The desire to educate about rising background ozone levels led SLU's Center for Environmental Sciences to create a network of "Ozone Gardens" around the St. Louis metro area.
Many plants show signs of damage at ozone concentrations as low as 40 parts per billion (ppb). This ozone concentration is now usually reached every day in the Midwestern United States during the spring and summer, the primary growing season for crops and wild plants.
What is an Ozone Garden?
YES student Aleah Brooks at the Saint Louis Science Center Ozone Garden in 2013
The plants growing in our Ozone Garden exhibits are all sensitive to ozone air pollution. They show damage if ozone levels are high in the air around us. Because these plants monitor the health of their environment, they are called "bio-indicator" plants.
Saint Louis University staff, and student helpers and volunteers, collect data on the amounts of ozone leaf injury on the plants throughout the growing season. There is also an ozone (O3) monitor and a weather station at each of our sites recording conditions every 15 minutes.
To see the ozone and weather data from our gardens go here, and click on "Graph GO3 Data".
We hope you can visit one of our three gardens in the St. Louis, MO metro area this summer.
The St. Louis Ozone Gardens are a project of Saint Louis University's Center for Environmental Sciences.
Partnering with us are the Saint Louis Science Center, Grant's Farm, Southwestern Illinois College-Belleville, NASA AQAST, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.