Tower Grove Park awarded grant for prairie and bird garden restoration

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Tower Grove Park was awarded a grant to support the Gaddy Wild Bird Garden and prairie restoration projects through the St. Louis Audubon Society’s Cathleen Creley Memorial Conservation Fund. The Park’s bird garden is essential to the migration and habitat needs of over 200 species of birds along the Mississippi Flyway. Designated by St. Louis Audubon Society as an Important Birding Area, the garden welcomes hundreds of bird species each year.

Before the project, the bird garden sat stagnant for several years, consumed by invasive species like bush honeysuckle, grapevine and young saplings of invasive trees, which overtook a large percentage of the forest canopy and harmed beneficial plants. With a generous gift from Kay Drey in 2015, we began a much-needed project to improve the bird garden’s dormant ecosystem.

In addition to the Gaddy Wild Bird Garden, our Horticulture Team established and maintained two prairies and transformed its two waterways into riparian corridors. The lush and wild field of grass, flowers, and shrubs provide wealth to insects and animals and are vital to educational programs in the local region. Wildlife and pollinators enjoy the variety of rich flowers, including little bluestem, milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, and black-eyed Susan.

Now, with the help of the new grant, we can use seed mixes to sustain a healthy herbaceous layer on the forest floor as well as to continually replenish its neighboring prairies. Our goal to provide a native forest ecosystem is not only important for the wildlife who call our Park home, but it is an educational and cherished feature for our 2.5 million annual visitors.

Tower Grove Park is an oasis in a busy city, and we can continue to be a conservation resource for the St. Louis region. Next time you’re in the Park, take a tranquil walk through the Gaddy Wild Bird Garden and listen to the beautiful bird songs.

About Tower Grove Park

One of only seven National Historic Landmark parks in the nation along with New York Central Park and Boston Public Garden, Tower Grove Park features an internationally renowned collection of Victorian park architecture and an internationally recognized arboretum, serving over 2.5 million visitors annually. 

Michelle Lawrence