Who is the Flora Conservancy of Forest Park?
Have you driven past Pagoda Circle or walked by the Jewel Box and thought to yourself, This is stunning?
The Flora Conservancy of Forest Park and the St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry are to thank for that. There are several different partnerships across Forest Park that help make it the treasure it is today. The partnership between the Flora Conservancy and the Parks Department is a perfect example.
The Flora Conservancy was established in 1999 to help “design, enhance and maintain the gardens, savannahs and prairies as outlined in the Master Plan of Forest Park.”
In collaboration with the Parks Department, the Flora Conservancy helps maintain Pagoda Circle, the Jewel Box grounds and the seasonal installations inside (which cost just $1 to see), Cabanne House, a bed behind the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course and Picnic Area 7.
When did you start volunteering with Flora Conservancy?
I did my Master Gardener training with Flora Conservancy in ’98 or ’99. I was interested in it because I live near Forest Park and love the Park. It will be two years ago this December that I took over as the Volunteer Coordinator. I am a consultant to the City.
What sparked your passion for gardening?
My parents and grandparents were gardeners. I always enjoyed nature. My mom sent me an article about the Master Gardener program, which led me to take the Master Gardener class. I needed a place to start doing my volunteering hours, so I started volunteering at the Flora Conservancy. I have always enjoyed it.
There is a core group of us that have been with Flora for a long time. Over the last couple of years, we have been getting a lot more volunteers. You meet a lot of interesting people.
How has Forest Park changed through the years?
Around the time I started volunteering, the big Forest Park Master Plan was being implemented. Since that time, to the credit of the City, Forest Park Forever and its generous supporters, things are so well maintained. It wasn’t always like that.
What is your favorite spot in the Park?
It is fun to be out on the island in Pagoda Circle because it is not somewhere everyone can go.
What does Forest Park mean to you?
It’s just a little oasis in the city — I mean, not ‘little.’ It’s cool that it is here and that there are so many amenities. You can bike, you can rollerblade, you can run and the museums are all free.
It is a wonderful asset to our city. To be able to work with our volunteer group and have people enjoy it, and to know we helped do that is rewarding.
How can someone get involved with the Flora Conservancy?
We welcome all skill levels. You don’t have to know anything about gardening. We can provide you with tools and training. There is no time commitment. You can come once to volunteer, or you can go anytime. Volunteers work on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9:00 am - 11:00 am.
Any final thoughts?
We appreciate the partnership with the Parks Department and with Forest Park Forever. There are a lot of great people who help make the Park so wonderful and inviting.
Thanks to Jack and the Flora Conservancy volunteers for the countless hours they have put in to help beautify Forest Park. Don’t forget to join Flora Conservancy for their Annual Plant Sale the Saturday before Mother’s Day. To inquire about volunteering with the organization, call 314.289.5323 or 314.53.FLORA.