Celebrating 30 Years of Forest Park Forever This October

Over the next 30 days, we'll be sharing highlights from our first 30 years working in partnership with the City of St. Louis. From transformational capital improvement projects to conservation efforts and special events, we will feature a different event from our history every day. We'll be posting these tidbits to our Facebook and Twitter accounts — look for the hashtag #FPF30 to follow along or share some of your own Forest Park memories from the last 30 years!

We've come a long way since 1986, and we can't wait to share some of our favorite memories with you. Forest Park truly is one of our region's greatest treasures and Forest Park Forever is honored to play a role in making this special place vibrant and welcoming to all.

We are sharing our first post here, before moving to Facebook and Twitter for the series:

Led by Executive Director Mary Stolar, our goal was to raise private dollars to work in partnership with the City's Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry in restoring Forest Park, which had fallen into neglect and disrepair after years of deferred maintenance. We were a small organization at the time (our account balance around year's end was about $10,000) — with a long road ahead!

Road Closures & Park Events Happening This Weekend

There will be a lot to do and see in Forest Park this weekend, and we want to make sure you have the best experience possible when you get here! 

LouFest will once again be taking over Central Fields on Saturday and Sunday, which means several roads on the Park's east side will be temporarily closed. The map below highlights road closures, restricted parking and temporary one-way street access to be aware of.

Please click the map above to view larger

If you plan on visiting Forest Park this weekend — to rock out at LouFest, experience the Flags of Valor installation on Art Hill, Paddle with Your Pooch at the Boathouse, see Self-Taught Genius at the Saint Louis Art Museum before it closes or experience any of the other amazing amenities the Park offers — you might also want to consider alternate modes of transportation.

It should be a lovely weekend for biking, and our friends at Metro provide easy access to Forest Park as well. Take advantage of the final weekend of the season for the Forest Park Trolley and enjoy your time in Forest Park!

Improvements Coming to Kennedy Forest — Visitor Access May Be Temporarily Restricted

Visitors will have limited or restricted access to Kennedy Forest as improvements are made.

Visitors will have limited or restricted access to Kennedy Forest as improvements are made.

In fall 2015, Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis began making a series of strategic improvements in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest. This included removing exotic, undesirable, overgrown and invasive plant species and excessive downed wood material, while increasing native oak and hickory tree health and density and woodland grass and wildflower populations. These improvements have helped restore native habitats, enhance the experience of visitors and wildlife and ensure a healthier forest for the decades ahead. 

Beginning now and continuing into early 2017, Kennedy Forest will again be the site of continued strategic improvements and care. During this time, visitor access to Kennedy Forest will be limited or restricted to ensure a safe and productive work site. Trail closure signs have already been placed in some areas. 

This work includes: 

  • Improved Trail System: Resurfacing, resealing 2 miles of paths, improving trail intersections and Increasing visitor safety and enjoyment. (This work has been supported by a State of Missouri Recreational Trails Program grant and donors to Forest Park Forever)
  • Vernal Pond Repair: Repairing a leak, adding new plantings and improving habitat for wildlife. (The Kennedy Woods Advisory Group and Forest Park Forever have attracted donations to support this work.)
  • Improved Forest Health: Removing invasive and exotic species, increasing native tree health and density and restoring native habitat for wildlife. (This work has been supported by the Mysun Charitable Foundation, the Missouri Department of Conservation and donors to Forest Park Forever.)

Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis are thankful to the supporters who are making these improvements possible, as well as Park visitors for their patience while this important work is being completed. 

I Love Forest Park 5K: Event Recap + Photos

On Sunday, August 28 over 800 runners of all ages came out for the only run in Forest Park that directly benefits the Park. Our sixth annual I Love Forest Park 5K & Kids Fun Run shattered last year's attendance record and raised over $26,000 to support our mission to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park. 

Prior to the race, Joy Montes from Joy of Yoga led a group warmup while NOW 96.3 was on site to provide music for the morning's festivities. Once the 5K was underway, runners and walkers enjoyed one of the most beautiful running routes in the region, passing by iconic locations including the World's Fair Pavilion, Emerson Grand Basin, Pagoda Circle and more.

Click through the slideshow below to see a few highlights from the event!

Medals were awarded for the top overall male and female runners and the top three male and female runners in the following age brackets:

Top Male: Thomas Cormier
Male 0-19: Manareldeen Fajors; Alex Bowles; Cooper Sadlo
Male 20-29: Charlie Potts; LaQuinton Battle; Sachin Allahabadi
Male 30-39: Ryan Goebel; Max Buehler; Andy Becker
Male 40-49: Steven Portis; Jacob Varadian; Mike Kenney
Male 50-59: Bobby Paxton; Dan Nelson; Tony Pringle
Male 60-99: Dennis Larson; Don Ryan; Mark Johnson

Top Female: Patricia Frisella
Female 0-19: Keaton Ibendahl; Annalisa Goot; Diya Diwikaran
Female 20-29: Calla Massman; Emily Johnson; Amanda Honigfort
Female 30-39: Michelle Seufert; Tonya Glynn; Lya Rowan
Female 40-49: Megan Tooley; Laura Crowley; Leigh Palmer
Female 50-59: Christine Haack; Brenda Cordia; Janel Angell
Female 60-99: Jean Goldsberry; Linda Honigfort; Linda Taylor

Congratulations to all the winners! And many thanks to Lululemon Athletica for providing this year's grand prizes.
A complete list of times for this year’s participants can be found here.

This event would not have been possible without all of our amazing sponsors, including Caravus, A. Waldbart & Sons Nursery, Drury Hotels and Anova, as well as our generous in-kind donors Kaldi's Coffee, Lucky's Market, Great Harvest Bread Company – Maplewood, Now 96.3 and Subway.

Forest Park Forever Golf Tournament: Event Recap + Photos

On Friday, August 12, 23 teams joined us for a fun-filled day on the greens and fairways of Probstein Golf Course. Presented by the Young Friends of Forest Park Forever, the Golf Tournament raised over $25,000 to support our mission to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park.

During this day-long event, golfers enjoyed lunch, a round of golf, buffet dinner and a silent auction. Click through the slideshow below to see some highlights from the event!

Many thanks to our generous sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, Peoples National Bank and Amini's.

Lesley Hoffarth Named a Most Influential Business Woman by the St. Louis Business Journal

We are extremely proud to share that Forest Park Forever President and Executive Director Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., was recently honored by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of their Most Influential Business Women for 2016. This distinguished group includes 25 women who are making a considerable impact on the St. Louis community — from cultural institutions and nonprofits to finance and healthcare.

Lesley Hoffarth (center) stands on stage receiving her award. All of the honorees were lauded at a luncheon at Union Station on Friday, August 12. Photos from the event can be found on the Business Journal's website.

Lesley Hoffarth (center) stands on stage receiving her award. All of the honorees were lauded at a luncheon at Union Station on Friday, August 12. Photos from the event can be found on the Business Journal's website.

Since 2010, Hoffarth has led Forest Park Forever through strategic growth and has solidified the organization's role in caring for Forest Park along with our City of St. Louis partners. As the Business Journal said in its profile of Lesley: "Lesley Hoffarth is the leader you want for challenging projects." 

iPhone Users: Get Your Alerts & Set Your Alarms With the Sounds of Forest Park!

This screenshot shows the item listing for one of the ringtones in the iTunes store.

Back in June, we launched Listenforestpark.org, a new microsite that allows people to immerse themselves in the sounds of Forest Park no matter where they are in the world. We partnered with local company Hugmonster Sound to bring the project to life — and while we were at it, we thought we'd add a little something extra.

As a companion piece for Listen Forest Park, we isolated four discreet birdcalls captured in different areas of the Park to create unique ringtones.

Whether you are an expert birder or someone who just wants a more pleasant sound to wake up to (sorry, Marimba), these ringtones can bring a little bit of joy to your day every time you hear them. Currently, the ringtones are only available for iPhone users, but we will be working on making them available for Android devices in the future. Half of each $1.29 purchase comes back to Forest Park Forever to support our efforts to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park.

Hugmonster Sound also wrote up a blog post introducing this project, which you can read here: "Ringtones for Forest Park Forever."

To download any or all of the ringtones, search "Forest Park Forever" in the iTunes store from your mobile device, or click on the following links from your iPhone for the individual listings:

Once downloaded, the tones can be set to your default ringtone or assigned to a particular contact. The files will automatically be saved to your "Sounds" folder so you can decide how to use them whenever you want!

Get Ready For Golf Month in Forest Park!

Prepare your clubs, tees and golf balls and head to Forest Park in August! 

Over the next month, our friends at the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course and Highlands Golf Course are hosting a promotion to help support our efforts to care for the Park — golfers buying a round or a bucket of balls will be able to add a $1 donation to Forest Park Forever to their order.

Golfers will also get to familiarize themselves with Forest Park Forever on the greens at Probstein, thanks to the Forest Park Forever flags that will be flying there. Our thanks go out to Arcis Golf for working with us to make this partnership happen.

If you're looking for another way to support Forest Park this month, the Young Friends of Forest Park Forever are hosting an all-ages golf tournament on August 12. Register today, either as an individual or a team of 4, for a daylong event including a round of golf, box lunch, seated dinner and silent auction! Prizes will be awarded in several categories, with the possibility of winning a new car if you get a hole in one.

Golf has a long history in Forest Park, having been played here since at least 1897. Experience the Forest Park golf experience for yourself next month and take pride in the fact that you are supporting our region's greatest civic treasure while you do!

Diversity in Planting: Designing for Pollinators in Our 2016 Summer Display

Diversity in Planting: Designing for Pollinators in Our 2016 Summer Display

This year’s theme for the summer display at the Boathouse is Fiesta!, or a celebration of summer colors. The design is in a cottage garden style, where a diverse number of plants intermingle harmoniously to make up a single display. Inspired by a visit to Chicago's Botanic Garden and Michigan Avenue, the lively rhythm of the display is accented by the raising of the center of the bed, held together with a wall of cobblestones recycled from streets around St. Louis. With every color of the rainbow represented, our planting list comes out to be 27 different species of flowers and foliage accent plants. Most of these 27 species originated in the Americas, with 12 coming from Mexico, 5 from South America and 3 from North America.

Read More

Forest Park Forever Co-Hosts National Forum on Urban Park Management in New York City

Forest Park Forever President and Executive Director Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., helps kick-off the Forum with co-host Central Park Conservancy 

This past June, leaders from Forest Park Forever were thrilled to join Central Park Conservancy in co-hosting a special new forum on urban park management.

Titled the National Forum on Urban Park Sustainability and Public-Private Partnerships, the multi-day event brought together leading park conservancies from around the country, including from Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston and San Francisco. Forest Park Forever was represented by President and Executive Director Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., former Executive Director and current Board member Jim Mann and Senior Vice President of Development John O'Gorman. Attendees discussed a range of important topics, from turf management to public-private partnerships, the visitor experience to the latest trends in technology and sustainability. 

Now three decades old, Forest Park Forever is proud to be one of the leading park conservancies in the United States. Our team enjoyed learning from our peers around the country, as well as sharing the many success stories that have been written here in St. Louis.