Forest Park | St. Louis Public Radio

Forest Park

Caleb Smith plans to skate 100 miles Saturday to raise money for his cousin Shannon Donavan's medical recovery.
Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith is 100 miles away from a goal he’s been planning for about a month. It’s a in-line skating challenge that will take him throughout the St. Louis area this Saturday.

“I’m going to be starting at 4:45 in the morning,” Smith said. “I project that it’ll take right around 10 hours.”

Dedication Ceremony for Loop Trolley at Delmar Hall.  Nov. 15, 2018
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

The Delmar Loop Trolley was scheduled to welcome riders today for the first time. But the storm that dumped several inches of snow across the region Wednesday night put the breaks on the long awaited launch.

“We’ve waited this long,” said Loop Trolley Company executive director Kevin Barbeau, “What’s one more day?”

Barbeau said the trolley cars will be able to function in any kind weather. But the safety committee didn’t think it was prudent to begin service undersuch inclement conditions.

A boy goes head first down Art Hill on Thursday. He and hundreds of others enjoy a rare November snow storm by sledding in Forest Park. Nov. 15, 2018
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis shut down for a snow day Thursday but that just meant Forest Park’s Art Hill was bustling.

Hundreds of sledders bundled up and hurdled down the iconic hill for a snow day tradition, using anything to make it down, from lunch trays to snowboards, to a kayak.

“You can’t pass this up,” said Matt Strucker, who skipped work to sled for the morning with his wife, Becky, a teacher who had the day off.

The Avett Brothers at LouFest 2015
File photo | Jess Luther | St. Louis Public Radio

When the organizers of LouFest canceled the event, the news came as a shock to many, though signs of the festival’s distress had been apparent. The festival’s promoter, Listen Live Entertainment, insisted that everything was fine until the moment it pulled the plug.

The announcement identified several causes including the loss of key sponsors, debt and expected rain. Organizers insisted the festival had been on target “until a bit of unfortunately timed media coverage caused many of our vendors and artists to demand up-front payment.”

The Muny is looking to extend its lease to 2071, and free up some funds earmarked for parking lot upkeep. A city fund for that purpose has a surplus of approximately $180,000. 6/14/18
The Muny

Directly behind the stage at the Muny on a recent morning, workers were hammering, sawing and welding together sets that will appear onstage this season, in some of the theater’s seven productions.

“As we’re performing one show at night we’re actually building two to three other shows during the day,” said Sean Smith, the operations director for the outdoor theater. “We’re finishing up sets for the opening on Monday but then we’re also looking at the next few shows, building for ‘The Wiz,’ which is coming up next.”

As it begins its 100th season this week, the Municipal Theater Association of St. Louis has one eye on the past. But it has another on the future, in the form of series of planned renovations due to be completed after this summer season and before the 2019 campaign.

Tom Ridgely co-founded Waterwell theater company 15 years ago. The organization has developed and produced over a dozen world premieres and adaptations of classics. He began working with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis in mid-May.
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The new head of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is promising to put more women and minorities in leadership roles within the organization.

Incoming executive producer Tom Ridgely comes to St. Louis from New York, where he founded and directed Waterwell Theater, a company focused on presenting new works — and was committed to diversity — Ridgely said.

Shakespeare Festival presented "Winter's Tale" as its 2017 mainstage production in Forest Park.
Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has named Tom Ridgely of New York to fill the post of  executive producer, which includes both artistic and leadership roles.

Ridgley comes to St. Louis from New York City’s Waterwell theater company, which he founded in 2002. He replaces Rick Dildine, who headed Shakespeare Festival St. Louis for eight years.

Replacement of the Liberal Arts Bridge was one of the projects funded by "Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park's Future."
Forest Park Forever

Forest Park Forever has raised more than $139 million in gifts and pledges to fund needed improvements and to ensure the long-term care of Forest Park, the private nonprofit conservancy announced Wednesday.

Forest Park Forever partners with the city of St. Louis to care for the 1,300-acre park.

Artist rendering of a new MetroLink station being constructed between Boyle Avene and Sarah Street, the first segment of the proposed Chouteau Greenway.
Great Rivers Greenway

Great Rivers Greenway will introduce four teams vying to design the proposed Chouteau Greenway at two public events the first week of January.

A jury of nine local and international experts chose the four teams to advance in a design competition that was announced last fall, said Susan Trautman, chief executive officer of the agency.

The Muny's 100th season includes several favorites that will return to the stage of the outdoor theater.
Provided | The Muny

The Muny outdoor theater today announced a 100th season that honors its St. Louis heritage, classic musicals and the African-American rendition of Dorothy’s journey into Oz.

The banner season includes several favorites such as “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Muny-goers last saw the musical about the tribulations of a St. Louis family against the backdrop of the 1904 World’s Fair nine years ago.

Sept. 30, 2017. Dail Chambers works on a piece called A Song for the Black Rising at the St.ART event. Chambers said the piece examines repetition and and reflects the Jason Stockley verdict protests and the 20th-century Great Migration.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The two-day St.ART festival this weekend is billed as a street art event, but it takes places in parks, not streets.

It opened Saturday at Langenberg Field in Forest Park with local artists including Basil Kincaid, Cbabi Bayoc and Peat Wollaeger covering 8- by 10-foot canvasses with mostly black and white materials including paint, spray paint and quilted pieces.

The stark images represent deep divisions within the St. Louis community, said organizer Michael Tompkins.

“The segregation, not just in race, but also in the socioeconomic divide,” Tompkins said.

Replacement of the Liberal Arts Bridge was one of the projects funded by "Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park's Future."
Forest Park Forever

A $3.1 million project in Forest Park begins Tuesday with the demolition of a bridge that connects Government Drive to Pagoda Circle, requiring visitors to find a detour through the park until construction is completed.  

The Liberal Arts Bridge is one of the last of the bridges in the park slated for replacement, said Lesley Hoffarth, president of Forest Park Forever. The site is between the Boathouse and The Muny.

Forest Park turns 140 years old this year.
henskechristine | Flickr

Whether you’re new to St. Louis or you’ve been here a long time, you’ve probably heard the factoid that Forest Park is bigger than New York’s Central Park by nearly 500 acres, clocking in at a total of 1,293 acres. It’s one of the many things we love about the park.

But how did the park come to be and how has it changed over time to become what it is today?

A pond inside the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest in Forest Park. July 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecologist Amy Witt of Forest Park Forever was leading a nature walk through the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest, a wooded habitat on the park’s southwestern edge. There are trees here that are older than the 1,300-acre park, which the city of St. Louis opened in 1876.

“They’re awesome. Right? We have some really old trees. We have some really young trees. That’s the natural regeneration of a forest and of a habitat,’’ Witt said. “We are called Forest Park for a reason.’’

Campers listen to Katie Dreas of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explain foliage during a summer camp at Little Creek Nature Center on July 17, 2017.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Children benefit from a balanced diet of screen time and outdoors time, studies show.

In the St. Louis area, several camps and summer youth jobs focus on environmental education and exploration. St. Louis Public Radio visited a smattering of them to see what kids are learning.

File photo: Under the leadership of Rick Dildine, attendance at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has grown by 55 percent and contributed revenue has increased 38 percent.
Provided | Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

The executive and artistic director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is resigning to take another job.

Rick Dildine will become artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on Aug. 1.

Dildine, who joined the St. Louis organization in 2009, resigned once before, in 2014. He took a similar position in Lennox, Massachusetts and returned one year later.

Bombus balteatus, commonly known as the golden-belted bumblebee, pollinates a sky pilot in Colorado.
Candace Galen

When  a native bee received federal protection under the Endangered Species Act for the first time earlier this year, it drew an attention to a growing public concern.

Many  bee species in the United States have become threatened or have declined sharply in the last couple decades. Since native bees are crucial to pollinating crops, scientists are making a major push to keep track of them.

Researchers at Webster University and the Saint Louis Zoo are inviting residents to help the effort by leading a bee photo survey in Forest Park this Saturday. Images taken at the St. Louis Bee Blitz will help scientists better understand the abundance of various native species that live in the area.

Workers attach straps to the granite top of the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park on June 8, 2017.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated at 11:20 a.m. June 8th with removal of statue's top — Work began Thursday morning in Forest Park to take down the controversial Confederate Memorial.

Crews removed the top of the statue a day after the St. Louis streets department set up barricades in the area. A spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson said it will take a while to remove the monument completely.

Forest Park Forever Nature Works field coordinator Billy Haag holds a turtle trap at a manmade waterway in the park.
Courtesy of Forest Park Forever

Scientists have started to take stock of the turtles that live in Forest Park to protect them from upcoming construction projects and improve their habitat.

The project, called the Wildlife Impact Mitigation and Inventory Plan, aims to catalog the different species that live in the park, particularly along a 2.5-mile waterway. 

Forest Park’s trolley service adds 2nd route

Apr 13, 2017
Forest Park Trolleys will operate on two routes beginning Saturday, April 13 2017.
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

Beginning Saturday, the Forest Park bus trolley will have two routes instead of one. The blue route and green route will serve attractions in the western and eastern parts of the park separately.

 

The two different routes will help with passenger convenience and easier navigation through the park, said Ray Friem, executive director of Metro Transit.

 

Charles and Samantha, the new "it" couple from the community of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park.
Mark Glenshaw | Forest Park Owls

“The Bachelor” has returned to the airwaves this week but even that reality television show would be hard pressed to measure up to the level of drama, intrigue and flirtation found among a community of Great Horned Owls that make their home in Forest Park.

Mark Glenshaw has been observing the lotharios and seductresses of the owl community for the past 11 years in Forest Park. He describes this year’s owl happenings as more dramatic than most.

A comparison of improved crosswalks and additional sidewalks before and after the project on Government and Wells Drives.
Provided | Forest Park Forever

Another long-awaited construction project is coming to Forest Park.

The southwest entrance to the park off Skinker Boulevard is closing Wednesday for six months so workers can rebuild the sections of Government Drive and Wells Drive leading up to the St. Louis Zoo’s paid parking lots.

Forest Park Forever president and executive director Lesley Hoffarth said public input will help guide future changes and upgrades at the city's most well-known green space.
Flickr |ChrisYunker

A new MetroLink station and improved bike lanes are among nine possible long-range strategies being considered to transform how people get around St. Louis’ Forest Park.

St. Louis officials and Forest Park Forever, a nonprofit group, reviewed the results of public input over the course of nine months, including 1,300 responses to an online survey and comments from open house meetings. They publicly presented the refined list of suggested improvements during an open house Thursday.

Bjorn Ranheim of The 442s warms up while awaiting a collaborator.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

When 15-year-old Caroline Luethy saw a lime-green piano in Forest Park, she was immediately taken by the chance to play in a lush setting.

Luethy, of Groton, Conn., approached the piano with a mix of anxiety and excitement. She sat down and started to improvise with chords, evoking a somber moment, like that of a movie soundtrack.

Forest Park turns 140 years old this year.
henskechristine | Flickr

St. Louisans have plenty to be proud of when it comes to Forest Park. In the summer, the park is bustling with musicals, plays, cool museums and many other recreational activities. Recently, the park was voted the best urban park in the United States by USA Today. It also made it onto a list of the nation’s best city parks, curated by Thrillist.

Nancy Anderson as Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
J. David Levy | Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

It has been a bloody two summers in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.

“The past two years have been a lot of death on stage,” said Rick Dildine, artistic and executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. “There is a high body count. Henry IV, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra … I wanted something that ended with marriage and happiness.”

Austin and Ryan Jacobs share the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Tim Carter is with Ryan on the right. Carter plays the role of Oberan.
J. David Levy

“What fools these mortals be!” Puck famously utters in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

St. Louis audiences may be fooled in Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' production that lets the spritely Puck be two places at once.  The secret?  Puck is played by identical twins, Austin and Ryan Jacobs, transplants from Houston.

The brothers, who just graduated from Webster University, join us for our latest Cut & Past podcast to talk about sharing the role in the play and a childhood on the stage. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens Friday in Forest Park.

Flo Rida
Flickr Creative Commons |Flo Rida Wild Ones Tour T-Mobile ROCK4G and Walmart Soundcheck

Fair St. Louis announced today that Lee Brice, Sammy Hagar and Flo Rida will headline Fair St. Louis this July Fourth weekend. The announcement confirms one headliner that was leaked earlier in the year and reveals two more. George Clinton's appearance on July 4 had also been disclosed previously.

Three artists to receive $3,000 for Forest Park residency

Feb 19, 2016
Image from Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park's Future
Provided by Michael Eastman and Forest Park Forever

Forest Park Forever is celebrating its 30th anniversary by giving three artists $3,000 each.

The money is a stipend for three, three-week-long residencies in the park from May to September. Stephen Schenkenberg, the organization’s strategic communications director, says the project’s intended to answer the question:

“How can we celebrate in a way that the community ultimately gets something new, someone’s new interpretation or expression of what the park means?”

Charles stretches.
Mark Glenshaw

On December 29, Mark Glenshaw celebrated his 10th anniversary of monitoring a pair of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park. The amateur naturalist made his first appearance on “St. Louis on the Air” two years ago to introduce listeners to the pair he had dubbed Charles and Sarah. In April of this year he returned to report on the birth of the couple’s offspring, a pair of owlets whom he later named Harold and Grace. At that time he described the parents as the “Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt” of Great Horned Owls.

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