Conservation partners celebrate purchase of Blue River forest
On Sunday, October 18, from 10 am to 4 pm, Heartland Conservation Alliance will host its first public event, The Summit, on 40 acres of forest along the Blue River that was saved last year from future development. The property, affectionately named the HOP (Heartland Overlook Preserve) was purchased at a public auction last August. It is located at 9106 Chestnut, near the Oakwood Country Club.
The 7th Annual Partnership Summit offers families a free, safe outdoor event to explore nature and learn about urban conservation from conservation partners. This year’s theme is “Nature is Essential.” The event starts at 10 am and will feature discussion panels, local food trucks, nature hikes, presentations, arts and crafts. The event is free, but guests must register in advance and follow all COVID safety precautions. Reservations can be made online at https://www.classy.org/event/7th-annual-partnership-summit/e300468. There is a suggested donation of $25 to support the campaign to save the forest.
Heartland Conservation Alliance is working in partnership with Heartland P5 Holdings, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Urban Trail Co., The Conservation Fund and many others to create a model for how urban land can be sustainably managed to enhance the benefits of natural resources, create economic opportunities and create more access to the Blue River.
“This is a key connector for more than 60 miles of trails along the Blue River,” explained Zac Loehr, a trail manager with Urban Trail Co. “The Blue River and the land adjacent to it provide an amazing natural corridor that runs right through our city, and trails give us access to enjoy and experience this natural corridor.”
Long-term plans for the property include restoring the forest. HCA will work with partners to restore the woodland area by removing invasive plants such as bush honeysuckle and removing trash dumped illegally on the property. They will work with Urban Trail Co. to design trails for hiking and biking on the property.
HCA is actively raising funds to repay the loan to purchase the land generously provided by The Conservation Fund, a national non-profit that practices conservation to achieve environmental and economic outcomes. HCA invites Kansas Citians to get involved with a donation or by volunteering to restore the oak-hickory forest.
“Humans need nature, and we never realize how much we value these places until they are gone,” said Jill Erickson, Executive Director of the Heartland Conservation Alliance. “Cities need vibrant downtowns and shopping centers like the Plaza. We need art museums and schools. But we need parks, rivers and fresh food, too. Nature connects us as humans and keeps us healthy and whole. Nature is essential.”
For more information about Heartland Conservation Alliance, visit their website heartlandconservationalliance.org or find them on Facebook.