|Dec. 3 Native Christmas Tree event planned at Cedar Niles property, Olathe|
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. 3 at a site which is part of the future Cedar Niles Park at 135th and Cedar Niles Road.
This will be the eleventh year that KC WildLands has conducted this annual event. Various JCPRD sites have hosted the event in the past, most recently at Shawnee Mission Park in 2008. A minimum donation of $15 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.
Those who would like to participate should bring hand saws, rope, sturdy boots, and work gloves. 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.
Removal of eastern red cedar trees is part of 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.
The Cedar Niles future park site is owned 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 about this event, Kansas City WildLands, or future workdays, contact Linda Lehrbaum at (816) 561-1061 ext. 116 or by email at linda@briding the gap.org.