Irresistible Community Builders, LLC presents: The St Bonaventure Greenway

By Tom Braford

The egrets and other big wading birds are back at the urban rookery at Arizmendi Ecovillage for the 4th year in a row! Just like the blossoms act as a barometer of climate change, they are arriving a few days earlier each spring.  They seem to be growing in numbers as well. 

The great white egrets arrive first with the queens taking the highest nesting spots in the tallest trees right behind the Chapel at the old St Bonaventure friary, which is an exact replica of one in Rennes, France.

The night herons arrive next and are the guardians of the rookery. Looking a lot like hawks, they swoop down quickly to check out intruders. Next, the snowy egrets arrive and take up residence lower down in the trees. Finally, the small blue herons are the last to arrive and make their nests in the Bradford pear trees around our garden and between the buildings along Olive Street.

Later in the season, the juveniles will roost on Ecovillage buildings in late afternoon waiting for the adults to return from Forest Park, Horseshoe Lake and other regional fishing spots. As the season progresses, there are both morning and evening fly-arounds with hundreds of these magnificent creatures in the air accompanied by a cacophony of squawks and other sounds. These twice daily events seem to feature a fair amount of cross species play with the younger blues and whites bumping each other in flight and jumping on each other in the trees.

Right now, there is a strip of open land including our gardens, some public walkways and parking lots that could be stitched together to connect the Manresa Center to Saint Louis University’s main campus.

It’s all downhill to the south, so it could include constructed water features supplied from roof drains at all the buildings along the way. The birds’ typical flyway passes over the main SLU campus before turning east and west.

Please let us know if you are interested in getting involved in turning this into an EcoTourism and public Greenway reality. 

Contact: braford@sbcglobal.net