Dr. King emulates the connection between justice and health of mind and spirit. He once said, “We have flown the air like birds and swam the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.”
HCA seeks justice for communities through restoring the health of the environment and connecting communities to their natural areas. By protecting natural areas, we protect clean air, water, and places that improve mental health and promote physical health. And every year, HCA seeks to honor the legacy of service of Dr. King, Jr. with a nature walk. This nature walk encourages the community to come together, step away from the chaos and find peace in the beauty of nature.
The walk takes place along Brush Creek, a tributary to the Blue River that flows into the Missouri River. We source our drinking water from the Missouri River and anything that is on the ground, makes its way into our water. Litter can also lead to blight and pose harm to local flora and fauna. This is why volunteers will also be conducting a litter cleanup along Brush Creek.
“On a day dedicated to a man of service, we want to be of service to the community and its health and prosperity” said Heartland Conservation Alliance Education and Outreach Coordinator, Ayana Curran-Howes. “A healthy, peaceful world, starts with honoring each other and our remarkable environment.”
This event is a part of the ongoing renew the blue campaign, referring to the Blue River, HCA and partners have embarked upon to spread awareness and keep oururban waterways clean. On January 15 the MLK Jr. Nature Walk will bring Kansas Citians together and we will join communities across the nation doing the same. As we honor the spirit, work, and relevant words of Dr. King, Jr., we will hear a prayer led by a local youth and embark on a nature walk led by a trained naturalist, filled with moments for contemplation. The family-friendly walk will start at Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park, Kansas City, Mo., at 1:00 pm and conclude at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, 3700 Blue Pkwy, Kansas City, Mo. 64130. At Bruce R. Watkins there will be refreshments and an art exhibit, “The Art of My Life,” by Essex Garner, an award-winning local artist gifted in all mediums of painting. The 1.8-mile walk is paved and accessible for persons of all ages and abilities. Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes. Parking is available at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Square Park and a shuttle will be provided from the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center to Martin Luther King, Jr., Square Park after the walk.
The walk is hosted by Heartland Conservation Alliance and its partners: Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation; the Missouri Department of NaturalResources; Missouri State Parks; Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center; Kansas City Environmental Professionals of Color (EPOC); Youth Volunteer Corps; Rockhurst University; and the Blue River Watershed Association. Dedicated to conserving natural areas, convening community members, and connecting people to nature, the Heartland Conservation Alliance is a nonprofit that works collaboratively throughout the Kansas City area.
HCA has enjoyed the service of AmeriCorps VISTAs over the past four years and 2018 will be no different. We hope you can join us on January 15 and throughout this next year of protecting natural areas, connecting communities to nature, and convening our partners to make it all possible.