Unless you know a Boy Scout or someone in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of Little Creek Nature Area…and yet it’s probably one of the coolest places in North County. An “outdoor classroom” sprawling over 96 acres of forests, prairies and farmland, this school district-owned educational center has offered hands-on learning in ecology, biology and environmental science since 1974 and now welcomes more than 12,000 students every year.
Tucked away on Dunn Road in unincorporated NoCo, Little Creek is actually open to the public every weekday, free of charge, but from what I can tell, many local residents don’t even know it exists. What a shame! Talk about a great place to take a peaceful hike…there are five trails to choose from! You can also see a working farm, a butterfly garden, an arboretum, a restored prairie, a museum and a 19th-century log cabin. And if you visit this Saturday, you can participate in Little Creek’s second annual Watershed Festival!
Meant to raise public awareness about “the many ways we can enjoy, conserve and protect nature’s most precious resource – water,” the event will feature interactive displays, indoor and outdoor “sensory tables,” arts and crafts, puppets, live animals, fun exhibits and hands-on activities, and 20 local environmental organizations hosting games and prizes. Exhibitors include Missouri American Water, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, World Bird Sanctuary, Butterfly House, Saint Louis Zoo, Audubon Society of Missouri and Missouri Department of Conservation, among others.
“The Watershed Festival gives us a unique opportunity to share all that Little Creek has to offer with the community,” says Eric Hadley, Science and Little Creek Coordinator for the Ferguson-Florissant School District. “Most people wouldn’t expect to find a ‘natural treasure chest’ in the middle of a bustling city, but here we are. We have winding creeks and beautiful ponds. We have farm, prairie and forest land. We are the home to countless living creatures…You can’t help but feel a sense of peace, calm and connection with the earth when you visit. Everything at Little Creek points to nature.”
Amen, brother. And did I mention it’s free?! Come to the festival this Saturday and you’ll also get to see the newly unveiled Raccoon Bridge and a six-foot metal Heron statue made by local artist Luke Schroeder!
Little Creek Nature Area’s Second Annual Watershed Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 25, 10am – 3pm, @ 2295 Dunn Road, 63033. Rain or shine. Parking is available at McCluer High School’s M4 lot (off of Elizabeth Avenue). Shuttles will run from here every 15 minutes beginning at 9:45 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. Parking at Little Creek is limited to those with handicapped license plates or hang tags.
The public is also free to explore Little Creek from 9am to 4 pm every Monday through Friday, but groups of five or more should check in at the office. For more info, call (314) 831-7386.