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Eat, Drink, and Grow Native! and Neighbor Nights @NGRREC Collaborate on Special Event

Article by: Louise Jett, (618) 468-3220,

EAST ALTON – The public is invited to a free Eat, Drink, and Grow Native! Neighbor Nights @NGRREC. 

Green industry professionals and the general public alike will learn how to navigate potential trials and tribulations of a green infrastructure project at this event, which will be held from 5:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s Jerry F. Costello Confluence Field Station at 1 Confluence Way, East Alton, Illinois.

Eat, Drink, and Grow Native! is a series of casual events designed to connect the public with native plant experts and practitioners in a relaxing setting during the growing season. Participants enjoy food and drinks at a local native garden while learning from native plant experts who helped make that installation a reality.

“The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s native landscaping and green roof are a success–thanks to the tenacity of native landscape contractors, NGRRECsm staff scientists, and gardeners at Lewis and Clark Community College,” NGRREC Environmental Educator Allison Rhanor said.

Guests can participate in a guided walking tour of the grounds and scavenger hunt to identify the native plant communities at NGRRECsm.

“This will be a great opportunity for professionals and the public to explore a significant native landscaping installation firsthand, and learn about the successes and challenges we’ve experienced working with native plants at this scale, from design through five-plus years of maintenance,” said NGRREC Terrestrial Ecologist Lyle Guyon.

A short presentation about the difficulties and triumphs NGRREC has seen throughout its native landscaping process will be given by Lewis and Clark Community College’s Restoration Ecology and Stormwater Management Program Coordinator Scott Moss at 6 p.m.

There will be a short Q&A with Moss, Guyon and other local professionals following the presentation. Guyon will then lead a guided walking tour of the grounds, including NGRREC’s green roof, beginning at 7 p.m., during which participants can take part in a fun scavenger hunt of native plants while learning about the distinct plant communities that call NGRREC home.

“Our monthly open house series, Neighbor Nights, is a time for the community to visit our field station, learn about a different highlighted project each month and meet some of our scientists,” Rhanor said. “NGRREC is thrilled to be partnering with Missouri Prairie Foundation to offer this joint Neighbor Night and Eat, Drink, and Grow Native! event this September.”

Appetizers will be provided, as well as locally sourced, sustainable beer infused with local native flavors, provided by Alton’s own Old Bakery Beer Company. Guests can partake in a limited free tasting, with a cash bar available for additional purchases, while supplies last.

This event is FREE and walk-ins are more than welcome.