Good news from the DANFORTH PLANT SCIENCE CENTER and WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY! The institutions were awarded $35 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to research two important energy initiatives. The Danforth Plant Science Center will receive $15 million over a five-year period to establish the Center for Advanced Biofuels Systems in an effort to increase the efficiency for select plant- and algae-based food production systems. W.U. will use its $20 million portion to establish the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center, which will study forms of energy based on the principles of light harvesting and energy funneling.

    Congrats to HARRY LUNT, named director of sales and marketing at the swanky new MOONRISE HOTEL in the Delmar Loop. St. Louis native Lunt (a John F. Kennedy High School and University of Missouri grad) most recently held the same post with luxury resort The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera in Colorado.

    Roll over, Beethoven! Music legend CHUCK BERRY will help the MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN mark its 150th anniversary this summer with a special concert July 24 at 8 p.m. ‘Three Stars over the Garden’ is a tribute to three St. Louis legends, Garden founder HENRY SHAW, Garden president PETER RAVEN and Berry, ‘the father of rock and roll.’ All three have stars on the St. Louis ‘Walk of Fame.’ Tickets are $60 for the general public and $50 for members and will be available for purchase starting May 11.

    Mark your calendars! New York Times bestselling author TONY HORWITZ will be in St. Louis May 13 at 7 p.m. for a St. Louis County Library Westfall Lecture Series event at the headquarters branch on Lindbergh Boulevard. Hor witz’s work includes A Voyage Long and Strange and Confederates in the Attic. The former is his latest book and unmasks myths about America’s founding, like the facts that Columbus never actually set foot here and that the first ‘Thanksgiving’ happened 56 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock!

    Attention, foodies! The ST. LOUIS HERB SOCIETY has launched a new cookbook, Herbal Cookery: In the Kitchens and Gardens of the St. Louis Herb Society. It’s the fourth cookbook from the group, and features 175 recipes tested by society members. Herb-based menus and wine pairings are also included, as well as tips on freeze-drying and storing fresh herbs just picked from the garden. Proceeds support the Herb Soc iety’s fund for education and research, including the recent renovation and ongoing maintenance of the herb garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

    In other green-thumb news, FLOWERS OF CLAYTON received 15 minutes of global fame recently when TELEFLORA INTERNATIONAL released a story to members around the world about the St. Louis florist’s recycling efforts. The shop accepts used glass flower vases and baskets, which it cleans and refurbishes for reuse. Donors are thanked for their effort with a free bouquet of fresh flowers. Glass flower vases have a higher melting point than glass bottles and jars and can’t be recycled through normal channels, which explains why they often end up in landfills. The effort saves the business money, creates goodwill in the community and keeps waste out, of landfills. After the story went out, store manager NANCY SCHROEDER received tons of calls from florists around the country interested in copying her program! For more information, call Flowers of Clayton at 726-2424.

    Big news from the SAINT LOUIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Its first gala event since 1999, ‘A Noteworthy Affair’ on Oct. 24, will feature a performance by world-renowned cellist YO-YO MA! Ma will perform with DAVID ROBERTSON and the SLSO at Powell Hall at 7 p.m., after which the evening continues at the Coronado Ballroom. Tickets will be available for the full gala event (concert and dinner), as well as the concert only. NOEMI NEIDORFF is chair, with help from co-chairs PEGGY RITTER and MARSHA RUSNACK.

    Feeling artsy? Make plans to attend PAINT WEBSTER 2009 on May 9 at 10 a.m. An ‘en plein air’ festival, the event encourages artists (amateur and professional alike) to spend the day painting scenes from the community. Artists must bring their own easel, canvases and paints. One thousand dollars in cash prizes will be awarded at a reception held later in the evening.