I do some volunteer work with Heartland Tree Alliance on a regular basis. I attended their Treekeepers course along with a friend of mine, Phil Williams, and since then we’ve pruned some trees, mulched some trees and educated the public about how HTA can help their city, the environment, etc. It’s a fun way to get outdoors and actually do something to help with our hands.
Anyhow, the Unified Government has decided that they would like to set up a Tree Board and Angela Schreffler, the coordinator at HTA, recommended me to sit on the board.
The Tree Board meets monthly and works on the issues that trees present in Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS. So far we’ve been talking about trying to get the city certified as a Tree City USA by The Arbor Day Foundation, activities to run on Earth Day, codifying which trees should and shouldn’t be planted on public property and we’re also working on getting a tree inventory executed. It’s a two year appointment that is renewable and so far it’s been a really enjoyable experience. Frankly, I’m really proud that the local government has taken such a serious step to control climate change, alleviate the heat island effect of cities and just generally make Kansas City a great place to live when we have such challenging financial issues.
Treekeepers 2009 Schedule(PDF)
I’ve always been a big fan of trees. It started with my grandfather. He really loved planting different trees in his yard and he also harvested dead trees to use them to heat the house.
So, as my life has calmed down a bit more, I’ve looked for ways to learn more about trees and to also spend time with groups that take care of trees. Recently I attended a program that is run by the Heartland Tree Alliance. They’re an extension of Bridging the Gap that has a mission of taking care of trees in the Kansas City region. We help plant new trees, plan out how to add trees back into the urban setting while not creating problems like upturned sidewalks or messed up siding, and we help prune young trees.
It was a pretty great program. It consists of 6 night classes that are a few hours long and two field sessions that gave us some hands on with the trees and tools and it only cost $25. They do also ask that you volunteer 24 hours to pay them back for the time they’ve invested in you.
Like any volunteer organization, there are always a few nutcases(hey, I fit right in!) but generally it’s a group of knowledgeable people who care and want to help make the world a better place. If you know of an area in Kansas City that’s on public land and needs some attention, please feel free to contact me. Or if you would like someone to come to your business, church, school or organization and make a presentation explaining the benefits of trees I can also hook you up with someone for that.
If you’re interested in participating, you could also attend a class and maybe we’ll meet up sometime. We’ve got one project that’s going to help fight climate change. In the next 10 years we plan on planting 120k trees in the metro! But we need help locating where to put those trees.
Anyhow, here’s the link for more information: Heartland Tree Alliance