This Month at Shaw Nature Reserve

Ushering in Spring

All Garden-owned locations, including Shaw Nature Reserve, are closed until further notice to support the regional effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

What’s in bloom
Each year, Mother Nature ushers in the spring through a predictable series of natural events. Whether you’re witnessing the emergence of a delicate bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) or the return of the first purple martins, it means that warm weather is not far behind. Early this month look for the dainty spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), harbinger of spring (Erigenia bulbosa), and Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) as they carpet the woodlands before the trees leaf out. In late March you can enjoy the spectacular daffodil display blanketing the area around the Pinetum. Look for the greenish-yellow flower clusters appearing before the leaves on the spice bush (Lindera benzoin) as you walk Rus Goddard River Trail behind the Maritz Trail House.

Featured trail
The wetland is full of songs from birds such as red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and amphibians such as spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). Park at the Bus Stop and begin the approximate 1.5 mile out and back path that is smooth and mostly flat, making it a welcome stop for strollers and wheelchairs. The prairie plantings of the wetlands’ watershed are some of the most diverse at Shaw Nature Reserve. They are notable for the increasing abundance of spring flora, including lousewort, paintbrush, downy phlox, blue-eyed grass, yellow stargrass, shooting star, and wild hyacinth.

Did you know?
If you’re visiting near dusk, listen for the quick series of “waaaduck” sounds of the wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) mating call. This rare animal is a Species of Conservation Concern in Missouri, so Shaw Nature Reserve is fortunate to have a healthy population. Read more about this frog and learn where to find them at this Missouri Department of Conservation website.

Each year, one of the first signs of spring is the sound of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) peeping in the woods. These small frogs—specifically the males—omit a boisterous call to attract a mate. You can listen to the call on our YouTube channel. Frogs and toads play an important role, serving as both prey and predator, in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. 

Current Events

RESCHEDULED September 26 from March 21
Shaw Bloom 10k/20k

March 26
Inside Look at Shaw Nature Reserve: Daffodil Hike

Coming Soon

April 4
Daffodil Dash 5k

April 9
Native Plant School: Water Garden Features for Wildlife