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Get a Free Native Christmas Tree and Help the Prairie!
POSTED: 11/21/2001
An opportunity to harvest a free eastern red cedar for use as a Christmas tree is being offered as part of a Kansas City WildLands workday at Ernie Miller Park on Dec. 8.

This chance to get a free Christmas tree is not only a good deal, but also helps a prairie remnant at the site by removing a native species that is considered invasive in prairies and old fields. In time, the cedars' sheer numbers and effects of their shading eliminate sun-loving prairie flora.

The harvest of these fragrant trees will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on this day only. KC WildLands volunteers will be on hand to assist with cutting and a limited number of handsaws will be available. The use of chainsaws will not be permitted.

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 Superintendent of Park Safety and Interpretation Mike Ray at (913) 438-7275 or Ernie Miller Park Supervisor Leon Gordon at (913) 764-7759.

This is the third workday the Johnson County Park and Recreation District has conducted during 2001 in conjunction with Kansas City WildLands, a conservation coalition initiated earlier this year. A similar tree harvesting program will take place on Dec. 8 at Jerry Smith Park in south Kansas City, Missouri.

For more information on Kansas City WildLands or future workdays, contact Larry Rizzo at (816) 655-6250 ext. 246 or visit the group's website at

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