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

Ozark witch hazel Ozark witch hazel
(Hamamelis vernalis)

—Contributed by Allison Joyce (EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden)

Hamamelis vernalis goes by the common name of ‘Ozark witch hazel’ for its native range.
A member of the Hamamelidaceae plant family, this deciduous shrub will reach a
Mature size of 6–10′ wide by 8–15′ tall in a sunny, well-draining corner of your garden.
A welcome sight in winter, the flowers are deep red to yellow with four petals and stamens.
Margins of the oval-shaped leaves have shallow lobes. Watch the ripe seeds of H. vernalis
Explode and fly through the air, up to 30 feet away from the parent plant!
Lonely plants can still reproduce themselves through the spread of their stoloniferous roots.
In cultivation, you will want to remove these unless you want to start an H. vernalis colony.
Sympatric speciation separates H. vernalis from H. virginiana despite overlapping ranges.

Vernalis is Latin for “spring-blooming”, as opposed to the fall-blooming H. virginiana.
Essential oil extracted from the leaves and twigs of H. vernalis is known as witch hazel.
Reputed sources explain the name of witch hazel by the historical use of the twigs as
Navigation tools for finding underground wells, a process known as “water witching.”
American indigenous people use this medicinal plant both internally and topically.
Late winter blooms make H. vernalis a harbinger of spring for people and pollinators alike.
In cold weather, the strappy petals curl up to protect reproductive organs from frost. The
Strong fragrance emitted by the bark is sometimes described as similar to sasparilla.

Great Read

leaves_sundos-schneider Good news: You don't need to rake your leaves.
by Marina Pitofsky – USA TODAY

We are seeing leaves turn beautiful fall colors and watch them fall to the ground. Many people are starting to make to do lists to prepare their home for the holidays, including yard work. This autumn, consider skipping the raking! The leaf litter acts as natural (and free!!) compost for trees and shrubs, as well as providing valuable habitat for many insects, which are a primary source of nutrition for birds in the winter.

“We each have an opportunity to take this personal action and think about how our own little piece of the earth, our own yards or our own gardens in our neighborhoods or communities, are all opportunities for us to do something good for nature,” Mizejewski said.

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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Honeysuckle Sweep

November 2021
Join us for this region-wide project that gets communities involved in learning about and removing invasive bush honeysuckle.
Learn more
Volunteers remove bush honeysuckle

Nearby Nature

Nearby Nature map

Spend more of your time exploring and stewarding St. Louis' great outdoors. Download our map featuring more than 50 places to visit!