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

Climacium americanum
Climacium americanum, aka pine moss, can be found throughout Missouri.
Photo by Lee Elliot. [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]
The magic of mosses
They sometimes appear as otherworldly blankets of green on rocky bluffs and outcroppings. Some of them glisten like gems along springs and creeks. Still others somehow find a way to thrive on rooftops and cement cracks throughout densely built-up cities.

Mosses, fungi, lichen and other underappreciated life forms of the leaf litter, of course, do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to forest functionality. Because many mosses are able to grow on rock or on open ground, they are incredibly important in preventing soil erosion and in actually building soil, allowing larger plants to move into previously uninhabitable areas. Also, a diversity of insects live in the moist, protected habitats created by these small plants. Some, such as the water bear, or moss piglet, actually feed on the moss itself. In addition, a number of species of birds use mosses in their nests. Ethnobotanically, mosses have several past and current uses, among them their role as useful bioindicators, helping scientists monitor heavy metal contamination in streams and rivers. Like lichens and several other organisms, mosses can also be used to monitor air pollution—a key driver of climate change.

To do: In Missouri and Illinois, there are more than 300 species of mosses—and in our completely professional and unbiased opinion, they are super cute and terribly fun to study. If you collect them, however, take only small samples that you can place in small bags or envelopes to dry. Never collect on public or private lands without permission, and refrain from disturbing small populations or endangered species. Other than that, go get your moss fix! 

Fun fact: Mosses are teeny, tiny plants, so small that people generally can't tell them apart from liverworts, algae, lichens and other very small flowering plants. They reproduce asexually by fragmentation of plant parts and by spores produced in a capsule at the end of a short stalk called a seta. Their stems, leaves and root-like structures distinguish them on land from lichens, and in water from the branching filaments of algae, which lack leaf-like structures.

Election Season tip: If you’re like us, you’re finding this current cycle not the most relaxing. We have found that watching this time-lapse video of fungi in a forest, surrounded by serene images of moss-covered rocks and trees, is a much-needed salve. Enjoy. Then find a forest near you and take a hike with loved ones. All will be well.


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

Join us for the
Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat
October 29–November 6, 2016

This region-wide project gets communities involved in learning about and removing invasive bush honeysuckle. Learn more

Volunteer Opportunities

Fridays throughout October
FarmScaper Fridays with EarthDance

October 9, 16, 23, 30
Emmenegger Nature Park restoration
For more information, contact:

October 15
Native Planting & Seeding on Deer Creek Greenway

October 15
River Ring Honeysuckle Bash

October 22
14th Annual River des Peres Trash Bash

October 22
Volunteer Educator Training at Riverlands

October 23

October 29–November 6
Fall 2016 Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat

October 29
Zahorsky Woods Work Day

October 29
Garden Project Orientation

November 5 & 12
Woodland Restoration in Sunset Hills