BiodiverseCity St. Louis

BiodiverseCity St. Louis is a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more about this effort, and join in.

Take Action Today…and Make It Count

Throughout St. Louis, every day, people are making big and small changes to their backyards, balconies, streetscapes, schoolyards, parking lots, and play areas. Some are doing this because they love nature and want to experience more of it in their daily lives. Others recognize that native plants in the right places help prevent flooding, clean and cool our air and improve human health and well-being. Still others embrace the positive impact that leafy streets, accessible parks, hiking/biking trails and other quality green spaces have on property values and the economic vibrancy of our region.

For all these reasons and more, the BiodiverseCitySTL Network invites each of the 2.9 million citizens of the greater St. Louis bi-state region to take action. In this spirit, we are excited to launch the Nature in Our Neighborhoods citizen action project. No matter who you are or where you live, all of us can do something to beautify, bio-diversify and better the communities in which we live, work, learn and play. To get started, check out our curated list of expert ideas and local resources from across our region, connect with others and share your stories.


Species Spotlight

Northern flicker
Northern flicker. Photo by Mark Moschell.
Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus)

We could absolutely not let the Great Backyard Bird Count go by without spotlighting one of our avian friends and neighbors. Hard to choose just one, but Northern flickers (Colaptes auratus) got the vote. These familiar and fairly large woodpeckers are distinctive, making them an easy ID for birdwatchers of any experience level. 

C. auratus is the only woodpecker that does most of its feeding on the ground, poking its long bill into an anthill and using its long, sticky tongue to extract its meal. This time of year, however, they’re more likely to exhibit more traditional woodpecker foraging habits like hammering into tree bark for larva and other insects, or eating berries or nuts.

While still common in our region, data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey indicate significant declines in abundance. Among the threats are loss of habitat—C. auratus needs dead wood, standing or on the ground, for nesting and for foraging—and competition with European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) for nest cavities. The decline of Northern flicker populations remains a concern, given the central role this species plays in the ecology of woodland communities where it excavates cavities later used by other hole-nesting species.

Fun fact: The first scientific description of the Northern flicker was written by none other but the renowned naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758.

To do: Challenge yourself to go find one…and if you’re lucky, hear one. Since these guys typically aren’t found at feeders, you’d have better luck spotting one along forest edges, open woodlands with stands of dead trees, savannas, or farmland with tree rows. Listen for their loud, ringing call and piercing yelp.

To do, if you don’t succeed in finding one: Build a house for it! Our friends at Cornell have this really fantastic interactive web feature called Right bird, Right house. We typed in “Great Lakes-Big Rivers” region and “town” as habitat, and northern flicker came up as a strong recommendation.

To do, because citizen science is cool: Sign up to participate in the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count, February 16–19. You’ll be joining more than 160,000 people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to create this now famous annual snapshot of the global distribution and abundance of birds.
Great Reads

Protecting Wilderness as an Act of Democracy
By Kristine McDivitt Tompkins (February 2018)

Well, now we want to move to Chile. This Op-Ed piece not only caught our attention, it caught our hopes and dreams. In recent weeks, the largest-ever expansion of a national park system prompted by a donation of private land occurred under the wide skies of the new Patagonia National Park. The private gift of roughly one million acres is being used by the Chilean government to create five new parks and expand three others, a move that will add 10.3 million acres to Chile’s already impressive park system. The author, who also happens to be the donor, believes the transfer of private lands to a national park system is an act of democracy. But she acknowledges public-private success on this scale requires more than just vision and aspiration: “Anyone can conceive of big ideas, but to carve them into being requires political leaders with the courage to protect important landscapes.” Read on, friends. This is good stuff that will rev you up.
Featured Partner Programs

Milkweeds for Monarchs logo   Bring Conservation Home logo   Operation Clean Stream logo   Show Me Rain Gardens logo
A Community Initiative to Promote, Protect and Plan for Biodiversity Throughout the Greater St. Louis Region

Wild Ideas Worth Sharing Speaker Series

March 13, 2018
Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming
Explore the mission and metrics behind Paul Hawken’s Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, including practical, local solutions in action.
Learn more
Honeysuckle Sweep

March 3–18, 2018
Join us for this region-wide project that gets communities involved in learning about and removing invasive bush honeysuckle.
Learn more
Volunteers remove bush honeysuckle


Participate in the STL City Nature Challenge 2018

City Nature Challenge

April 27–30
The challenge is to see which city and/or region can document the most species over a four-day period. The goals are increased eco-literacy in the City of St. Louis and the bi-state region and collection of urban biodiversity data throughout the City and region.
Download flyer
Follow competition


Nearby Nature

Nearby Nature map

Spend more of your time exploring and stewarding St. Louis' great outdoors. Download our Nearby Nature Map featuring 50 places to love and 100 things to do!