BiodiverseCity St. Louis
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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

Aronia melancarpa

Black Chokeberry (Aronia melancarpa)
As we welcome the season of brilliant leaf colors, crisp cool weather, holiday celebrations, and of course, honeysuckle eradication events, we wanted to shine this month’s spotlight on black chokeberry—a fantastic native that deserves more than 15 minutes of fame as a cool plant to replace a non-so-cool plant.

A member of the rose family, A. melancarpa is native to eastern N. America. Although common in most of its range, it’s somewhat rare in Missouri, found a bit sporadically in sandy wet or boggy ground. But increasingly, this extremely hardy deciduous shrub is thriving in home gardens, city parks, and other urban and suburban sites, forming colonies that provide food and shelter for wildlife, and doing well in a wide range of soils. This fall, look for A. melancarpa’s spectacular wine red foliage and purplish black fruits brightening up our local landscapes.

Fun fact: Specific epithet comes from the words melano meaning black and carpa meaning fruit in reference to the ripe fruits of this shrub. The common name of chokeberry is in reference to the tart and bitter taste of the fruits which are technically edible but so astringent as to cause choking in most of those who try. But mockingbirds and other avian foragers have been known to divebomb for the fruits. A. melancarpa fruits are sometimes used by Homo sapiens to make tasty jams and jellies.

To do: After eradicating a ginormous stand of bush honeysuckle at a socially distant volunteer event this fall, consider having several A. melancarpa on hand to plant in its place, assuming the habitat is appropriate. In preparation, check out this list of other recommended native alternatives to common invasives in our region.

Great Reads

Chris Helzer and bee

What Makes a Good Land Manager?
By Chris Helzer, The Prairie Ecologist

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners—both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States" and “Hidden Prairie”, published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

“While a lot of land management is repetitive manual labor (cutting down invasive trees, harvesting seed, fixing fence, etc.) the most important work—and what sets the best managers apart from the rest—relies on observation, creativity, and strategic thinking. Good stewards have an understanding of natural history, an ability to predict how various management approaches might work, and devise and test strategies experimentally.” Read more...


A Community Initiative to Promote, Protect and Plan for Biodiversity Throughout the Greater St. Louis Region

Supported by Ameren Missouri

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