photos by GLENN CURCIO About 15 years ago under the direction of Forest Park Forever, a group formed 25 years ago to revitalize the iconic green space, 41-acres were set aside to establish two new nature areas in the 1,371-acre Forest Park in St. Louis.
Many city dwellers would be surprised by the number of animals living in their midst.
The animals have been enticed back by the careful planting and management of vegetation native to Missouri. More than 600 plant species can now be found in the park, about 20 percent of what exists in the state. The big bluestem, eastern blazing star and royal cup plantare examples of species that have been planted, while those that have reappeared on their volition include Michigan lily, Indian pipe, and grape fern. A man-made stream flowing a mile through the center of the park attracts birds that usually are not seen in metropolitan areas, such as canvas-back ducks, Bonaparte gulls, eastern bluebirds, black crown night heron and indigo buntings. Bald eagles also make appearances during the winter.