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Laurie Brown

Photo by HCA

What strikes me most about the Blue River is how much it changes. It goes from relatively pristine and rural with all of the critters and birds and other wildlife to a highly manipulated system. It is amazing to see how adaptive the river is to its surroundings. I have lived in Kansas City for more than 30 years and I have had the opportunity to explore a significant portion of the river as an urban ecologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. As much as I have lived in cities, I have never seen an urban river like this one.

The wildlife is highly adaptive and curious. The wildlife finds a will and a way to thrive regardless of the people. And people are unaware of the wildlife all around them. The Blue River gives us small patches of habitat that are supporting all kinds of wildlife - all around us. When people slow down and spend more time outdoors we can reconnect with nature.

What I like is that we can help truly urban people connect in a way that is comfortable. We can do things to help. We can help with migrating birds and pollinators. People can make a difference. They can have a role in supporting wildlife. They can have an impact locally that reaches regionally and even globally. Voting matters and we want people to understand.

The Blue River offers us so much. I have seen so much in 30 years. A healthy river is an achievable dream, especially if we stay the course. I encourage people to get out and explore. There is so much land accessible to the public.

One of my favorite memories was leading volunteers to conduct a stream asset inventory in 2019. I helped lead the training at the Arboretum. I really enjoyed watching others discover and learn and experience the river.

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