Everyday is a great day to enjoy nature but if you have trouble making time to get outdoors, consider planning a simple day hike on one of these days celebrating open spaces. Whether the day is designated nationally or internationally, take some time to step outside and connect with the natural world – through a hike, leisurely stroll or stewardship opportunity!
National Bird Day – January 5th Take a walk along one of Missouri’s Great Birding Trails! We encourage you to visit the Forest 44 Conservation Area which has a Great Birding Trail designation. Also consider visiting the popular Al Foster Memorial Trail which has a high rating on the eBird as a great spot to find a diversity of bird species.
World Wetlands Day – February 2nd We love wetlands! Wetlands provide immense ecological benefits and support important species. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, wetlands are the primary habitat of 200 plant and animal species considered rare or endangered in Missouri. Take a trip to Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit to see reconstructed wetlands and other ecosystems. Shaw Nature Reserve includes 3.5 miles of Meramec River frontage and has been an Operation Clean Stream site.
World Wildlife Day – March 3rd Celebrate Missouri Wildlife today by learning about ways you can protect local wildlife. Check out the Wildlife Rescue Center in Ballwin, MO, whose mission is to rehabilitate sick, injured, and orphaned native wildlife and release healthy animals to their natural habitat. You can volunteer to help clean up the area around the center during Operation Clean Stream in August.
World Water Day – March 22nd Plan a trip to local park where you can take in one of our region’s mighty rivers. Castlewood State Park and the Glassberg Conservation Area offer scenic views of the Meramec from designated overlooks, and Bee Tree County Park provides a view of the Mississippi River from the historic Nims Mansion. Take time today to reflect on your own water usage and consider ways to conserve water in your daily life. Fixing leaky faucets and turning off the tap while you brush your teeth are obvious ways to conserve water but also think about indirect ways you use water (how much water it takes to produce fast fashion clothes, virgin paper, or single use plastics you may buy).
National Park Week – April 18th – 26th Celebrate our nation’s awesome public lands system! Visit the Gateway Arch Grounds, Missouri’s own National Park, for a stroll along the Mississippi River.
Earth Day – April 22nd This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! Participate in a celebration near you and commit to a small action you can take to help reduce your impact on the planet, like driving less, carrying reusable items instead of relying on disposables, getting an energy efficiency audit of your home, or planting more natives in your garden.
National Arbor Day – April 24th There are many great places to walk, hike, and cycle in the St. Louis region that have amazing trees. Do one of these activities on the Meramec Greenway in Lower Meramec Park. The park is a combination of woodlands and open fields, and its diversity of tree species makes it “some of the best remaining woodlands in the Lower Meramec Valley,” according to Great Rivers Greenway District. You may also notice the willow stakes planted by Open Space Council volunteers to help fight erosion on the riverbank!
Endangered Species Day – May 15th Plan a trip on the Meramec River or one its tributaries. The Meramec River Watershed has been designated by the Nature Conservancy as one of two of the most ecologically diverse watersheds in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The river is home globally rare mussel species, six of which are federally listed.
Kids to Parks Day – May 16th Take your favorite kids outside today! Bee Tree Park in St. Louis County offers trails, a lake, a playground and a view of the Mississippi River. The Open Space Council helped conserve this park in the 1970s.
National Trails Day – June 6th Enjoy any of the amazing trails and greenways in the region on this day. Learn more about greenways near you by visiting Great Rivers Greenway District’s map. You can also visit Forest River Trail Park in Sunset Hills to walk the 1/4 mile trail loop build by Open Space Council volunteers!
World Oceans Day – June 8th Remember that our actions here affect life downstream. Operation Clean Stream volunteers pull out lots of plastic trash from our local watershed each year. Plastic that isn’t picked up by volunteers can be carried all the way to the ocean. Take a pledge to stop the problem right from the start and use less plastic disposables. Replace the single-use plastic bags, straws, coffee cups, water bottles and utensils in your life with reusable ones made from sustainable materials.
National Public Lands Day – September 26th Celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day and the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and National Wild & Scenic Rivers System!
National Take a Hike Day – November 17th Enjoy the many trails of Castlewood State Park, including favorites like the Lone Wolf Trail River Scene Trail for National Take a Hike Day. The Open Space Council is proud to have helped establish this park as part of the Missouri public lands system!
#OptOutside Day – November 29th – Join the movement to opt out of holiday shopping on Black Friday and instead get outdoors. See some fall color at the Glassberg Conservation Area and take in the view of the winding Meramec River from the scenic observation deck.