Learn the Untold Story of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair at “The Unfair Fair: Prejudice on the Pike” Event on May 5

The event, which will be held at the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, will feature historical re-enactments, a choir competition, interpretive information and activities for children

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, from noon to 5 p.m., residents from around the St. Louis region are invited to watch local history come alive at Missouri’s first nationally-recognized Underground Railroad site, the historic Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing. That day, area residents can experience the sights and sounds of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair from the perspective of people of color. The “Unfair Fair: Prejudice on the Pike” event will chronicle the untold story of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition that welcomed the world – except for people of color – to St. Louis. This is the 16th annual event being held at the Mary Meachum site to commemorate the historical significance of the site and the importance of African American history in St. Louis.

Residents of all ages attending the free celebration on May 5 can walk along a “Pike” on the greenway that will recreate the festivities of the 1904 World’s Fair and show how most people of color who were at the Fair were either working or were part of a display. Original, life-size photos will represent the “Anthropology Village” that featured humans on display, with information explaining how various cultures were exploited for others’ enjoyment. Visitors can also experience living history via appearances and interaction with several costumed performers on the main stage and throughout the festival site. Portrayals will also show how the people of color who did attend were segregated and treated poorly by onsite Fair vendors and others.

The event will feature music and food and drinks for purchase. Other highlights will be Vaudeville-inspired acts, a magic show by Circus Harmony, interactive science exhibits from the St. Louis Science Center as well as international acts such as Middle Eastern Dance and African drumming. Guests are welcome to come in 1904 attire or just as they are.

“The 1904 World’s Fair has shaped our region’s culture and continues to be a source of pride to this day,” said Angela da Silva, Adjunct Professor at Lindenwood University and historical reenactor director and event manager. “However, not everyone was invited to the fair, nor treated equally. While just four years earlier, the Paris Exhibition hailed an exhibit about the ‘progress of the American Negro’, back in St. Louis in 1904, people of color were treated in sub-human ways.”

The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site is located on the Mississippi River Greenway on the banks of the Mississippi River, just north of Merchant’s Bridge in North St. Louis City. (Click here for a map.) The site commemorates the work of Mary Meachum, a free woman of color who guided many slaves to freedom by helping them to cross over to the free state of Illinois, and later helped to spearhead education efforts for men, women and children of color in St. Louis.

“This event seeks to share stories from the World’s Fair that have never been told,” said Linda Harris, Senior Vice President of Administration and Compliance for Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, a partner on the event. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Missouri’s first National Underground Railroad Historic Site and let people experience the world’s fair through the eyes of people of color.”

Open to all ages, this event is free, and is a partnership of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, National Black Tourism Network, Youth & Family Center, National Underground Railroad Network, the City of St. Louis, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis County Library, Great Rivers Greenway, Missouri Historical Society, Circus Harmony, Missouri Division of Tourism, Missouri Humanities Council. For more information, visit www.MaryMeachum.org.


City of St. Louis Rerouting Half-mile Stretch of Mississippi Greenway (Riverfront Trail)

The City of St. Louis has closed public access to the Mississippi River levee between Rootwad Park and the Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. This closure impacts the half-mile segment of the Mississippi Greenway (Riverfront Trail) that passes through this area. The City of St. Louis has agreed to reroute the greenway to the “dry side” of the floodwall to maintain the connection between the downtown St. Louis Riverfront and Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.

The city has paved and striped Commercial Street as part of the new route where it will reconnect to the existing greenway north of the Stan Musial Bridge. Great Rivers Greenway will install wayfinding signage to help greenway users navigate the new route.

The City of St. Louis has taken these steps to address safety concerns raised by local industry. An ongoing issue has been unauthorized vehicles entering this area. Because it is an active levee road, it must remain accessible to vehicular traffic serving industry along the river. This has made it difficult to limit unauthorized vehicles, leading to ongoing reports of unexpected interactions and near misses between cars and bikes. This unlimited access has also lead to criminal activity, primarily during evening hours, putting the property and personnel of the businesses in this area at risk.

We appreciate the city accommodating the needs of greenway users by creating a new route.



Celebrate the Mississippi Greenway Expansion at Cliff Cave Park May 4 & 6

Ribbon Cutting  May 4 and  Community Day Celebration May 6 to Celebrate Expanded Greenway

Join us and our partners at St. Louis County Parks  to celebrate the opening of the 2-mile Mississippi Greenway expansion in South County at a ribbon cutting on Friday, May 4, and Community Celebration on Sunday May, 6 in Cliff Cave County Park. The expanded greenway makes it possible for people of all ages and abilities to explore and enjoy the upper and lower sections of the park and provides two new connections for area residents to access the park.

The $4.3 million project extends the existing 5-mile paved greenway that runs along the Mississippi River two miles up the bluff to a new scenic overlook, while also providing a direct path for residents to walk or bike to Cliff Cave County Park from Telegraph Rd. A new parking lot north of the existing entrance on Cliff Cave Road provides additional parking and restrooms for visitors, and a paved connection links the new parking lot to the scenic overlook. A 210-foot pedestrian bridge was also installed over Cliff Cave Road to connect residents to the other side of the park and scenic overlook. A separate 70-foot bridge was placed to allow residents to cross over the creek that flows from the mouth of Cliff Cave on the new greenway linking the upper and lower sections of the park. In addition to the paved greenway and bridges, the expansion features seating for people to stop and rest, and more than a thousand new native trees, shrubs, sedges and flowers to restore and boost the native ecology of the greenway.

“The expanded greenway allows people of all ages and abilities to see everything this incredible park has to offer,” says Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway. “From the soaring bluffs and wooded hillsides, to the breathtaking views of the Mississippi River—Cliff Cave Park’s natural beauty is more accessible for all to explore and enjoy.”

Area residents can see the recently completed greenway and other park improvements at two community events in early May. On Friday, May 4, at 10 a.m., project partners, contractors, and elected officials will officially open the new greenway with a ribbon cutting at the new overlook at Cliff Cave Park. Immediately following the ribbon cutting, all are welcome to explore the new greenway.

On Sunday, May 6, residents are invited to a Community Celebration from 2-4 pm in the Lower Parking Lot of Cliff Cave Park. People can choose to participate in a host of free activities and explore the new paved greenway, amenities, and existing trails within the park. The free Community Day activities include the following:
2:00 p.m. – Yoga on the Mississippi River: Yoga Buzz will lead a yoga class on the Mississippi River near the lower pavilion. Bring a yoga mat or towel.
2:30 p.m. – Hiking Class: REI representatives will lead a 45-minute hiking class to showcase the paved greenway and other trails in the park.
3:00 p.m. – Nature Walk: Residents will have the opportunity to take part in a 30-minute nature walk to learn more about the unique history and natural features found in Cliff Cave Park.

Residents can stop by anytime between 2 and 4 p.m. for music, yard games and bubbles. The Kona Ice and Walk Away Waffle Food Trucks will give away free snow cones and waffles to the first 250 visitors. Bikes and helmets will be available to rent by the hour from City Cycling Tours of St. Louis.

“The new greenway has made Cliff Cave Park more accessible for walking, riding a bike, pushing a stroller or using a wheelchair,” says Steve Stenger, St. Louis County Executive. “We encourage the community to join us on May 4 and May 6 as we celebrate the improvements to this treasured St. Louis County park.”


Chouteau Greenway Concepts Have Arrived!

Residents of the Region Invited to Give Feedback As Part Of Chouteau Greenway Design Competition

Four Concepts Will Be Displayed Online and Around the City April 6-22

Quick Links: View All Four Concepts  |  Online Survey  |  Exhibits & Events  |  Press Kit

St. Louis – April 6, 2018 – Residents of the St. Louis region have the opportunity to provide feedback on the concepts that are being considered to bring the Chouteau Greenway to life. After reviewing initial submissions from 19 design teams from throughout the world, the Chouteau Greenway Design Competition jury selected four teams in December to each develop conceptual plans. The public will be able to view those concepts either online or in person at exhibits around town beginning Friday, April 6, and will be asked to provide input through a survey before April 22.

Great Rivers Greenway is joined by ten partners in a public-private partnership to transform the city of St. Louis with a greenway that connects Washington University and Forest Park through the city to downtown and the Gateway Arch. The greenway will feature spurs north and south to connect the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, parks, business and cultural districts, employment centers, transit and dozens of cultural and educational institutions. Community members’ responses will be collected April 6-22 and will be provided to the competition jury, which will select the winning concept and team at the end of April.

“It is very important to the jury to hear the voices of St. Louisans,” said Don Stastny, competition manager. “We hope people will take the opportunity to share how they think the teams responded to the Design and Community Goals, which serve as the foundation of the competition.”

As part of the competition, each team developed a set of display boards, highlighting their overall concepts. The concepts will be on display at the Chouteau Greenway Community Kickoff Night on Tuesday, April 10 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Sheldon at 3648 Washington Blvd in the Grand Center Arts District. Residents can stop by at any point. Brief remarks by Mayor Krewson, competition manager Don Stastny and Great Rivers Greenway CEO Susan Trautman at 5:00 p.m., and brief remarks by Trautman, Stastny and project partners at 6:00 p.m. The event is open to all, with free parking, bike valet, refreshments and a cash bar. Boards will be on display at locations throughout the City of St. Louis from April 6 through 22, including the Central and Schlafly branches of the St. Louis Public Library, Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Forest Park Visitor and Education Center, Missouri History Museum, The Luminary, Covo STL, KAMP, Great Rivers Greenway, Venture Café, St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Saint Louis University.

Community members are also invited to see the teams present their plans to the jury Wednesday, April 25. The event at Harris-Stowe State University from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will be streamed on Great Rivers Greenway’s Facebook page. The full schedule and details for all of these events are available at www.ChouteauGreenway.org.

The four design teams chosen to compete have been working on their concepts since January and have met with technical and community advisers several times throughout the three-month planning process. The jury will evaluate the concepts how they address the Design and Community Goals based upon 1) Deliverables from the Team: Exhibit boards, full design report, presentation to the jury; 2) Advisory Reports: Responses from Community Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Group and Design Oversight Committee (the partners); and 3) Community Input: Surveys gathered April 6-22.

Once the jury selects the winning concept and team, the chosen team will have two months to refine its design before presenting a final concept in June 2018. The project partners then take on the task of determining how to bring the project to life, addressing funding and governance options for the project’s construction, activation and maintenance.  From the overall concept plan, specific segments will undergo further engagement, design and engineering before construction can begin.

“We are working with our partners to transform the City of St. Louis and ensure that the Chouteau Greenway creates opportunities for economic and community benefits, especially within the context of our region’s racial inequities,” said Susan Trautman, Chief Executive Officer of Great Rivers Greenway. “Let’s create a dynamic, world-class and uniquely St. Louis experience that engages our community, addresses equity and creates common ground.”

About the Chouteau Greenway Design Competition Project:

The Chouteau Greenway Design Competition is a major public-private partnership to bring a long-time vision to life. The 10-month process is a transformational project to connect Washington University and Forest Park through our city to Downtown and the Gateway Arch, with spurs north and south to connect our city’s vibrant neighborhoods, parks, business and arts districts, employment centers, transit and dozens of cultural and educational institutions. The Chouteau Greenway is part of the overall network of greenways being built by Great Rivers Greenway and partners. The competition is privately funded by Arch to Park Collaborative, Forest Park Forever, Grand Center Inc., Great Rivers Greenway Foundation, Green Street St. Louis, Lawrence Group, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis and Washington University Medical Center, with the City of St. Louis as a major partner. For more information, visit www.ChouteauGreenway.org.

About Great Rivers Greenway:

Great Rivers Greenway is the public agency connecting the St. Louis region with greenways, with 117 miles built so far. St. Louisans decided to leave a legacy for future generations by investing in and connecting together some of our region’s best assets – rivers, parks and communities. A vote of the people in the year 2000 created a sales tax that allows us, with lots of partner and citizen input, to build, care for and bring to life the network of greenways, creating healthy habitats and watersheds along the way. Greenways help residents and visitors explore and enjoy the region and live life outside. For more information, visit www.GreatRiversGreenway.org.

Murray Award – City of St. Charles

In memory of Mike Murray, who was always grounded in the mission and collaborative model of Great Rivers Greenway, nonprofit, municipal, government or corporate partners that go above and beyond the call of duty to contribute to the mission of Great Rivers Greenway over the course of a given year will be recognized annually. This year, we celebrate the City of St. Charles. Read on about their dedication and celebrate with the community on April 7!

The City of St. Charles strengthens the collaboration with Great Rivers Greenway to make the St. Louis region a more vibrant place to live, work and play by developing a network of greenway to connect people to our rivers, parks and communities. The dedication and commitment of City staff, elected officials, residents and business owners to enriching the quality of life for residents and visitors is evidenced by their spirit of partnership.

As the operations and maintenance partner on the Boschert Greenway, the willingness and capacity of City staff to care for the greenway allowed for unique enhancements to the greenway such as the Living Wall of native grasses and the bicycle-themed public art sculpture. The planning, design and construction of the first two phases of the Boschert Greenway were led by Great Rivers Greenway in partnership with the City of St. Charles. Currently, the City of St. Charles is championing the expansion of the third phase of the Boschert Greenway expansion by acquiring an abandoned railway and integrating the design of the greenway with the Foundry Arts Centre. Also near the Boschert Greenway, the City of St. Charles worked with Boeing Missile Defense to create a walking and bicycling connection between the defense facility and the Katy Trail so that the large number of employees who use active transportation to get to and from work have a more safe and convenient connection. This project also has an on-street facility that connects up Little Hills Expressway to the Boschert Greenway from Boeing. This collaboration has increased the impact on the community by creating additional connections to residences, businesses, places of employment, and cultural destinations in Historic St. Charles and has increased the programming opportunities on the Boschert Greenway.

In 2016, the City of St. Charles worked with consultants Trailnet, Heartlands Conservancy and Alta Planning and Design to develop a citywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The plan was guided by a Steering Committee made up of city staff, elected officials, and representatives from the Parks and Recreation Board, School District, Lindenwood University, local bicycle shop, Delta Center for Independent Living, County Highway Department, Chamber of Commerce, MoDOT, area residents, and Great Rivers Greenway. This plan includes a review of existing conditions and recommendations for walking and bicycling education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and engineering. Route maps for both walking and bicycling were identified along with design guidelines and funding sources. The plan identified and implemented a public engagement process throughout its development. The City of St. Charles Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was presented to City Council in November 2016.

Since 2013, the City of St. Charles has been working with Great Rivers Greenway to expand the Centennial Greenway over highways 364 and 94 to connect residents in St. Charles City and County, and St. Peters with their rivers, parks and communities in St. Charles and across the Missouri River in St. Louis County. The City of St. Charles played an integral role in engaging residents and elected officials in the development of this project. Once complete, the City of St. Charles will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the bridges over 364/94. Though the construction will not be complete until 2018, the City of St. Charles has proactively included bridge inspections in their maintenance contract. The City of St. Charles cites the successful collaborations with agencies and neighboring municipalities such as St. Charles County, MoDOT, the City of St. Peters, and Great Rivers Greenway for their ability to go above and beyond in their spirit of partnership that is necessary to execute the citizens’ vision for the Centennial Greenway.

As stated in their Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, “The City of St. Charles is an attractive destination for tourists, families, and businesses alike. The City has numerous enjoyable and walkable attractions, including historic Main Street, the Katy Trail, and the scenic Missouri River. Creating stronger multi-modal connections to these destinations will provide healthier, safer, and more economical options for both tourists and residents.” The City of St. Charles recognizes the power of partnerships in connecting people to the destinations within their city via greenways and connecting people to the greenways as standalone destinations. The City of St. Charles staff, elected officials, residents and business owners are excellent partners of Great Rivers Greenway who give plentifully of their time and resources. Their vision for making the region a more vibrant place to live, work and play extends beyond municipal boundaries and considers the greenways as connections to our rivers, parks, communities and the larger St. Louis region.

Open Application: Artist of Color Council

Great Rivers Greenway is seeking applicants for an Artist of Color Council for the Chouteau Greenway project. We value art as an integral part of the project and are grateful to the interest, passion and expertise of local artists of color who have thoughtfully helped us shape a program to ensure opportunity, representation and engagement.


Artists from Freedom Arts & Education center led a community mural project for Chouteau Greenway Community Day in January 2018











The Artists of Color Council will provide guidance to Great Rivers Greenway, their partners and their vendors to create a local art program as part of an overall art program for the Chouteau Greenway projects. The Council will make recommendations on the local art program and providing feedback on the non-local elements. The goals are to design, promote and implement opportunities for local artists of color as part of the Chouteau Greenway, engaging the community along the way and ensuring that the art is representative and welcoming to the communities the Chouteau Greenway serves.


  • Ensure that opportunities for local artists of color are well-promoted in the St. Louis region by both designing a process that meets people where they are and helping to promote the program and opportunities.
  • Ensure that the community is engaged with both the creation and delivery of art projects within the greenway.
  • Ensure that the artists selected or commissioned locally are representative and reflective of the communities the Chouteau Greenway serves.
  • Ensure that the artwork selected or commissioned locally is representative and reflective of the communities the Chouteau Greenway serves.

COUNCIL OBJECTIVES(unless otherwise stated, all items are related to the Chouteau Greenway)

  • In collaboration with the selected Design Team, create a local art program as part of the overall art program that is fully integrated with the selected Design Concept.
  • Use the Design Goals and Community Goals from the Chouteau Greenway Design Competition as guiding principles for establishing said local art program including community engagement.
  • Collaborate with the existing City of St. Louis policies and/or Regional Arts Commission to comply with all laws and policy regarding public art.
  • Identify partners, existing projects and programs in the area for possible collaboration or inclusion on an ongoing basis.
  • Evaluate this council as a pilot model for possible future use on other greenways throughout the region.
  • Form a nominating committee to ensure that the Artist Council maintains a grounded, diverse group of people according to the criteria listed above.


  • Applicants can submit April 3rd through 30th
  • A core group of local artists of color (compensated positions) will meet May 1st to review applications and select council members, conduct an orientation. Those artists include:
    • Pacia Anderson, spoken word artist, poet, writer, visual and teaching artist
    • Syrhea Conaway, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, private instructor and teaching artist
    • Ron Himes, Founder and Producing Director of the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company
    • Kahlil Irving, multimedia artist – designer, writer, potter, curator
    • Robert Powell, Founder, Portfolio Gallery, artist, educator
  • Council will meet May 23 as part of the refinement workshop with the selected design team.


Members shall:

  • Possess a deep and genuine commitment to the advancement and evolution of communities in the St. Louis region
  • Respect and honor the voices of fellow Council members
  • Commit to a one, two or three year term (several members of each term length to begin, to stagger the board turnover) with three year terms being the standard of any new members after the first year
  • Commit to spend up to 10 hours per month:
    • Including (projected) six two-hour meetings and six one-hour phone calls in a calendar year
    • Including time spent independently promoting, passing info along, getting the word out to and gathering feedback from artists and community leaders
      • This can and should take many forms, meeting the community where they are. The Council and Great Rivers Greenway will create a plan that helps to reach underrepresented artists and even those who may not identify as artists.
    • This does not include on the ground work, meetings or time commitments outside of the above, running community programs or events. That work is not expected of this group and will be completed through Great Rivers Greenway and/or consultants.
      • Note: Members of the artist council could work with Great Rivers Greenway on these efforts through their normal procurement process, it is just not expected within the scope and stipend for the Artist Council position.
  • Receive a stipend of $7,000 for each year that is served in good standing. Members that attend 75% of the 12 annual meetings (in any format) are in good standing.
  • Candidates for the Council shall represent a diversity of the following:
    • Medium or mediums for art work or installations,
    • Demographics (reflecting the demographics of St. Louis City – investigate how to involve and pay youth)
    • Geography (within St. Louis City)
    • Experience (institutional, individual, community)

COUNCIL RESPONSIBILITIES(unless otherwise stated, all items are related to the Chouteau Greenway)

  • Artist Council will meet on May 23, 2018 for the following:
    • Orientation to the project, competition process, role of Council
    • Participation in the refinement workshop with the selected Design Team for the competition’s winning concept with Great Rivers Greenway and the Competition Manager to provide feedback to any public art and representation considerations.
    • Establishment of meeting schedule and activities for the next year of the Council.
  • As projects prepare to move forward, council will continue to collaborate with the Design Team and Great Rivers Greenway, reviewing the conceptual plan for any given segment and, if appropriate, providing guidance to design a local art program for that segment, recommending:
    • Partnership opportunities
    • Engagement/community consultation opportunities
    • Mechanisms to solicit local art (commission, call for art, thematic direction, etc)
    • Promotional and channels for all of the above
    • Feedback on any non-local elements of the overall art program
  • Great Rivers Greenway and/or consultants will take on the work to compile feedback and draft plans for the Artist Council to review before implementation. It is the intent of Great Rivers Greenway to follow the Artist Council’s directives as closely as possible, doing due diligence for any feasibility or legal concerns and bringing any concerns to the Council to discuss alternatives.
  • For other non-local elements of the overall art program, this Council will review and offer feedback to GRG and partners in their decision making.
  • Outside of meetings, assist in the promotion and distribution of opportunities such as calls for art, engagement opportunities such as programs and events, including targeted outreach to the council’s networks.
  • During implementation, review responses to calls for art, feedback from the community and provide recommendations to move forward with implementation.
  • Continue to recruit new Council members to maintain a strong, diverse group to carry out this mission.


An “Art program” is the integration of art into any given project, can include:

  • Integration into design plans, such as artistic elements in the design of infrastructure or accommodation of amenities and features that champion future art and programs, such as performance spaces, lighting and power
  • Solicitation (in many forms) of public art (many disciplines) from local artists
  • Development of programs and events that take place along the greenway
  • Engagement of the community in the planning, creation and implementation of pieces and/or programs

Chouteau Greenway has a Design Competition running now (through June 2018) for an overall conceptual plan for connecting Forest Park to the Arch, with meaningful connections to the neighborhoods north and south and the multitude of destinations in between. Once the competition is done in June, the plan will be broken down into greenway projects that are part of the conceptual plan. As those projects are ready to move forward (might be a mile or two at a time), Great Rivers Greenway will collaborate with this Council before andt also during the design, engineering and construction phases.


When 19 teams submitted their qualifications for the Chouteau Greenway Design Competition, the jury had a robust discussion about many topics, most notably:

  • The importance of representation and ties to St. Louis to fully understand the complicated history and context of the project
  • How this project can be a model for building a just city
  • Which teams had the capacity to implement such a complex infrastructure project

While the jury felt confident that the four teams chosen had the capacity to bring this vision to life, they also issued the following challenge:

“The Jury looks forward to the creative energy implied in the proposals, but encourages the four finalist teams to bolster their local St. Louis representation, community engagement, and racial diversity. If ever there was a time or a project to reveal what a ‘just city’ looks like, this could be it. Great Rivers Greenway and the Project Partners have begun the difficult and uncomfortable conversations, and the Jury would like to see the design teams carry forward and build upon that courage.”

While teams are evolving and adding members, Great Rivers Greenway seeks an additional avenue to ensure success through this Artists of Color Council.

Spring Ephemerals and Wildflowers: Now Showing on a Greenway Near You!

If you want to enjoy spring’s loveliest—and most fleeting—display of colorful wildflowers, it’s time to plan a trip to a greenway near you! April and May are peak showtime for a variety of colorful perennials emerging from their winter slumber.

Thanks to the longer days and warming temperatures, little splashes of color will soon appear on the forest floor and along the banks of creeks and streams. Known as “spring ephemerals,” these wildflowers bloom early, linger briefly, and disappear before the trees are leafed out. This dazzling show of spring color is only a limited engagement, so take time to see the flowers before they are gone. No ticket is required to visit a greenway, and you’re guaranteed a front row seat whether you are on foot or bike!

Here are a few of the native wildflowers you can see along the greenways this spring:

Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

One of the most stunning early spring wildflowers! Buds are pink, turning to light blue blooms. Plants grow up to two feet tall and are often found in large groups.

Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Pink, sometimes white spring wildflower that resembles a series of miniature white knee breeches hanging on a clothes line. (Note: these can be irritating to your skin. Do not touch!)

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

These are the most widely distributed early spring flower in Missouri. White or pink with distinct pink veining on the petals.

Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna)

The flowers of blue-eyed Mary are 2-lipped: the upper lip is 2-lobed and white; the lower lip is 3-lobed and sky blue (rarely purple or white). This is one of the few Missouri wildflowers that is truly “blue.”

Wake Robin or Trillium (Trillium sessile)

The flower of wake robin, or trillium, has 3 petals and 3 sepals, and 3 leaves that subtend the solitary flower. The petal color varies in this common woodland spring wildflower, but it is most commonly brownish or maroon.

Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

As pretty as this wildflower is, the common name “Jacob’s Ladder” comes from its leaves, which made people think of the story from Genesis in which Jacob dreams of a ladder reaching up to heaven.

Best Greenways for Viewing Wildflowers

Some of the greenways provide better habitat than others for spring ephemerals and wildflowers. Those that meander through forests, across bottom land, or other conservation areas are your best bet for a colorful show. Take your pick of the following (or plan to visit them all this spring!):

Busch Greenway: Katy Trail to Missouri Research Park to August A. Busch Conservation Area
Where to look: There are two prime viewing spots along this greenway; the forest bottom between Missouri Research Park and the Katy Trail as well as the portion of the greenway that meanders through the Weldon Spring Conservation Area.

Deer Creek Greenway: Deer Creek Park
Where to look: We have been working with a variety of partners to clear out invasive honeysuckle along Deer Creek. Look for wildflowers along the banks and edge of Deer Creek.

Meramec Greenway: Glencoe to Sherman Beach Park
Where to look: The bottomland forest along Rock Hollow Trail is known for its showy display of bluebells. You can find all of the wildflowers listed above along this greenway. Note that recent flooding has left some debris on the Al Foster Trail.

Meramec Greenway: Lower Meramec Park
Where to look: This greenway meanders through forested areas and open fields and is considered one of the best remaining woodlands in the lower Meramec valley. You should be able to see a variety of wildflowers in this area.

Missouri Greenway: Earth City Levee
Where to look: The best place for wildflowers along this greenway is in the section that loops through Bridgeton’s Riverwoods Park. Note that due to construction, you can only access the greenway and Riverwoods Park from St. Charles Rock Road.

Please Don’t Pick the Wildflowers!

Because these flowers are so beautiful, it can be tempting to want to pick them or dig them up for transplanting. Not only is this unsightly, it also removes an important food source for pollinators and other animals. Because the plant’s life cycle is so short, animals that might eat the foliage have only a brief opportunity to consume them.  Enjoy the flowers, snap a picture, and leave them where they are! If you would like to add beautiful native flowers to your garden, you can find ethical plant nurseries and other resources here.

Wildflower photos and plant information are all courtesy of the  Missouri Department of Conservation. To learn more about what plants and animals to look for during every season, visit their website here.

Greenway Greetings

Join Us for Neighborhood Walks on the St. Vincent and Centennial Greenways!

Get to know your neighbors and the neighbors of another greenway on a 90 minute walk followed by a picnic in Forest Park.

St. Vincent Greenway Walk: Saturday May 19- 9am to noon
Meet at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park at 9am. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the St. Vincent Greenway to Trojan Park and back. After the walk, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in Forest Park. (food provided!)

Centennial Greenway Walk: Saturday June 16- 9am to noon
Meet at the corner of Skinker/Forsyth in Forest Park at 9am. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the Centennial Greenway to Vernon Avenue and back. After the walk, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in Forest Park. (food provided!)

Rain date for both events is June 23, 2018. We will notify you via email if we need to postpone the walk. For more information, call 314-436-7009.

Preregistration is required so we can plan for the picnic lunch. Please register below. Thank you!

Greenway Greetings Registration

Volunteers Remove 80 Yards of Trash, 5 Tons of Scrap Metal, 100 Tires (and a Boat!) at March 10 Meramec Greenway Cleanup

It’s amazing to see what 128 hardworking volunteers can do to improve the native ecology of the Meramec River watershed in a single Saturday! On March 10, we were thrilled to support two cleanup efforts in the Meramec Greenway.

Meramec Greenway: Pacific
In Pacific, The Ozark Trail Association, Pacific River Walk Trail Association and more than 40 volunteers joined forces to clear trash and debris along the Meramec River. The goal of the cleanup was to remove trash, invasive plants, and two dilapidated cabins along the route of a planned riverfront park in Pacific that will eventually link the Meramec Greenway, the City of Eureka and the Ozark Trail.

Thanks to the hardworking volunteers—and two expert equipment operators—the group removed more than 30 cubic yards of trash and debris left on the property by past floods. Volunteers also removed invasive plants, benefiting the native ecology of the Meramec River watershed.

Meramec Greenway: Lower Meramec Park
The Open Space Council kicked off their 51st Annual Operation Clean Stream with a special winter clean up near lower Meramec Park. More than 88 volunteers pitched in to remove scrap tires, debris, and other litter to improve the overall quality of the watershed and improve open spaces.
At the end of the day, they removed 5 tons of scrap metal, 50 cubic yards of trash and 100 tires.

Many hands make light work and we rely on the support of partners like the Open Space Council along with volunteers to maintain the greenways and improve our region’s watersheds. If you would like to learn more about the Open Space Council’s Operation Clean Stream, visit their website here. If you would like to receive updates and information about volunteer opportunities, sign up for our quarterly volunteer newsletter here.

Bringing Nature Back Into Your Yard


Just as the native plantings and raingardens along the greenways add beauty, slow water runoff, reduce maintenance, and create pollinator habitat, you can enjoy the same benefits in your own backyard.

If you’ve been thinking about incorporating Missouri Native plants into your landscape, or creating a rain garden to manage storm water, there’s no time like the present to plan your garden!

Here are some helpful resources from across the region to help you learn more about native plants and rainscaping:

The Shaw Nature Reserve and Missouri Department of Conservation offer a free, Native Landscaping Manual online. You can find it here.

Native Plant School is a year-round series of mostly outdoor learning sessions in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve.   Their website offers a wealth of information including monthly newsletters, along with other home gardener tools. Click here to search.

Detailed information on rainscaping can be found on the Missouri Botanical Garden’s website here.

BiodiverseCity St. Louis is “a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities.” Click here to learn more.

Grow Native! is a native plant marketing and education program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Grow Native! helps protect and restore biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use in urban, suburban, and rural developed landscapes. Visit their website to learn more.

The St. Louis Audubon Society’s “Bring Conservation Home” program provides on-site assistance to small, private landowners  in the greater St. Louis area for the restoration of native plant and animal habitat on their grounds. Click here to learn more.

Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscape “encourages landscaping with native plants in residential, business and public landscapes.” Click here to visit the St. Louis chapter website.

Dig in now so you’ll be ready to get to work this spring. Happy planting!