Nature | St. Louis Public Radio

Nature

St. Louis outdoor educator Cara Murphy teaching children in Tower Grove Park about the food web.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

It was one of the first days of spring, and Cara Murphy had her work cut out for her.

In a field in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park, the outdoor educator sat on a blanket, surrounded by more than a dozen loud and distracted children between the ages of 4 to 10. She held a large poster covered in illustrations of animals and plants. Some children pointed and named animals on the poster; a few focused more on digging up the dirt around them.

Murphy is teaching a class called "Food Web” about how animals, plants, the sun and other organisms consume energy from each other. It’s one of several classes she started teaching this year for In The Field, an outdoor education organization she recently founded.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says honeysuckle can affect lake and stream banks, marsh, fens, sedge meadow, wet and dry prairies, savannas, floodplain and upland forests and woodlands.
Missouri Department of Conservation

This week, in the hallowed halls of the historic Old Courthouse in St. Louis, a local woodworker sued a shrub.

In an educational mock trial held Wednesday, a jury heard the case against invasive bush honeysuckle. The plant was first introduced to the U.S. from eastern Asia in the 1700s and has since spread to at least 31 states, including Missouri.

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.

A new initiative aims to increase St. Louis youth's exposure and service at public outdoor spaces, like the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (pictured), through programs, job opportunities and summer camps.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

St. Louis is one of 11 cities participating in a new federal initiative to get more young people to play and, one day, possibly work or volunteer on public lands.