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

Unicorn prominent moth caterpillar (Schizura unicornis) and galls from the hedgehog gall wasp (Acraspis erinacei) on chinquapin oak leaf (Quercus muehlenbergii). © Sheila Voss.

Oaks, quiet heroes among us (Quercus spp.)

When we think October, we think trees. Specifically, we think of the deciduous trees that reveal pigments countless tourism ads count on. Their annual show is a bankable event this time of year.

For some of us, when we think trees, we think oaks. Not for their fall hues, really, but more for their rock-star status in the ecological web of life. This month, when we take what Thoreau calls an “insect view of its plain,” each leaf of an oak has so many stories to tell – who came to nibble, nest, curl up, hide, hunt, mate, and die on that leaf. What to some could appear as a spent, beat-up, ugly leaf of pock-marks and blight looks different when you consider the dramatic diversity of life that leaf enabled. Then when we consider the thousands and thousands of native oaks that live among us, humbly rooted in our neighborhoods, yards, parks, cemeteries, reserves, trails, and roadsides, our hearts fill with awe, respect, and gratitude. These are hero trees.

To do: In this month’s line-up of events, talks, and volunteer opportunities, you’ll find many opportunities to honor our local trees, from tree talks and guided hikes to tree plantings and celebrations. Find something that suits your style, and go bond with some trees.

To read: While covering a familiar theme, this recent New York Times opinion piece made us smile and gave us a well-timed dose of hope and light about the redemptive power of planting gobs and gobs of trees in human-dominated places. Read it under the shade of your favorite oak.

Great Reads

The Overstory
By Richard Powers (2018)

Given the busy lives of our readers, we typically feature a short-form non-fiction piece in this section. But we simply couldn't let another month go by without spotlighting our favorite fictional read in quite some time. The link here is to a review of the book, one quick way to get a sense of the extraordinary narrative Powers has produced. But to take in this story, you must be like a tree, slow down, and take it all in at your own pace. If you're slightly nerdy like us, you'll scribble in the margins and highlight passages that speak to you, hopefully while sitting under the shade of a favorite tree. Among the deep-rooted themes is the simple, sobering truth that the world is not made for our utility. What are we, after all, to trees? Read this book, friends. You can thank us later.


Let's Map It!

kaskaskia watershed map
Map of the Kaskaskia watershed.
Kathleen Scanlan Conservation Area |
Venedy, IL
Earlier this year, 140 acres of forest and wetlands along the lower Kaskaskia River were acquired by Heartlands Conservancy, one of our region’s most effective and efficient conservation organizations. Located in Washington County, between the towns of Mascoutah and Okawville, Illinois, this tract now has an official name – the Kathleen Scanlan Conservation Area, honoring one of the property’s long-time owners who cared deeply for the land. The property is located within the state's largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest, home to many migratory tropical songbirds, such as the prothonotary warbler and cerulean warbler, as well as otters, bats, turkeys, and many other plants and animals that depend on large forest blocks for survival

This acquisition was made possible with funding assistance from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The Foundation’s Clean Energy Land Acquisition grants have helped Heartlands and other grantees purchase over 26,000 acres throughout the state. The plan is to eventually open the newly named Kathleen Scanlan Conservation Area to the public for hiking, bird-watching, exploring, and taking in deep, long breaths of healthy forest air. Stay connected with Heartlands Conservancy for information about visiting this special place:



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

Honeysuckle Sweep

October 27–November 11, 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


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!