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Spring programs encourage stewardship and revitalization

By Sarah Benal

(From left) Will Gibson, Down to Earth Services, and Kiva Johnson, HCA Green Guard Steward, tour native plantings installed by Heartland Conservation Alliance in Marlborough at 81st and Troost in Kansas City, Mo. The site is a project of KC Water to reduce combined sewer overflows and downstream flooding in the Blue River watershed.

In March, Heartland Conservation Alliance will host a Green Guard Workshop Series for area residents to learn how to clean up vacant lots in their neighborhood. In partnership with MY REGION WINS!, Heart of the City Neighborhood and the Marlborough Community Coalition, the free workshops will offer hands-on learning and fellowship opportunities. The four workshops will take place on Saturdays in March and April, from 1 to 3 PM. The workshops are open to neighborhood residents interested in restoring their communities.

Participants will visit active project sites and learn first-hand from successful project leaders. Sites will include a “nature and play” area at 81st and Troost, a vacant lot designed for economic purposes called Boon Area 1, an urban community garden at Dunbar Farms and a conservation learning area at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center.

Stewards will learn from local experts and each week will focus on themes such as biodiversity, native plants, healthy soil, stewardship and community, and water quality. Participants will required to follow COVID precautions by wearing a mask and keeping socially distant. Those interested can register on HCA’s website and need to attend all four workshops to become a certified Green Guard Steward.

Green Guard Stewardship Training program is a community-based natural resource education and volunteer service program for youth and adults. The workshop series supports community conservation efforts and natural resource education in the neighborhoods. The training is part of HCA’s Restoring Vacant Lot program designed to transform unused land in the Blue River Water into beneficial green spaces.

A key tool in the Restoring Vacant Lots program is the Urban Neighborhood Initiative’s Vacant to Vibrant Field Guide that guides uses to outline the values and priorities of the neighborhood to create projects to revitalize vacant lots in the area.

The workshop and other Restoring Vacant Lot projects are funded by the Health Forward Foundation. Learn more on our website here or contact Outreach Coordinator, Sarah Benal.

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