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.



On behalf of the BiodiverseCitySTL team, thanks to each of you for putting your love of nature into action this past year. Whether you visited a new hiking spot, attended an outdoor event, took a class, participated in citizen science, cleaned up a creek, removed invasive species, planted native trees, served on a community committee, mentored a young person pursuing a green career, donated to your favorite conservation group, spoke up on city or county land use issues, or otherwise advocated for the living world, each one of you is why we're still doing this—sharing good news, spotlighting ways to learn more and get involved, and helping communities grow in nature-driven ways.


Throughout this past year, the BiodiverseCity St. Louis team has been working with stakeholder organizations to kick-start a key biodiversity target of the OneSTL Sustainability Plan: By 2025, 100 percent of counties in metropolitan St. Louis are using a regional biodiversity vision, atlas, and action plan to guide their planning, policies, and practices in ways that increase habitat connectivity, ecological functionality, and quality of life for all. Just last month, we announced the launch of BiomeSTL: Biodiversity of Metropolitan St. Louis—a regional vision, atlas, and action plan that calls upon everyone everywhere to put healthy, vibrant lands and waters at the center of how we connect with, design, plan, and sustain our communities. We are currently recruiting multi-disciplinary teams of people to help develop and advance core elements of this cool initiative. If interested in learning more and getting involved, email us at


Species Spotlight

Mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

We can relate to you, Nymphalis antiopa. You spent the winter sheltering under a woodpile, a tree crevice, loose bark, or any other decent hibernaculum you could find, doing your evolution-aided best to survive winter with the help of those fancy glycerols you can produce (Yes, we’re impressed.) But we see you now, finally venturing out to forage for minerals from oak tree sap or an early spring mud puddle. We see you flitting about your favorite hackberry tree. We see you waking up the woods with your yellow-edged, blue-dotted cloak. We see you signaling spring. Thank you.

To do: Take a cue from N. antiopa and get moving already. With this month’s line-up of outdoor events, festivals, races, plant sales, workshops, and tours, you have absolutely no excuse for staying in your tree crevice or wherever you’ve hidden out this winter. Kick-start spring at Meet Me Outdoors in St. Louis and pick up a 2019–2020 Nearby Nature Map, featuring 50 places to love and 100+ things to do in the great outdoors this year (see this month’s Events and Experiences for more details).

To do, if you’re slightly (or very) competitive: Take a few photos of mourning cloaks or other critters as practice for the 2019 City Nature Challenge, a global citizen science competition happening April 26–29 in more than 160 cities around the world. This will be the St. Louis metropolitan region’s 2nd year in the challenge, designed to see which city in the world can document the most species in four days. We need everyone in the bi-state area to get outside during April 26–29, take photos of plants and animals, and upload them as observations using the free iNaturalist app. Whether in your backyard, schoolyard, corporate campus, local park, trail, or favorite nature space, your observations will not only help St. Louis compete, they’ll also contribute to a growing citizen science inventory of biodiversity across the region.

Great Reads

Species sleuths: Amateur naturalists spark a new wave of discovery
By Jessica Leber (March 2019)

We absolutely know the dizzying, sometimes depressing effects of reading articles online. Especially these days. But trust us, this one will make you smile. How could it not? It’s got an English teacher in Illinois who grew into one of the leading experts on North American mushrooms. It’s got a lawyer who has published books about beetles. It’s got a chemical engineer in France who dedicates his spare time to lichen taxonomy. It’s got a Belgian bus driver with a side-gig in sea snail systematics (say that three times fast). These high-level hobbyists are filling the gap left by declining numbers of professionals in the fields of systematics and taxonomy—basic foundational skills still desperately needed if we are to heed Leopold’s counsel: “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” We hope this month’s Great Read is a source of both hope and inspiration. Assuming so, we invite you to apply your inspired self to the global citizen science competition happening at the end of this month—the 2019 City Nature Challenge, April 26-29. Let’s keep the wave of discovery going!


Let's Map It!

From mega-regions to micro-size homes: Cities of the future
National Geographic (April 2019)

Ok, we admit it. We have an incurable crush on this magazine. Always have, always will. That said, if we were a teenager seeking to plaster our room with dream-boat posters, this month’s entire issue would cover our walls. Its infographic maps of future cities guided by ecology, nature, and the living world are like no other centerfold we’ve seen. Get the entire issue, friends. Get all starry-eyed and dreamy with it. Pin it up wherever you want to stay inspired and ponder: What parts of our own St. Louis ecoregion could be transformed in these ways?


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

Participate in the STL City Nature Challenge 2019

City Nature Challenge 2019

April 26–29
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. Learn more


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 more than 100 things to do!


Events & Experiences

Grants & Research Opportunities