Shaw’s Nature Reserve…with a geologist

My friend had a brilliant idea! She had her son’s birthday party at a nature reserve and invited his friends – which are all boys scouts… including my son!

The best part is, she had a geologist from the Missouri Botonical Gardens lead the boys on an educational hike!! The boyscouts even earned a patch just for participating, learning, and having fun!

The geologist first gave a talk to the children about geology and rocks.

She passed around some rocks for the kids to observe.

Eli is holding Halite (salt).

Eddie was looking at Galena.

(Galena is a common mineral containing lead – which means it is a heavy rock!)

After the presentation, the geologist lead everyone on a hike to the Meramac River.


The path was made of gravel, some parts being made of limestone. Limestone is very common in Missouri and it is formed from fossilized sea creatures.

At the end of the hike, the kids tried to identify rocks using the pictured rock and mineral key.


The coolest science experiment was trying to identify limestone.

(The leader wore gloves and safety glasses so the kids knew it was going to be exciting!)

An easy way to identify limestone is to see if it fizzes when acid is poured in it. We couldn’t find limestone on the sandbar, but there were shells strewn across it, so the geologist demonstrated the acid test on them.

See all the bubbles… that is the reaction between acid and calcium!

Both the shell and limestone contain high levels of calcium (remember – limestone is made from fossilized sea creatures so it would contain high levels of calcium.)

The Meramec river was beautiful!

Eli found quite a few shells that he wanted to take home!

The kids were told they could take one rock home! Andre (aka Mini Geologist) found a giant one… Which I ended up carrying for him on the hike back – LOL!

This is my rock I found… So pretty!

Missouri has lots of sedimentary rocks meaning the rocks formed in layers of sediment.

Three tidbits I learned on the walk:

This land feature is a glade, meaning the ground slopes on both sides. Trees have a hard time establishing a good root system, which explains why there is so much open space. Deer especially like glades because they can hang out in them and eat grass.

The caretakers of the nature reserve preform controlled burns. Controlled burns help control invasive plants (like the bush honeysuckle) and help prevent damage during a forest fire. Fire can’t spread to previously burned trees… Meaning a wild fire won’t cause as much damage!

See the burnt tree in the picture?

Cedars are invasive trees in Missouri!
(I had no idea a tree could be invasive!)


This was such a neat – WILD birthday party!

Wild Family Facebook page 🌸 


1 Comment

  1. lfish64

    Enjoy your family they grow up very fast.

    Liked by 1 person

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