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Osage Orange Trees near Music Stand in Tower Grove Park
Stands of less usual osage-orange (Maclura pomifera) near the Music Stand, with their oversized knobby green fruits, are a favorite for children to climb.
Tower Grove Park Receives International Recognition for Tree Collection
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 18, 2018 - Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, Mo., has been named a level-II arboretum by ArbNet, the international accrediting agency. The ranking is considered a prestigious indicator of the size and quality of the tree collection, its care and education programs. There are only 74 level-II arboretums internationally and only two in St. Louis.

First opened to the public in 1872, Tower Grove Park is home to a large and diverse mature urban forest displayed across 289 acres. A tree inventory was completed in 2016, determining that the Park currently has 6,820 trees. There are 225 species and 58 subspecies making up a total of 283 confirmed taxa (or "type" in Layman's terms). Every tree is digitally labeled on a GPS-enabled interactive map viewable on the Park's responsive website

Tower Grove Park also has approximately 2,000 woody shrubs of over 100 species that are currently being inventoried. Of special note in the Tower Grove Park tree collection are:

  • The majestic "Hundred Year" Oak Grove in the northwest quadrant of the Park, home to a variety of oaks, some more than 13 feet in circumference.
  • Stands of less usual osage-orange (Maclura pomifera) around the Park, with their oversized knobby green fruits. There is a dramatically curved specimen near the Music Stand. These are some of the oldest trees in the park.
  • The Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) "cathedral" in the Cypress Ellipse on Main Drive.
  • A variety of interesting Ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) being carefully protected from Emerald Ash Borer.
  • The children's favorite "Keebler Elves Tree" - an elderly Catalpa along South Drive that is largely hollowed out.
  • Missouri State Champion trees Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) and bigtooth aspen (Populus tremuloides).
The collection is maintained by a team of three full-time arborists, led by Arboriculture Supervisor Andy Berg, who is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Board Certified Master Arborist. The Park's Executive Director, Bill Reininger, is also an ISA Certified Arborist, as is William Rein, the director of operations and special projects.

"Tower Grove Park was founded by Henry Shaw, a man who loved trees and planted thousands during his lifetime," said Bill Reininger. "We are delighted to have achieved this important distinction as a level-II arboretum. As we look forward to the Park's 150th anniversary in 2020, we hope to steward this precious and historic resource, our urban forest, for decades to come."

MoDOT Partners with Great Rivers Greenway
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 18, 2018 - People who use the Meramec Greenway (the shared use path for walking, running or biking) in Fenton and Sunset Hills will be able to cross the Meramec River into Kirkwood when a new shared use path over the river opens in 2022.

The Missouri Department of Transportation and Great Rivers Greenway today came to an initial funding agreement for a shared use path across the Meramec, next to the new I-44 Meramec River bridges. Construction on that project will start this fall, with the construction on the shared use path across the river expected to be complete late in the project.

MoDOT is funding the foundation for the bridge for the shared use path, while Great Rivers Greenway is funding the 12-foot-wide bridge structure across the river. Fenton, Kirkwood and Sunset Hills have tentatively agreed to seek funding for the work to connect the shared use path to the existing Meramec Greenway system on the west side of the Meramec. This connection will also link to Emmeneger Park, Powder Valley Nature Center and Conservation Area, Possum Woods Conservation Area and nearby Laumeier Sculpture Park.

"Over the years, there has been a great deal of interest from the cycling community for a bridge that crosses the Meramec River. We are ecstatic that we are able to partner with Great Rivers Greenway, and the municipalities on both sides of the Meramec River to make this a reality," said Tom Blair, MoDOT District Engineer for the St. Louis region.

"Bridging over a river is a rare opportunity in any region; creating access that connects communities changes how people get around the region," said Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway. "This collaboration of partners demonstrates what can be done when people work together to improve our quality of life - greenways create connections for people to get where they need to go, explore their communities and enjoy some fresh air."

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