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Our plans for a museum extend to all points of the 1.4 acres surrounding the building. We are planning an “outdoor learning center” where students and families can learn about Missouri Conservation Department programs like landscaping with native plants. We will provide informational brochures and signs promoting Missouri Native Landscaping. We will give veteran families the opportunity to care for plants, beds or the grounds.
The benefit of native landscaping is to create a more sustainable landscape. Native landscaping reduces maintenance and promotes plant and wildlife conservation. Characteristics of native plants that reduce maintenance include:
- Longevity: plants that live for many decades
- Three- to four-season interest: plants that are appealing most of the year
- Variable conditions: plants that tolerate a wide range of light and moisture conditions
- Small and compact: plants that are in scale with a given space
- Weed elimination: plants that grow into dense groupings and eliminate weeds
- Seediness: plants that do not spread readily from seed
Dry Creek / Rain Garden
Besides planting native Missouri plants, our plans include a dry creek or rain garden that functions like a natural watershed. A dry creek or water garden slows down, captures and absorbs water using elements similar to those in nature: plants, rocks, shallow swales and depressions that hold water temporarily rather than let it quickly run away. They provide beauty, natural diversity and wildlife habitat in areas that otherwise would be a monoculture of lawns, pavement, concrete culverts and storm drains. Our dry creek will be 180’ in length and will feature native plants along the edge and a Seabee Tribute Bridge.
Nurture Native Trees and Plants
Part of the plan includes clearing and reclaiming the approximately 10,000 square feet along the North fence line. Right now, the area is flush with invasive plants. Invasive plants are a threat to native ecosystems and landscapes because they compete with native plants for light, nutrients and moisture. Many natural and landscaped areas have become severely infested with invasive species due to several years or decades of neglect. Our plan is to remove the invasive species restoring the area with native plants while nurturing the indigenous species.
Water Conservation and Collection
Our plan includes rain barrels at each downspout in an effort to decrease erosion and promote water conservation. We’ll collect and redistribute the water to key areas. In key areas where irrigation is needed, we will use collected water or a drip water system.
Our Veterans often express a need for therapeutic task or endeavor that involves the entire family. Our healing gardens will allow families to design, plant and nurture 1 of 8 designated garden spaces. Our community garden club will assist with design, planting and prescribing of a care program for the garden areas.
Our 6 x 8 greenhouse (formerly a smoking enclosure) will allow us to start small native plants and seedlings early in the season. We will transfer the small plants to the grounds throughout the year.
Replace with Native Plants
Many of the shrubs and bushes around the building are mature and at the end of their life cycle. We will recycle the plants and replace all of them with native plants from Forest ReLeaf in Creve Coeur or Forest Keeling in Elsberry.
The grounds will be designed as an outdoor learning center. All plants and trees will be identified with signs. Our signage will discuss water conservation, gardening techniques and native plants and trees. Bird houses will be built and installed for specific native species. Our hope is to create a park-like setting for community.
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