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Saint Louis Zoo Unveils Plans for the Henry A. Jubel Foundation Destination Discovery

Tasmanian devils and babydoll sheep are ambassadors for shrinking forest habitat and how human activity interacts with the sustainability of wild animal populations. The immersive Tasmanian devil exhibit, one of only three devil exhibits in the U.S., features a climb-through tree trunk with a wildlife underpass, allowing the devils to reach both sides of the habitat. This area offers guests a great opportunity to learn about wild animals living in communities with people. Artist renderings courtesy Saint Louis Zoo.

The new experience for children and families will have animal adventures at every turn. The target public opening is planned for 2026.

The Saint Louis Zoo recently shared plans for the new experience for children and families on site of the current Emerson Dinoroarus, formerly Emerson Children’s Zoo.

“Thanks to an incredibly generous $15 million lead gift from the Henry A. Jubel Foundation, we are able to carry forward the goal of the previous Children’s Zoo by providing dynamic experiences for children and families that will inspire a love of animals and learning, but in new and innovative ways,” said Dwight Scott, Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “Destination Discovery will have animal adventures at every turn. You will be able to explore and play side by side with animals, building connections to the natural world.”

Development of the 2.8-acre Henry A. Jubel Foundation Destination Discovery is estimated to cost $40 million with funding coming from a variety of sources, including philanthropy. With a target public opening slated for 2026, construction will begin in 2024. The temporary exhibit Dinoroarus will close Nov. 5, 2023.
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Celebrate National Trails Day at Washington State Park June 3, 2023

Washington State Park will host a series of events from 2 to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 3, to celebrate National Trails Day.


Petroglyph Tour: 2 p.m. at Petroglyph Site
Washington State Park team members will offer a tour of the petroglyphs, the park’s history carved in stone! Learn about the Mississippian-era carvings, the culture and community who created them, along with possible interpretations. Enjoy a short walk on a covered walkway with interpretive panels highlighting the cultural features.

Build a Hiking Kit: 4 p.m. at Thunderbird Lodge
Join us to build a hiking kit with essentials you may need to use on the trail.

Bigfoot Hike: 7 p.m. at Campground Amphitheater
Does Bigfoot live in Washington State Park? There’s only one way to find out! Listen to tales of Bigfoot at the amphitheater and then go on a guided hike to see if you can spot him in the wild.

Washington State Park is located at 13041 State Highway 104 in De Soto. For more information, contact the park at 636-586-5768.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Local Bird Photographer Paul Moffet Presents Work at Powder Valley Nature Center on June 2

A bald eagle approaches a tree in this image by local bird photographer, Paul Moffett. Moffet will present Birds of the Mississippi/Missouri Confluence, on Friday, June 2 from 7-9 p.m., at Powder Valley Nature Center.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) welcomes local bird photographer Paul Moffet to Powder Valley Nature Center for a special presentation, Birds of the Mississippi/Missouri Confluence, on Friday, June 2 from 7-9 p.m.  Moffet will present examples of his work on the large, high resolution video array in the nature center’s auditorium.

Moffett is also Powder Valley’s featured artist for the month of June.  His work will be on display in the nature center’s exhibit hall.

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Seed St. Louis Partners with One Tree Planted

Seed St. Louis (formerly Gateway Greening), has partnered with One Tree Planted to double the capacity of the Giving Grove program, allowing it to grow from the current 70-100 trees planted per year in the St. Louis region, to 200 trees in 2023.

“With this grant I’m excited to be able to build upon the orchards already in our network as well as add new orchards. These funds will help our Giving Grove program be more accessible to communities in the region by greatly reducing the costs for the trees.” Said Dean Gunderson, Director of Education, Seed St. Louis.

Pollution is a significant factor in St. Louis; the American Lung Association has ranked St. Louis one of the 25 most polluted cities in the U.S.

According to a study of EPA data released in 2020, St. Louis has the 12th worst ranking for air quality in the U.S., with an average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 54, a Max AQI of 182 and 206 days per year of unhealthy air quality.

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Tornado Season Tips: Have A Plan For “Toto” When Storms Bring High Winds

Photos curtesy the Humane Society.

by Don Corrigan

Aunt Em and Uncle Henry could have done a much better job protecting Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, when that terrible Kansas tornado hit in 1939. The infamous storm launched the beloved twosome to the Land of Oz.

Your little Toto could fare much better in 2023. That’s because today’s weather experts excel at predicting and tracking tornadic storms. Also, animal care experts now offer plenty of tips for protecting pets when storms hit.

A severe storm in April dropped several tornados in the St. Louis area, including one in Fenton that was briefly headed toward Kirkwood. The recent outbreak prompted the Humane Society of Missouri to issue a tip sheet on storms and pets.

“With the recent tornado warnings across the state, the Humane Society decided to take time to remind pet owners of several essential tips to ensure the safety of their furry friends, and all their pets, said veterinarian Nicole Fulcher, director of the Animal Medical Center of the Missouri Humane Society.

“Weather in Missouri can be frightening, but by taking steps for proper preparation, we can ensure our pets remain protected during tornadoes and extreme weather events,” said Fulcher.

Fulcher said a good first step would be to make sure your pet is microchipped and a visit to to schedule an appointment can help get that accomplished.

“One thing we learned from the 2011 tornado in Joplin is that many, many pets will run away and be lost for days and even weeks after such a horrific event,” said veterinarian Jennifer Pearl of the Humane Society’s Animal Medical Center.

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Experienced Birders Needed To Help With Breeding Bird Survey, MDC

Photo: Missouri Department of Conservation

Calling Missouri birders who know their birds by sight and sound! The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) needs volunteers to assist with five vacant bird-observation routes in Missouri as part of the 2023 North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) May 27 – July 7.

The five Missouri BBS routes that need volunteers are:  Cassville in Barry County, Centertown in Cole County, Kenneth in Dunklin County, Sticklerville in Sullivan County, and Bland in Gasconade and Osage counties. Volunteers will need to conduct their survey one day during the May 27 – July 7 survey period.

BBS is a long-term, large-scale, international bird monitoring program that started in 1966. The purpose of the BBS is to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. Each year during mostly June — the height of the bird-breeding season for most of the U.S. – BBS volunteers collect bird-population data along roadside survey routes to help. For more info on the BBS, visit

Each survey route is 24.5 miles long with stops at half-mile intervals. At each stop, volunteers conduct three-minute point counts where they record data on the bird species and numbers they see or hear within a quarter-mile radius. Surveys must start one-half hour before sunrise and take about five hours to complete. Volunteers need only conduct their survey route once during the survey period.

For more information or to volunteer, contact MDC Resource Scientist and MDC BBS Coordinator Janet Haslerig by email at or call 573-522-4115, ext. 3198.

Read more about what is needed to become a volunteer below.

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Class On Environmental Issues Debuts At University College In St. Louis

Pictured: John Hickey

Tornadic storms, periodic droughts, flash floods, erratic temperature shifts and unprecedented windy conditions have left many Americans wondering whether climate change is to blame.

The scientific consensus is that human beings must cut carbon pollution in order to avoid even worse impacts from climate change.  The good news is that there is broad public support for climate action now and policies to address climate change.


What might those policies look like? Among the possibilities:

– Protecting more forests and prairies to sequester carbon from the air.

– Updating state policies in order to encourage solar panels on commercial rooftops.

– Adopting building codes that require the use of modern energy efficiency standards.

– Building an extensive charging network to support transition to electric vehicles.

– Restoring the tree canopy in urban parks and neighborhoods.

The practical measures required to address climate change are available to be implemented now. According to John Hickey, the missing ingredient is trained activists who can lead these policy efforts.

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Bridge Demolition Leads To Pollution Of Deer Creek, River Des Peres, And More Downstream

In early March, a contractor demolishing a bridge over Deer Creek released polystyrene (Styrofoam) into the waterway. | photo by Roy Lohmann

Webster Groves resident documents debris being released into creek following the demolition of bridge located in Brentwood

By Colin Suchland (Story courtesy of the Webster-Kirkwood Times)

Demolition of a bridge spanning Deer Creek has incited the ire of watchful Webster Groves residents and resulted in violations from state authorities over foam-plastic pollution in the waterway.

Beginning in early March, a contractor working for the city of Brentwood, KCI Construction, began removing the bridge on Breckenridge Industrial Court, immediately south of Manchester Road and west of South Hanley Road. Deer Creek runs along the borders of Brentwood, Maplewood and Webster Groves where it abuts residential, commercial and recreational areas.

Deer Creek forms a natural corridor that includes parks and pedestrian greenways serving several communities as it flows toward the River Des Peres. The bridge replacement is part of a larger “Brentwood Bound” project that promises both commercial and recreational improvements. Flood mitigation along Deer Creek is also a goal of the project.

The large, scattered mass of polystyrene pollution, commonly known as Styrofoam, released into the waterway by the bridge demolition immediately drew the attention of Webster Groves resident Roy Lohmann.

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“Traffic Violence” Big Bend Group Reacts To St. Louis Region Crash Report

by Don Corrigan

Turtles, Frogs and Armadillos are not the only “roadkill” in the St. Louis region because of a poor traffic safety environment. Humans also have become roadkill, with fatalities increasing at an alarming rate.

Last year, 173 people were killed and 14,930 people injured in traffic crashes in St. Louis City and County.

In St. Louis City, 78 people died from traffic violence – more than double the number of ciy traffic fatalities a decade ago. In the county, the number of pedestrian fatalities over a three-year span from 2020-2022 was up 228% from a decade ago.

These and other key findings are part of St. Louis Trailnet’s “2022 St. Louis City and County Crash Report.” The report is an analysis of traffic violence in the region. It lays out solutions for residents to address these tragedies.

“The data reinforces the already-clear link between poorly-designed roads, high speeds and deadly conditions for people outside of cars,” said Sam McCrory, Trailnet’s Community Planner and primary author of the report.

“Last year, city leaders finally committed to long-term solutions, but we also need immediate responses across the region. We cannot continue waiting around for change while people die on our streets,” he added.

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First Saint Louis Zoo-Raised Hellbender Successfully Reproducing In The Wild, MDC

MDC Herpetologist Jeff Briggler (left) holds the first zoo-reared Ozark hellbender to reproduce in the wild. Pictured with Briggler is MDC Ozark District Supervisor John Ackerson (middle) and National Park Service Natural Resource Manager Victoria Grant (right). All photos courtesy of MDC Herpetologist Jeff Briggler.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces a significant milestone in population recovery efforts of the endangered Ozark hellbender. A zoo-raised hellbender has successfully reproduced within the Current River.

“We are very excited to announce this news,” said Missouri State Herpetologist Jeff Briggler. “This is the first documented event of a zoo-raised animal fathering a clutch of eggs in the wild.”

Rivers in southern Missouri and adjacent northern Arkansas once supported up to 27,000 Ozark hellbenders. Today, fewer than 1,000 exist in the world – so few that the Ozark hellbender was added to the federal endangered species list in October 2011.

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