|Dec. 7 KC WildLands Native Christmas Tree Event planned in Shawnee Mission Park|
Shawnee Mission Park will serve as the metro area’s only 2013 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. 7. Participants are asked to park in the large parking lot near Shelter #1, which is just west of the park’s main entrance at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kan.
This will be the thirteenth year KC WildLands has conducted this annual event. Various Johnson County Park & Recreation District sites have hosted the event in the past, including a different area of Shawnee Mission Park in 2012. A minimum donation of $15 is being suggested for the trees, which have a range of shapes and sizes from “Charlie Brown Specials” to trees suitable for a mayor’s Christmas tree. Proceeds from this event will be used to benefit future conservation efforts throughout the Greater Kansas City Region.
Those who would like to participate should bring hand saws, rope, sturdy boots, and work gloves. Chainsaws and axes are not permitted. KC WildLands volunteers will be on hand to assist with loading trees. For those who would like to cut their own tree, volunteers will point out trees which can be cut. A fire and hot cider to warm up participants will also be available.
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.
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 this event, Kansas City WildLands or future restoration workdays, contact Linda Lehrbaum at (816) 561-1061 ext. 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the group’s website at www.kcwildlands.org.