This Month at Shaw Nature Reserve

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What's In Bloom
Asters and goldenrods will fill the prairie with yellow and purple this month. On an early morning walk, you’ll be rewarded with an array of colorful birds, such as bluebirds and goldfinches, and their songs as they feed on seed heads of sunflowers (Helianthus) and insects in the prairie. Also, listen for cedar waxwings that are arriving and feeding on Eastern red cedar and black gum berries.

With all the yellow forbs in bloom, it is a great time to practice your yellow composite identification. Practice your plant identification skills with Andy during a Sights & Sounds Trail Series this month. This guided hike takes place on a different trail each week to introduce you to the plants and animals at Shaw Nature Reserve. If you have a scout group, consider signing up for a Scout Day where you will also enjoy all that’s in bloom while learning plant and animal identification and how to be good nature explorers. If you’re not able to make it out to Shaw Nature Reserve you can view what’s in bloom by watching our Sights & Sounds Trail Series videos.

Featured Trail
Brush Creek Trail is a perfect trail for October. Park along the Pinetum Loop Road (spots are available on east or west side of the lake) and start up the gravel path that will take you past the Whitmire Wildflower Garden. This stretch is shaded and gives you a glimpse of the wildflower garden. As you continue along, you will hike on the wooden bridge over Brush Creek or, for the adventurous, you can try the stepping stones. Hearing the soothing sound of the moving water is a great way to relax and catch your breath. Next you will have an uphill climb and from here you’ll arrive at our tipi where you can look inside and get a feel for what it would be like to live inside a tipi. From here you will journey to the Maritz Trail House where restrooms are available. This great spot for lunch overlooks a glade and lets you enjoy a rocky Ozark scene. Retrace your steps back to Pinetum Lake parking lot and you will have hiked approximately 2 miles. A fun fact about Brush Creek Trail is that we have the trees labeled for your enjoyment. You can test your knowledge as you hike.

Did You Know?
We have abundant virtual options for schools and a pen pal program! Virtual offerings include a pre-recorded nature themed story and the Virtual Ecosystem Exploration programs with Shaw Nature Reserve staff that are grade-level appropriate and support many Missouri Learning Standards. The pen pal program, Nature Buddies, lets students write letters about what they see outdoors and our staff or volunteers will write back.

Check out our new Investigate Nature Backpacks which are available for purchase online and can be picked up at our Visitor Center. These backpacks contain items such as bug jars, magnifying glass, journal and more to help families explore (designed for ages 6–10 years old).

We have our debut virtual gardening program, Pondscaping with Native Plants, this month. This program is free for members so we hope you enjoy this perk of membership.

The loud insect songs you are hearing this time of year are typically grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and cicadas. You are hearing their courtship from morning to night. Male crickets and male and female katydids and grasshoppers (depending on the species) produce sound by rubbing their wings together. This method of producing sound is called stridulation, which comes from Latin, meaning "to make a harsh sound.” Cicadas have the loudest song in the insect world. The adult male cicada possesses two ribbed membranes called tymbals, one on each side of its first abdominal segment. By contracting the tymbal muscle, the cicada buckles the membrane inward, producing a loud click. The two tymbals click alternately.

Upcoming Events

October 15
Kids Hop, Breathe, and Move Through the Garden

October 17, October 25
Tykes Trek

Coming Soon

Leaves and Seeds Fall Fun Run
Sign up by October 8 to reserve your t-shirt!