This Month at Shaw Nature Reserve

Our Nature Explore Classroom and Sense of Wonderful Woodland are opening this month! The safety of our visitors, volunteers, and staff is our top priority. To continue efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Nature Reserve will implement additional health and safety protocols. Help us remain open by reviewing the following:

  • Admissions, Ticketing, and Membership
    One of the Nature Reserve’s new safety protocols is limiting capacity and parking space. All visitors to the Nature Reserve, including Garden members, will need advanced dated and timed e-tickets. This measure will be used to stagger arrivals to decrease large volumes of visitors gathering at the front entrance. No walk-up or day-of on-site purchases are permitted at this time. Tickets will be available online one week prior to opening. The Nature Reserve hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
  • Facilities
    As part of our enhanced safety protocols, indoor spaces, including the Visitor Center and Bascom House, will remain closed. Picnic areas and water fountains will not be available. Restrooms will be available near the Glassberg Pavilions and at the Maritz Trail House. The Nature Explore Classroom, Wetland Blinds, and Bus Stop will be re-opening July 6. There will be an increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting throughout the Nature Reserve.
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    Protective face coverings will be strongly encouraged for all guests nine years of age or older, particularly while in the entry, restroom, and parking areas and when near other visitors and staff members.
  • Social Distancing
    We request that all visitors take extra precautions to practice appropriate social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others when approaching the admissions window, in the entry, restrooms, and parking areas, and while on the trails and paths.
What’s In Bloom
A snapshot of what’s in bloom across our 2400 plus acres includes butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) along Brush Creek Trail, Bush’s poppy mallow (Callirhoe bushii) in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, rose turtle head (Chelone obliqua) in the wetland, Culver's root (Veronicastrum virginicum) in the prairie, purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea) along the River Trail, and compass plant (Silphium laciniatum) along the Trail House Loop Road, which is approximately three miles and takes you through a good portion of the Nature Reserve.

There are many more plants to explore, and if you need help with identification, you can grab a copy of Missouri Wildflowers by Edgar Denison or use the iNaturalist app on your phone (please note that this app is peer-edited and might contain errors).

Featured Trail
Stay cool this month by taking a shaded route such as Brush Creek Trail. As you hike from the Whitmire Wildflower Garden to the Trail House you’ll notice the change in landscape. View squirrels, red-shouldered hawk and Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) in the woodland area. Brush Creek Trail is a great place to start to traverse our trail system, which includes 17 miles to explore. Head east to the wetland to view the waterlilies or west to see the prairie full of coneflowers and grasses. If you continue south to the Trail House, you will reach our Rus Goddard River Trail. From here most of the trails connected to the River Trail are shaded, rocky, and some have bluff views. The adventurous can walk out on our gravel bar to watch the Meramec River, search for tracks, and try to spy softshell turtles in the shallows.

Much wildlife rests during the heat of the day, just like we do, and will venture out in the cool morning or at dusk. There are still many birds to see during the day, such as robins, cardinals, blue jays, bluebirds, nuthatch, wren, summer tanagers, and more. Just after a rain, look for track in the mud and you might find deer, bobcat, turkey, or raccoon to name a few. A useful Missouri mammal track guide can be found here.
Events, Classes, and Tours
Registration for Fall and Winter programs opens August 3 at 9 a.m.