This Month at Shaw Nature Reserve
Nature's showcase this April

Spring is evident with all the buds bursting into bloom. Enjoy the spectacular daffodil display at the Daffodil Dash 5K trail run, and view the many spring wildflowers in bloom in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden during a Tuesday Spring Wildflower Walk. While out hiking the trails be sure to look for other blooming plants like the dainty spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), harbinger-of-spring (Erigenia bulbosa) and Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) as they carpet the woodlands before the trees leaf out. View the sea of Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) near the Meramec River during Bluebells Abound!

While enjoying the wildflower show, don’t forget to look up! Birds are everywhere at the Reserve…some preparing to take up summer residency and others migrating through to northern nesting grounds. Join us for a Morning Bird Walk during the height of spring migration and learn about the types of birds here during Outdoors Skills Series: Birding 101. It’s hard to miss the eastern bluebirds and red-headed woodpeckers at Wood Duck Lake. Joining the belted kingfisher and great blue heron, are male red-winged blackbirds that are arriving at the wetlands to establish their territories. 

Are you having trouble identifying the wildflowers and birds you’re seeing? The Visitor Center book store has many excellent field guides to assist you. If you’re visiting near dusk or spending the night with your family at the Nature Explorer Overnight, listen for the nasal “peent” sound of the woodcock mating call. Read more about these birds and learn where to find them.

 

Pinetum Restoration

Why Are We Cutting Down Trees?
The Shaw Nature Reserve is in the early stages of a large ecological restoration project taking place in the Pinetum area.  The removal of non-native trees and alien plants is being carried out for specific ecological reasons.  Our goal is to restore healthy, functioning native plant communities that, in turn, support rich biodiversity native to our State.  The initial stage of restoring native plant communities and diverse natural landscapes is often unattractive and can be disturbing.

Along with a diverse mix of native prairie species that will be sowed later this year, 725 appropriate native hardwood tree species will also be planted.  Once completed, visitors to the Reserve will encounter a transformed landscape of open woodlands and diverse prairie, inviting exploration, learning and enjoyment.  Mowed areas and corridors will invite visitors to stroll through the site, where they will find shady benches and places to picnic.  This will all be in close proximity to visitor facilities. The picture on the right shows an example of what the entire Pinetum will look like in the future.

From an ecological standpoint, the additional and diverse plant species will provide habitat for an increased diversity of animal life.  Tree species with soft or nut-like fruits will provide food for a variety of organisms.  The diversification of flowering plants will expand pollinator resources, food sources for herbivores and seeds for birds and small mammals.
 
Featured Events

Monday, April 7 or
Tuesday, April 8
Little Nature Explorers

Saturday, April 12 or
Sunday, April 13
Canopy Climb

Monday, April 21 or
Friday, April 25
FrogWatch USA™ Volunteer Training


Coming Soon

Thursday, May 8
An Inside Look at Shaw Nature Reserve: Wilderness Wagon Tour

Saturday, May 10
Spring Wildflower Market

Tuesday, May 20
Nature Navigators: Get Muddy! Have Fun With Soil