The Zoo is now open!
All guests, including Zoo members, must now reserve free, timed tickets prior to visiting.
We are excited to welcome you back to the Saint Louis Zoo! When you are ready to visit, we're more than ready for you! Until then we are happy to continue to #BringTheStlZooToYou for you stay connected to your Zoo.
Our staff remain dedicated to the animals in our care. Your support is vital to our future. Please consider making a contribution to our Critical Animal Care Fund.
June 23, 2020
The Unsung Hero
Did you know this week is #PollinatorWeek?
Moths are the unsung heroes in our gardens. They feed our songbirds and pollinate our plants. Many of the 11,000 species of moths in North America are active pollinators. Other than the day-flying hummingbird moths, these species are important members of the pollinator night crew. Besides actively pollinating fruits, nuts and seeds and the next generation of plants, moths are also major food items for birds.
Work by Doug Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home) and his colleagues have shown that moth caterpillars are essential food for over 95% of our songbirds to raise their chicks. A single pair of chickadees may need around 7,500 caterpillars to raise a clutch of four chicks and even more to get them on their own.
However, moths, like many animals, now need our help. You can help them by planting native trees, shrubs and wildflowers that are essential food for caterpillars. You can plant moth-friendlywildflowers (i.e., pale, white, pink, dull red or purple and often with strong and sweet aroma) to feed the adults. You also need to turn off your outside lights, use motion sensors and replace bulbs with less insect attractive yellow LEDs.
Finally, help to educate others about these important unsung heroes. – Ed Spevak, Curator of Invertebrates, Saint Louis Zoo and Director, Center for Native Pollinator Conservation
Plant Native Wildflowers to Help Pollinate Your Fruits and Vegetables
It’s Summer and many gardeners are growing this year’s batch of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelons and squashes. But as we plant our fruits and vegetables, do not forget to plant wildflowers to support the pollinators, especially the native bees.
Gardening for fruits and vegetables should be looked at as an act of responsibility and reciprocity. We are responsible for the plants we nurture and bring to life. We are responsible for the health of the soil and its myriad life which supports the plants and us. We are also responsible to the rest of the life in our garden that can be affected by our actions of tending the garden. We must also look at gardening as reciprocity and give back to the bees.
As an example, tomatoes require bumble bees for best pollination. They vibrate the flower to release the pollen. However, bumble bees can only get one part of their diet, pollen, from tomatoes. They also need nectar. Include nectar plants, like bee balm and foxglove beardtongue, that feed the bees that pollinate our food.
If we look at gardening, and also farming, as acts of responsibility and reciprocity we can create a much healthier world for all life. #PollinatorWeek
Native Foods Native Peoples Native Pollinators
The Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute’s mission is dedicated to creating a sustainable future for wildlife and for people around the world. This work is exemplified in the Native Foods Native Peoples Native Pollinators initiative started by the Center for Native Pollinator Conservation (CNPC). The initiative focuses on issues of food security of Native Americans and First Nations people, the intersection of wild and cultivated foods, cultural traditions and food sovereignty, healthy lands and people, and nature (as represented by pollinators).
The initiative consults and works with elders, tribal officials, agencies, farmers, gardeners, and conservationists to understand and identify food and environmental needs, and work with tribal communities on the ground and build sustainable, reciprocal long-term relationships. The initiative recognizes that Native American knowledge, history, values, and culture are assets in building communities, advancing human health, and developing conservation programs that place importance on harmony with nature. The initiative helps with education and outreach materials and programs, research projects on conservation and pollinators, assists and supports habitat restoration, and supplies gardeners and small farmers with equipment, as well as crop seeds, heirloom seeds, plants, trees and shrubs.
Restoring the health of Indigenous communities means restoring the health of the land.