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Heartland Conservation Alliance launches new outdoor adventure program with Exploring Roots

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

By Jill Erickson

Exploring Roots has been serving the Kansas City area since 2016, and beginning today, Exploring Roots will join urban land trust Heartland Conservation Alliance as its new outdoor adventure program.

The Summer Adventure Challenge is all about getting outside and seeing Kansas City's natural areas. Look for these signs on the trail.

The partnership opens with The Exploring Roots Summer Adventure Challenge. The challenge has been designed to accommodate all skill levels. Both self-led and guided outings will be available helping families discover trails, prairies, glades and other wild areas along the Blue River. The June summer adventure at Rocky Point Glades in Swope Park is sponsored by Moosejaw who is providing prizes to all participants who complete an adventure.

“This is an adventure for planning adventures. I can’t wait to see where this takes us,” said Jill Erickson, Executive Director, Heartland Conservation Alliance.

At the heart of HCA and Exploring Roots’ partnership is the love of nature and the desire to help others become stewards of Kansas City’s natural places. Participants will have the whole month of June to explore Rocky Point Glades, but in case of rain, it’s important to let the paths dry so that too many hikers don’t churn up mud and cause erosion.

One way to be a good steward is to make sure the trail is open by checking Urban Trail Co.’s Trail Status page. As the sun returns, you may be tempted to walk on the trail sides to keep your shoes dry, but doing so can loosen the soil and ruin the trail others worked to construct. Being vigilant helps protect the trails and sends a ‘thank you’ to all the organizations that work to provide places like Swope Park for the public.

You have the entire month of June to explore Rocky Point Glades at Swope Park. Each level is designed so you can choose what works best for you. Photos by Sarah Benal

“Most Kansas Citians rarely encounter wild places,” said Adam Magers, Founder, Exploring Roots. “Knowing connection to nature is critical to our health, we saw a need to create an organization that serves the community with nature-based programming. I am so proud that over the past five years, more than 90% of our Exploring Roots program participants have reported increased self-efficacy, confidence and an improved sense of well-being.”

Both organizations have been working to increase more equitable access to nature for all Kansas Citians and to raise awareness of the benefits nature provides people. Throughout 2020, the two organizations worked to develop a strategy to further serve the Kansas City community together.

Now, they will combine resources, talent and experience to improve the quality of life in communities across the metropolitan area with a new Heartland Conservation Alliance outdoor education program called Exploring Roots.

“I was so excited about the possibilities when Adam from Exploring Roots first approached me about merging our two organizations,” said Jill Erickson, Executive Director, Heartland Conservation Alliance. “We have been working together for the past three years to connect more people with the outdoors and have built a strong partnership.”

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