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Ameren Employees to Perform Thousands of Hours of Volunteer Service in April
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, April 4, 2014 - More than 500 Ameren employees across Missouri and Illinois will participate in a variety of volunteer service projects in April. Activities include gardening, community clean-ups and painting for a variety of social service organizations.

The initiative is part of "Ameren Cares," which connects Ameren with the communities it serves through charitable giving and volunteering. A key focus of Ameren Cares is to partner with nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of life in Ameren's service territory in Illinois and Missouri.

"I enjoy helping those in my community," said Toni Love, an Ameren information technology development specialist and avid volunteer who recently was named the Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club Volunteer of the Year. "Knowing that Ameren supports our time spent volunteering is equally gratifying."

Volunteer projects will take place throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area as well as Peoria, Champaign and Decatur in Illinois. Some of the projects include:

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April 5 - Volunteers will assist gardening and cleaning projects at Guardian Angel Settlement Association, an agency serving poverty-stricken residents.

April 9 - Information Technology (IT) employees will be walking dogs at Stray Rescue animal adoption center.

April 12 - Employees from Ameren's legal department will work with Saint Louis University students planting and weeding at home care service provider Southside Wellness Center, and corporate planning employees will be cleaning and sorting clothes for Nurses for Newborns.

April 19 - Forestry employees will be landscaping at St. Louis Language Immersion School.

April 22 - Ameren Missouri employees will be gathering items for food pantries at Operation Food Search.

April 26 - IT employees will clean up Carondelet Park; members of Ameren's Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender Employees and Allies Network will be gardening at Doorways interfaith AIDS housing and services; and volunteers will be mulching and cleaning at World Bird Sanctuary.

"Ameren has a rich tradition of giving back to the communities across our 64,000-square-mile service territory," said Tom Voss, chairman and chief executive officer of Ameren. "Our mission, to power the quality of life, is larger than just the electricity and natural gas we provide; it's also to help make our communities better places to live by giving back through volunteerism, sponsorships and donations."

Non-profits Can Apply for TRIM Tree Care Grants
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 30, 2014 - The TRIM grant program is one of the many ways the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) works with and for communities to sustain healthy trees.

Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grants offer funding to assist government agencies, public schools, and non-profit groups with the management, improvement, and conservation of trees and forests on public land.

To assist potential grant applicants in the St. Louis area, MDC will hold a TRIM-grant workshop at MDC's Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center on Wednesday, April 23, at 6 p.m. The nature center is located in Kirkwood at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersections of I-270 and I-44.

The workshop is free but registration is required. Contact MDC Urban Forester Mark Grueber at 314-301-1506. The cost-share grants can help communities fund tree inventories, removal or pruning of hazardous trees, tree planting and the training of volunteers and city/county employees to best care for community forests.

TRIM grants are administered by MDC in cooperation with the Missouri Community Forest Council. The program provides reimbursements of $1,000 to $25,000 to grant recipients to fund up to 60 percent of money needed for projects. Projects located in communities with The Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA designation are eligible for an additional 10 percent in matching funds.

Proposals are assessed on a competitive basis for their value to the community, thoroughness as a tree-management program, the ability to promote, improve and develop a community's urban forest, and economic feasibility.

TRIM applicants must submit a completed application by June 1 that details project costs and funding sources, maps and drawings of the project site, a three-year maintenance plan for the project and a letter of approval from the governmental body owning the proposed project site.

St. Francis Xavier Church on the Saint Louis University campus
St. Francis Xavier Church on the Saint Louis University campus. Photo courtesy Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks To Light St. Louis Blue
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 25, 2014 - Autism Speaks is engaging schools, businesses and civic organizations to give St. Louis a distinctly blue hue for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2014.

That includes the landmark Saint Louis Science Center's James. S. McDonnell Planetarium, which will be using its new lighting system for the first time to illuminate the structure blue for World Autism Awareness Day.

"We support Autism Speaks in its efforts to raise awareness about autism, celebrate our diversities and better engage our community with all who are struggling with autism spectrum disorders," said Bert Vescolani, President and CEO, Saint Louis Science Center. Other structures that will be lit blue include the Civil Courts Building at 10 N. Tucker in Downtown St. Louis, Centene Plaza in Clayton, St. Francis Xavier Church on the Saint Louis University campus and the Saint Louis Zoo monument sign.

The St. Louis Chapter of Autism Speaks has again teamed with the architectural firm HOK to engage more businesses and civic organizations in the illumination effort.

The event on April 2, 2014 kicks off with a fundraiser that features a BigFoot monster truck car crush from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 6311 North Lindbergh Boulevard in Hazelwood, Mo.

In addition to lighting St. Louis blue, schools, businesses and civic organizations are being asked to encourage the wearing of blue clothing on April 2nd or showcase the color blue in some way.

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