On Saturday, June 3, all around Kansas City, people pumped up bike tires, slipped on trail runners, grabbed paddles, saddled up horses and hit the trails for National Trails Day. And yet others laced up hiking boots, grabbed binoculars, packed up field guides, dusted off work gloves, and ventured out to the prairies for National Prairie Day.
Why set aside a whole day to recognize trails or prairies? Because we protect places we love together when we get outdoors and share those spaces and celebrate the important part these places hold in our everyday lives. Kansas City as usual was on board sporting our love of trails and prairies. Conservation partners across the metro hosted events.
Kansas City Parks and Recreation hosted its first annual Party on the Prairie at Jerry Smith Park. This event brought more than 200 people to learn about and experience the only remnant prairie in Jackson County. Lively music and food were enjoyed by all. People from all ages enjoyed the beauty of nature through guided trail hikes, bird walks, and hay rides. Children participated in the scavenger hunt for monarch butterflies, purple flowers, bumble bees, beetles, spittle bug and more. Seventeen local artists competed in a plein air competition and created paintings of the prairie using, water colors, pastels, acrylic, and oil paint.
Jacqueline Blessington of Lakeside Nature Center shared a prairie touch table. She also introduced participants to live prairie animals including a barn owl, a turkey vulture, and an American Kestrel.
Roberta Vogel-Leutung and I shared maps and information about the Blue River with attendees. I enjoyed the opportunity to introduce the prairie to newcomers and to hear stories from people who visit and enjoy the prairie often. One man told a story of how he floats the Blue River during its highest level. Several people rode their bikes to the park in celebration of both National Trails day and National Prairie day.
Other events that happened during National Trails and Prairie Day in Kansas City were Hike Through History on the Indian Creek Trail and National Trail and Prairie Day Cleanup at the Hartman Heritage Center Trailhead.
I enjoyed joining our partners Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Kansas City Wildlands, Lakeside Nature Center, and MO Master Naturalist in sharing our passion of these places we love with others. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors and learn about nature.