A Year-End Letter From BTG’s Executive Director
This fall, amidst yards bristling with election signs, I saw a quiet, different sign in a Johnson County yard: “This is a clover lawn.”
It was silly to get too excited about it; after all, one little clover lawn can’t do much—not against the millions of U.S. acres devoted to non-native bluegrass, that guzzle lawn mower gasoline and the lion’s share of household water, but don’t contribute a thing to help endangered pollinators like bees.
But I couldn’t help being excited, because that’s how change begins. Somebody dares to defy the status quo, a clover lawn sparks a neighborhood conversation, and the homes association decides to start planting for pollinators. The difference that started in one yard goes viral.
That’s the kind of change that Bridging The Gap instigates, with the help of 1,400 volunteers and generous donors like you. The 450 acres of wild places that our WildLands program maintains can’t save all the world’s pollinators (though Jerry Smith Prairie, which we helped KCMO Parks and Recreation restore, was declared by an entomologist to be “the most biologically diverse piece of land in this region”). But once we’ve had dozens of volunteers out there gathering local seed, thinking deeply about the treasure of a purple coneflower and what they might do in their own yard, things start to change. The 800+ trees we planted this year are placed with care to change the heat island effect in Kansas City. Not vicious cycles, but virtuous ones, are set in motion.
Change wears different disguises. Often it looks like people marching around with picket signs or testifying before Congress. At BTG, it might look like a volunteer out watering a new tree at the hottest time of the year. It might look like a Kansas City Industrial Council sustainability awards breakfast, where we help the KCIC honor companies that have dared to do things differently. It might look like a visit from our Water and Energy Savers staff, screwing in faucet aerators to reduce water waste and bills, in homes that were historically redlined.
A lot of changes need to happen, both for environment and justice—and fast. With your help, we’ll continue to make change happen, as fast as possible, on the multiple fronts of forest, prairie and glade restoration, water and energy efficiency, and a closed-loop economy through recycling. We’ll continue to educate every step along the way. We’ll make changes until new tipping points are reached—the good kind of tipping points.
We’re grateful that friends like you see us as change agents and see themselves as ones, too. We appreciate whatever you can give to help, and we deeply appreciate your past support, which has helped us quadruple in size and reach in a decade. Every dollar, every action toward sustainability and justice, matters. Like that one clover lawn, that harbinger of change.
Kristin Riott, Executive Director
Bridging The Gap