Community Conservation

Taking Action: Little Creek Nature Area Restoration

Groups Featured: Ferguson-Florissant School District, Department of Conservation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, City of Florissant, Great Rivers Greenway District, Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Open Space Council, Saint Louis Christian College, Soil & Water Conservation District, St. Louis County Special School District.

Group Mission: Preserve and restore Little Creek Nature Area.

Project location: 2295 Dunn Road, Florissant, MO 63033

Jack Bowles and Jaime Meier are on a mission to connect youngsters in the Ferguson-Florissant school district with nature. Bowles teaches students in his science class about native plants and wildlife at the district’s 96-acre Little Creek Nature Area, and for the past six years he and art teacher Meier have worked to preserve Little Creek’s natural features. They’ve established partnerships among the Ferguson-Florissant school district, the Department of Conservation and several local conservation organizations to restore Little Creek’s forests and remove honeysuckle and other invasive species from the area. This year they will conduct a watershed project with the Environmental Protection Agency to address erosion problems in Little Creek. The teachers look to make the Little Creek restoration a community-wide effort. Local residents and companies can call (314) 831-7386 for information about visiting, volunteering and sponsoring programs at Little Creek.

Rock Shelter

Don’t disturb or destroy rocks on glades.

Missourians who move large rocks in glades have the same impact on wildlife that home-destroying tornadoes have on people. Herping, or nature viewing for amphibians and reptiles, is growing in popularity, but far too often includes activities that cause the deaths of the animals or leaves them without suitable habitat.

The cool, moist conditions, or microhabitats, that result from rocks sitting on the ground, undisturbed for long periods of time, provide shelter and breeding places for many amphibians and reptiles. Nature viewers who displace or destroy large rocks to see the animals beneath make the habitat unusable for many species. Even the good intentions of nature viewers who attempt to return rocks to their original locations can cause problems. Animals sometimes are crushed when heavy rocks are dropped on them, and often lizard eggs are exposed to predators due to slight changes in the positions of the rocks.

When viewing reptiles and amphibians, as with other wildlife, it’s best to leave behind only footsteps. Do not chase, touch or feed animals or disturb or destroy their habitat.

A Conservation Nature Center is a great place to get close-up views of amphibians and reptiles. Throughout the year CNCs have animals on display and educational programs about wildlife.