This Month at Shaw Nature Reserve
Summer Blooms
Learning in nature

What’s in bloom
Summer is here and while many students are on summer break there are numerous ways to learn at Shaw Nature Reserve. Practice learning plant names on a walk in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden. Associate a plant name with something familiar such as wild blue indigo (Baptisia australis) seed pods are like nature's music rattles. Look closely at prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya) and you will see that each flower head has only fluffy disk flowers (resembling "blazing stars") and no rays. The oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) means sunflower-like sunny-face. 

Featured trail
For little ones, learning in nature is all about getting them comfortable in this environment and having positive experiences in the outdoors. Visit the Nature Explore Classroom with your family to enjoy the shade, sand box, climbing logs, spider web, our pizza garden, and more. Continue to the Sense of Wonder Woodland to see who is living in the insect hotel, trek across the tree-mendous bridge, ascend the fire tower, crawl on the tree-ceratops and more! It is a good idea to put on bug spray since mosquitoes and ticks are out. Park at the Visitor Center and walk the short distance downhill to get to the entrance of the Nature Explore Classroom. There are restrooms and a water fountain at the Visitor Center for your convenience. 

Did you know
In recognition of its value as an educational resource, the Nature Reserve was designated as a National Environmental Education Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 1972. Thousands of people attend educational programs and classes each year. We offer something for everyone, like:

Dawn and dusk are the best times to view wildlife since most are avoiding the intense afternoon heat. White tail deer, eastern cottontail rabbit and turtles are the most common animals to see along our 3-mile loop road during those times so plan your walk accordingly to see them. Monarch caterpillars can be found on milkweed along most of the trails. Eggs are laid in spring and summer and hatch in about 4 days. The caterpillars consume milkweed constantly for approximately 2 weeks after which the caterpillar enters the chrysalis stage. After being inside the chrysalis for about 2 weeks they emerge as a butterfly. Monarch butterflies found this month will make the trip south to Mexico starting in late September.

You are always welcome to hike on your own to catch the sunset. The Visitor Center is staying open later for your convenience. Our main gates will close half an hour after sunset.

Featured Events

Tuesdays in August
Nature Ramble

Thursday, August 9
Native Plant School: Pondscaping with Native Plants

Coming Soon

Friday, September 7
Fall Wildflower Market

Thursday, August 9
Prairie Day