Ever wonder just how many species of flora and fauna are living in Forest Park? Frankly neither did we, but the Gateway Wildlands (www.gatewaywildlands.org) and the Explorers Club (www.explorers.org/stl) do, so they're sponsoring the St. Louis BioBlitz this Friday and Saturday (September 10 and 11). For 24 hours scientists, naturalists and volunteers roam the park, taking stock of its many residents. Valerie Vartanian, director of Gateway Wildlands, emphasizes that the groups aren't going to be out counting ants or disturbing habitats but says that "to be able to save them, we need to know [what species are] there."
Volunteer opportunities are as diverse as the park's inhabitants and include everything from manning registration tables to guiding BioBlitzers around the park to helping catch, identify and release fish or small mammals. Vartanian recommends that volunteers call (314-577-9473, ext. 6201) or go online (www.stlbioblitz.com) by Thursday, September 9, but she adds that if you show up Friday at 3 p.m. at the Visitor and Education Center with butterfly net in hand, you'll be welcomed with open arms. The Saint Louis Zoo gets in on the action by hosting free BioBlitz activities designed to explore the science and techniques utilized by the 'Blitzers (Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Living World). -- Mia York
And shutter finger
Maybe you haven't heard of the Green Center. Founded in 1997, this habitat-restoration area is located on the serene grounds of the 72-year-old Aubrey Green home in Kaufman Park in University City (at 8025 Blackberry Avenue, to be exact). From 4 to 8 p.m., you can hike through the prairie, tour the wetland and enjoy the shady woods during the center's free Hike and Happy Hour event. After the hike, the happy-hour portion of the day has visitors exploring the outdoors indoors: Craig D. Barton's nature-photography exhibit is up until October 15. Meet him and enjoy some wine and cheese (and his photographs) inside the home. For more information about the event or the center, visit www.thegreencenter.org or call 314-725-8314. -- Alison Sieloff
Taste victory in Hazelwood
January offers the Super Bowl, October brings the World Series and September has the climax of macho-cooking season: tailgating time. All summer long, macho cooks have been honing their skills and perfecting their recipes for barbecued ribs, nachos, chili and Buffalo wings (a favorite of both Homer and Jessica Simpson). Macho dishes score points for flavor and scorched palates, with bonus points awarded for how many beers it takes to relieve your newly crispy tongue. Think you got the goods? Enter your recipe in the third annual Hazelwood Hot Wings Cook-off, bub. Drop off four dozen of your best wings, cooked and ready to eat, at the Hazelwood Civic Center East (8969 Dunn Road; 314-731-0980) by 6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 9. Wings will be judged at the Miss Hazelwood reception that evening, with the winner announced Saturday, September 11, at the Hazelwood Harvestfest in Howdershell Park during the Miss Hazelwood coronation. Nothing says "long live Miss Hazelwood" like a platter of wings. -- Jedidiah Ayres
Separated at Birth
You need a little escapism on this day. Ease your mind at Jefferson Barracks Park (Telegraph Road and Kingston Drive) with a screening of the 1954 horror masterpiece Creature from the Black Lagoon. Back in '54, monsters looked like monsters; now they look like John Ashcroft. Oh well. Admission is $2, gates open at 6:30 p.m., and the flick starts at 7:30. This is a lawn-seating venue, so bring blankets, chairs and a cooler, but no glass containers. For more info call 314-894-3088. -- Guy Gray