Shaw Nature Reserve | St. Louis Public Radio

Shaw Nature Reserve

Missouri Botanical Garden restoration biologist James Trager standing at one of the naturally-occurring glades in the Shaw Nature Reserve.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

While the Ozarks are known for forests, but visitors to the highland region also will find open, desert-like areas between trees that contain a special combination of rare plants and animals  found in few other places. 

The areas, called glades, are hot and dry places with thin soils. To a visitor, the rocky appearance of glades make them look like an old road that has been overtaken by tall grasses. They're defined by the type of rocks that lie underneath, which in Missouri are largely limestone and dolomite. Glades were once more common in Missouri's Ozarks, but since they need to be burned to exist, the areas have disappeared over the last century as forest managers sought to suppress fires. 

Scientists are conducting controlled fires at the Shaw Nature Reserve to understand how to best conserve them.

Maryville University biologist Kyra Krakos studies flowers at the Shaw Nature Reserve.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

Among the many ways rising global temperatures are changing the environment, from shrinking polar ice caps to rising sea levels, research in recent years has shown that climate change also is causing flowering plants and pollinating bugs to fall out of sync.

This summer, Maryville University biologist Kyra Krakos and her students are studying the effects of climate change on flowers and pollinating insects, particularly bumblebees, at the Shaw Nature Reserve about an hour outside St. Louis. Meteorologists have observed more erratic weather patterns over time, such as this year's mild winter, which has caused flowers to bloom at times when they shouldn't.

Provided by the Great Rivers Law Center

A group of Franklin County residents has appealed a county decision to allow a concrete plant to be built near the Shaw Nature Reserve. 

Three years ago, Kirkwood-based concrete company Landvatter Ready Mix applied for a conditional use permit to build its third concrete facility in the state. After the Franklin County Board of Adjustment approved the permit, residents sued county officials, hoping to overturn the decision. Months later, the company withdrew its permit application and asked the county to rezone the land parcel for commercial use. The county's Planning and Zoning Commission granted its request last September.

Restoring the prairie, Missouri's endangered habitat

Sep 30, 2013
Forest Park prairies and savannas: Yellow area is Kennedy savanna; red area is Deer Lake prairie and savanna; purple is Hidden Creek savanna; and green area is Steinberg prairie.
Forest Park Forever

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: You’re walking south along Skinker next to Forest Park. Going past the golf course, you decide to turn into the park. Bordering mowed pathways, sky high grasses grow, and yellow flowers bloom above your head. Bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles flit or crawl around on pink Monarda, black-eyed Susans, yellow flowers and grasses too numerous and varied to name. Insects hum. A goldfinch flies around.

Sunny Glassberg
Provided by the family

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Sunny Glassberg, whose generosity buttressed many of St. Louis’ proudest educational, civic and cultural institutions, and who gave hundreds of single mothers and older adults a chance at a college degree, humbly and delightedly accepted the title of "the Turtle Lady."

She was so-nicknamed for "a little gem; that wonderfully whimsical Turtle Park," said Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden.