while fighting cancer..." - Darren Osburn

So I decided to join Darren's Team, and if he does raise $1,000 or more, and I can't believe I am going to type this, I too will sport a mo-hawk on April 28th...

See you outside!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Outside Inspiration...

Be sure to follow this blog as two Former Mizzou students and St. Louis locals take a 2,600 mile journey, from Mexico to Canada...

Friday, March 21, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Parade... Green?

St. Patrick's Day is by far one of my favorite holidays. It is one of the few holidays I personally believe you can make it whatever you want to be, and be whatever you want to be... I consider it as a time to celebrate my friends, family, just to share some simple smiles and laughs together.

Much to our surprise Monday morning when we returned we found a huge mess leftover from the St. Patrick's Day Parade. In fact, it was the largest amount of trash I have ever seen on the ground. We removed multiple bags of cans, bottles, candy wrappers, and confetti streamers.

I must have missed a really good time...

It was very clear that we were overwhelmed. We even attempted at using our leaf vacuum to remove the stuff that to do by hand, would have taken days...

The very next day I received an E-mail from my boss that fellow blogger, and S.C.C. President Ron Chesbrough, is coming out to give us a hand, and many other faculty and staff had also volunteered to help. And help they did, they removed a huge pile of bags of trash and allowed me an audience to tell bad jokes to.
Volunteers making campus a little greener...

The teamwork and sense of community here at S.C.C. is really something special and never ceases to amaze me. Thank you to Al Koehler, my manager, who is always open minded and a problem solver, to Ron Chesbrough for never fearing loosening your tie to play in the dirt with us, and everyone that helped to make us a little Greener after St. Patrick's Day! See you outside...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SCC Winter is Coming...

This winter has us all wondering if it will ever end... We have been so busy with snow and ice removal while trying to maintain our normal responsibilities at the same time, I have let this Blog idle too long...

So I am here to discuss the SCC Community Garden Project is a go! We have received grants from SCC Foundation and assistance from the SCC Green Team and Green Club... There are seven current plots available to Faculty, Staff, and Students. Please e-mail me at if you are interesting in applying for a plot for the 2014 growing season!

Until then, I'll see you outside!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mountain Fresh, Driving Us Gnats Revisited...

This time last year I wrote a blog, which can be found here, on how to prevent and treat Fungus Gnats. Fungus gnats are a very common issue with indoor plants. Typically it is caused from over-watering.

I had a discussion the other week with a industry colleague and they said they had read a peer reviewed
research paper on controller Fungus gnats, and other indoor insects, with a dryer sheet. I laughed, thinking it was just some friendly ribbing we have been known to partake in. I received an e-mail from them a few days later with this link... A study authored by Raymond A. Cloyd, Kansas State University Department of Entomology...

Photo of experiment courtesy of  American Society of Horticulture Science...

I tried it on a plant on campus that was infested with fungus gnats. I placed a couple of 1" by 1" square on top of the soil. I inspected it the next day and still had gnats. I instructed the plant owner to start watering the plant through the dryer sheet pieces thinking it may cause the linalool, the product in dryer sheets that has the effect, to seep into the soil. Within 48 hours the fungus gnats had disappeared. It has yet to show if any damage to the plant has resulted from the product, but so far I am impressed with the results and the research.

One of my favorite things about my industry is the little things I learn on a daily basis. Consider trying this if you ever encounter fungus gnats in your plant husbandry careers! Thanks for reading, and I will see you outside!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Light Recycling...

I am sure everyone is getting prepared to decorate for the holidays! I just wanted to get the word out for the second year in a row we will be a drop off site for the St. Louis Green! The dropoff location will be at the Campus Services building, feel free to e-mail me or call me for more information!

If you would like to learn a little more about the procedure you can watch this video here courtesy of KPLR... See you outside!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Green Shoes...

I will not eat them with a who, I will not eat them without a view! I am no Dr. Seuss, thus why I write this tiny little blog on my spare time... But I do like to be green whenever possible!

See the Presentation November 12th @ 11:30 AM, S.S.B. Auditorium.

Yesterday I saw a flyer for shoe donations for "The Shoe-man Project." I have been wanting to get around to disposing of my yard work shoes, but just felt terrible throwing them out when I know so many people around the world go shoe-less.  Shoes not only comfort our feet, protecting us from the pains of terrain, but they also protect us from disease and parasites, in a way; shoes save lives. This organization has taken that life saving a step further...

Many miles hiked in these shoes, goodbye old shoes and safe travels!

By reselling these shoes at a discounted price so it can reach someone who may not be able to afford shoes themselves, the money raised is then utilized to provide clean drinking water to places that may usually not have access to such an invaluable resource. This is another thing I have myself taken for granted, as water is the essential ingredient for life as we know it, and many people still drink from contaminated waters to survive. See this link to learn more about the Shoeman Project

Shoe Collection Bins will be placed November 7th until November 21st

The Student Global Network and International Club has boxes planted around SCC, and today these old yard work shoes are going to a better place, so if you have an old pair of shoes and need an excuse to get out on campus to break in some new ones, you can donate your shoes to some happy feet, and help provide some clean drinking water to a community in need! See you outside!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gardening... Life...

Fall is here, and we just experienced our first frost. Many of us are evaluating our growing year and thinking about what worked, what didn't, and what to do next year.

Sunrises on campus, a perk to the job...

Often while discussing gardening I hear people say "I did this and it failed..." or "Why did you do it this way when you are supposed to do it that way..." I love trading gardening advice with other gardeners, but in my experience I have learned one thing about gardening: I know absolutely nothing about gardening!

Establishing new plantings, SSB Paver Circle...

Gardening is an experience, and in a way a constant experiment. What works for one person may not work for another; what works in one area might not work in another; why did it work this year but not the last? If gardening was anything like a set of Ikea instructions, everyone would be doing it, and doing it well.

Beautiful autumn skies over campus...

I always browse the gardening and outdoor book section when I go to a bookstore and even after devoting my entire life to this career field, I am always amazed at how much there is to know, to experiment with, to explore, to experience. I am also amazed at how many gardening "Rules" and "Practices" change. It is an ever-evolving industry. I realize in my entire lifetime I will only know a tiny bit about gardening and an even smaller fraction about the outdoors. I began this path knowing absolute nothing, and even further down the path I still know nothing.

Saying goodbye to the growing season is always bittersweet...

So what is the point of this post? We are all experiencing this "garden" together, trading advice, experimenting, learning, laughing... It was a great experience this year, can't wait to do it again!

See you outside!