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Dec. 8 native Christmas tree event planned at Shawnee Mission Park
POSTED: 11/21/2007
 
Shawnee Mission Park will again serve as the metro area's only site for Kansas City WildLands' annual Red Cedar Christmas Tree Day.

Eastern red cedar trees for use as Christmas trees are being offered during a workday planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

This will be the seventh year that KC WildLands has conducted this annual event. A minimum donation of $10 is being suggested for the trees, which range in height from three to 10 feet. The proceeds will be used to benefit future conservation efforts. During a similar event at The Theatre in the Park site in 2006, about 300 tress were distributed.

This year's workday will concentrate on removing eastern red cedar trees from along both sides of a service road located behind The Theatre in the Park. Those seeking trees are asked to park at the Theatre, via its entrance at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee. KC WildLands volunteers will bring the trees to the parking lot, where they can be selected by participants and loaded with the help of the volunteers.

Those who would like to participate should bring hand saws, rope, sturdy boots, and work gloves. For those who would like to cut their own tree, volunteers will point out trees which can be cut.

Removal of eastern red cedar trees is part of a prairie restoration project at the site. The workday effort is designed to remove a native species considered invasive in prairies and old fields. In time, the cedars' sheer numbers and effects of their shading eliminate sun-loving prairie flora. In the past, naturally-occurring prairie wildfires kept this species in check, but modern fire suppression practices have allowed cedars to spread.

While eastern red cedars were used commonly by early pioneers as Christmas trees, those interested in participating should be aware this variety does not have the typical needle of the Scotch and white pines now predominantly used as Christmas trees. This gives the eastern red cedar a "leafier" appearance.

For more information, contact Shawnee Mission Park Manager Grant Evans at (913) 631-0734.

Shawnee Mission Park is owned and operated by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, which is a charter member of Kansas City WildLands, a conservation coalition initiated in 2001. For more information on Kansas City WildLands or future workdays, contact Linda Lehrbaum at (816) 561-1061 ext. 116 or visit the group's website at www.kcwildlands.org

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