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

Eastern whip-poor-will
(Antrostomus vociferus)

Right about now, Antrostomus vociferus is leaving local woods to migrate southward, and taking one of summer’s most signature sounds with it. Easy to hear but difficult to spot given their mottled gray-brown, leaf-litter-esque plumage, Eastern whip-poor-wills are now on their way to Mexico and Central America, sometimes forming loose flocks as they trek together to their winter homes. They spent their summer in our regional forests, leaving their low-branch perches or forest floor homes at dawn and dusk to swoop up hordes of moths and other flying insects. A specially adapted retina perfect for low-light conditions enables them to easily spy silhouettes of their aerial prey against the moonlit sky.

This once common understory bird of oak-hickory, pine, and mixed forests, along with two other locally known nightjar species (common nighthawk and the Chuck-will’s-widow), are disappearing, according to data from the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), a division of the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute. Among the biggest threats is simply lack of food, resulting from an invasion of exotic plant species, which has in turn reduced the number and diversity of insects. Native herbaceous understories, once bursting with insect life, are declining in Missouri and Illinois forests. Open forest habitats are also being converted to housing developments and farm fields, threatening survival of these species even further. To better understand and conserve these unique birds and habitats upon which they depend, INHS avian researchers coordinate the Monitoring of Owls and Nightjars program (MOON), aimed at understanding population trends and distribution of owls and nightjars, as well as investigating causes of possible decline and best practices for conservation.

To do, if you haven’t yet been lucky enough to hear one: These storied birds made famous in folk songs and poems are quietly slipping away. Listening to its distinct, recognizable call allows us one more sound of summer, and inspires us to do what we can to welcome them next spring with enough healthy habitat.

If you’re already a night-owl, why not be a night-owl on a mission: Because MOON surveys are completed when most people are sleeping, finding volunteers who can consistently monitor for nightjars is a challenge. If interested in participating in this unique citizen science initiative, learn more and connect with our good, smart colleagues at INHS.


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

November 2, 2017
The Soil Web of Life
Join Dr. Elaine Ingham as she speaks on how to grow healthy plants while improving infiltration rates in your soil and improving water quality in our local streams.
Learn more
Honeysuckle Sweep

October 28–November 12, 2017
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 2017 exploring and stewarding St. Louis' great outdoors. Download our 2017 Nearby Nature Map featuring 50 places to love and 100 things to do!