At a Glance
Natural Areas

Since 1980, Shaw Nature Reserve has become a focus for native habitat management and restoration: prescribed burning, correctly timed field mowing, selective thinning of woodlands, judicious use of herbicides for invasive species control, plant diversity enhancement, and reconstruction “from scratch” of prairies and wetlands. As a result, the Nature Reserve is able to offer 14 miles of hiking trails through a diversity of Ozark Border landscapes, including floodplain forest, upland woods, dolomite glades, tallgrass prairie, oak-hickory woodlands and savannas, and wetlands. Restoration of these habitats provides the Nature Reserve’s visitors a uniquely varied experience of Missouri’s rich biological heritage.

Wildlife Areas

Learning Areas

The diversity of plant communities and the extensive acreage of Shaw Nature Reserve, combined with the educational resources of the Garden, provide a unique opportunity for outdoor education. The Nature Reserve serves as an outdoor laboratory for the development of innovative outdoor interpretive programs. The education staff, specially trained volunteers and guest instructors offer workshops, classes and natural awareness walks for thousands of children and adults each year. A recent development in outdoor education at the Nature Reserve: In collaboration with the National Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, the Nature Reserve has built a Nature Explore Classroom™. Using research-tested activities and unstructured play with natural materials in this outdoor setting, children will gain connection with nature, as a wholesome antidote to the increasing cultural problem of "nature deficit disorder."

Nature Explore Classroom

Buildings

Several interesting and historic buildings may also be found at Shaw Nature Reserve: the Bascom House, an elegant brick home built in 1879 by former Confederate Col. Thomas W.B. Crews and the Maritz Trail House, a rustic stone and log picnic pavilion. The Dana Brown Overnight Education Center is a complex of historic buildings (circa 1850), carefully taken down at their original locations and re-constructed at the Nature Reserve.

Buildings

Hikes and Trails

There are 14 miles of hiking trails, and with the help of the trail map a visitor can choose a short stroll or hikes of several miles.  There are many excellent places to hike. 

Hikes and Trails