Conservation at Home-Native Trees and How to Plant Them

Trees are a cornerstone to healthy native habitats and that’s why Great Rivers Greenway likes to plant native trees wherever we can along the greenways. They not only add beauty, but they also provide a valuable resource for native wildlife. You too can help wildlife by planting native trees in your own yard. In this episode of Conservation at Home, we check in with Cory Knoblach, Community Forester for Forest ReLeaf of Missouri to learn more about the value that trees provide to our native ecology and how to choose and plant native trees of your own.


Backgrounds From The Greenways!

Finding yourself online a lot right now? Need a new desktop background or a screen for your Zoom or WebEx calls? Never fear, the greenways are here! Click the thumbnails below to download an image, ready to go so you can pretend you’re out enjoying a sunny day. Stay healthy, St. Louis!

Dardenne Greenway
River des Peres Greenway
Sunset Greenway
Meramec Greenway
Mississippi Greenway
Busch Greenway
Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail)














Conservation at Home – Invasive Plants

There are many things you can do at home to help native habitats, and one of the most impactful things you can do is remove any invasive plants that might be lurking in your yard. With their prolific seeding, plants like Bush Honeysuckle can spread to your neighbor’s yards, nearby parks and open spaces, and even our region’s stream banks. But not if you stop them before they have the chance!

Invasive plants are one of the greatest threats to our region’s biodiversity. These plants tend to be prolific seeders, and can quickly overtake woodlands, grasslands and streambanks. They are harmful to the environment, human health and can have devastating economic impacts as well.

Conservation at Home – Citizen Science

Even when sheltering-in-place, we can all pitch in and do our part for conservation, and one fun way to get involved – in your yard, at a nearby park, along a greenway or even out your back window, is through citizen science.

There are lots of ways that you and your family can get involved in citizen science. And to help you get started we have put together a list of citizen science initiatives tracking a wide array of things of interest to conservationists and scientists. You can pitch in and help them out by counting birds, tracking seasonal changes in plants and animals, taking pictures of bees, or even mapping squirrels. No matter which project you choose to participate in, you will be helping conservationists expand their data and understanding of the current state of the natural world.


  • Celebrate Urban Birds– Observe birds at the same time and place for ten minutes, repeat three times, report what you saw!
  • St. Louis Audubon Third Annual Birdathon (May 2020)-During the month of May 2020, observe the birds you see in your yard, outside your window or in a park or green space (make sure the park is open and you maintain a safe distance!) Report your findings here:


  • GLOBE Observer-Your observations help scientists track changes in clouds, water, plants, and other life in support of climate research;take your pick of what you want to observe:
  • ISeeChange- Pick an investigation that scientists are actively researching and add sightings from your own backyard, neighborhood or city:


Invasive Species

  • Midwest Invasive Species Information Network- Be a part of the early detection reporting network for invasive species:

Plant and Animal Lifecycles


Create Your Own

Recommendations for trail users on observing social distancing minimums

The National Recreation and Parks Association provides several recommendations for safe social distancing when in parks or on greenways:

  • Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use trails if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
  • Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
  • Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
  • Note that trail and park users may find public restrooms closed — be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
  • Bring water or drinks — public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
  • Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers