2013-05-25 tractor 1949kb

Strawberry picking is a favorite Green Spiral activity, and when May rolls around, Green Spiral Tours starts watching the strawberry fields, as strawberries ripen on their own time, the window is short and more people than ever seem to be attracted to this sort of activity with each passing year.  Don’t let your kids grow up without strawberry picking at least once!

We like to head for Thies Farms at the Maryland Heights location, on Strawberry Festival Day, when Farmer Dave brings out the tractors to the delight of many-a-young child.  Due to an unusually late spring this year, the strawberries were about two weeks later than usual, so folks got to pick well into June, long after school let out.  The month of May is incredibly busy with school activities and it’s easy to miss the strawberry picking window.

Send an email to greenspiraltours@gmail.com to get on the “berry alert” email list for one email per year with berry picking locations, tips and tricks.  This would have been the fifth year of strawberry picking with Green Spiral Tours, however…

2013-05-25 strawberries landscape

However, as sometimes happens in a recurring Green Spiral theme, we suffered a somewhat disconcerting misadventure on this field trip.  “Green Spiral Tours” is a family adventure school consisting of unique adventures, not “canned” or sanitized experiences, and thus, we are often presented with unexpected challenges like water-main breaks, high winds, pouring rain or brutally hot weather.  Exposing children to all kinds of weather builds character and resiliency, and besides, once we’ve given a field trip a “go” we couldn’t stop it if we tried, people just spontaneously “go”!  The strawberry field trip was a “go” with lots of families planning to attend, and suddenly, it became the first ever Green Spiral field trip to be cancelled.

*CANCELLED* due to the extremely concerning West Lake landfill fire, which is headed directly for a radioactive nuclear waste dump, unfortunately and illegally located on the Missouri floodplain.

At the time of our field trip, only a handful of Facebook friends knew about the fire and the radioactive waste, except for the folks directly affected by the venting stench; and seriously folks, after 9/11 does anyone really believe that venting a landfill fire has absolutely no adverse effect on young children or their mothers of child bearing age?  If you know anything at all about breathing vaporized landfill waste and plastics, it is bad, bad, bad for you. Adventuring about on field trips gives you a kind of real world working knowledge that simply cannot be gleaned from newspapers and little screens.  Surprise!  We went to pick strawberries and found a “dirty bomb” instead.

Long after it has been published, this article in Rolling Stone Magazine still explains the situation best:


And here’s a link to the West Lake Landfill Facebook Page which has been given a new name:


So in keeping with the adventure school spirit, you too can embark on another sort of eco-adventure, by visiting the West Lake Landfill site, which is easily found through any GPS device.  If you have young children, or care about the earth and her children, I recommend that you monitor the situation by immediately becoming a friend of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

2013-05-25 westlake landfillWhat you can do:

Read Up: Try to cut through the fog of information to figure out what’s going on with the West Lake Landfill fire. (Hint: something smells bad, and it’s more than just the garbage).  Here’s an article from the Saint Louis Post Dispatch posted nearly 15 months after our misadventure that reveals almost no forward progress on the situation: http://lakeexpo.com/news/top_stories/editorial-governor-should-take-the-muzzle-off-landfill-contractors/article_6b6a5d2c-390e-11e4-8a95-001a4bcf887a.html

Adventure Forth:  Visit the West Lake Landfill site, so you know exactly where it is located in relationship to you.  Calculate the wind path to your home, and take a water tour to know where your drinking water comes from.  Follow Green Spiral Tours to witness a weekly prayer vigil by the Franciscan nuns.

Share:  Find a supportive group to share your thoughts, concerns, fears and things you might be learning.  Share posts from the West Lake Landfill / Nuclear Out Now Group and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment Facebook sites to help them build audience.

Stand Up and Speak Out:  Stand in solidarity with the good mothers of Bridgeton who are valiantly trying to defend their children, our air and our water supply,  Sign petitions, make blog posts, show up at functions, and press your elected officials for action.