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Urban Rivers Connect People, Heal Communities

In these divisive times, remember nature connects us and heals our communities. In Kansas City our precious urban landscapes include the Blue River, and its tributaries; limestone glades; prairie grasses; and Oak and Hickory forests. These places clean our air, water, and soil; they give us life and hope.

This is why we work hand-in-hand with communities to strengthen our connections to nature and make sure everyone can access local natural treasures. For example, we joined Jackson County Parks and Recreation and Missouri Department of Conservation to begin to restore a wetland at Alex George Lake Park. The lake is no longer sustainable, but as a wetland will provide critical habitat for wildlife. By hosting community workdays, we invite the neighborhoods to adopt, explore and connect more deeply with a wonderful resource. Our first workday took place in October 2018.

“I was proud to introduce my daughter to stewardship and this beautiful place,” shared Matt Davis, Heartland Conservation Alliance Board member. “Working alongside complete strangers to save this wetland was powerful and inspiring.”

Photo: Matt Davis and daughter Ophelia plant trees at Alex George Community workday in October 2018

Restoration includes planting trees and native plants and removing invasive plants. There are two workdays planned for 2019. We hope to see you outdoors on Saturday, March 16. Another example of opportunities to connect to nature is right on banks of the Blue River, east of the Brush Creek confluence. The Municipal Farm is a 444-acre farm owned by the City of Kansas City since 1911. Working with the city, Boys Grow, Eastwood Hills neighborhood and Urban Water Partnership, we are restoring wetland habitat, establish a ten-acre working farm and also carving out places for outdoor education and recreation. The restoration is a crucial part of a community-designed Municipal Farm Sustainable Reuse Plan.

“I learn so much about farming, nature and the river every time we come out here,” said Angela Eley, Planner for the City of Kansas City and Urban Waters Steering Committee member. “This project brings together so many people from government, neighborhoods and nonprofits. I love watching it grow.”

Photo: Participants of the Municipal Farm Conservation and Masterclass workday in November 2018 hear from our partners about careers in conservation

We are hosting a series of Community Days at the Farm with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where neighbors work together to heal the land and strengthen connections to one another, to nature and to the conservation community. Join us at upcoming workday at Municipal Farm Saturday, March 30, 2019 led by Giving Grove and Kansas City WildLands. We will learn how to plant and care for trees, identify and remove invasive plants and enjoy tours of the farm.

We encourage you to connect with the Blue River and the outdoors in your community every day. Visit our website to download a map and learn more ways to connect with the Blue River.

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