Quarantine isolation leaves many people feeling trapped inside, not able to enjoy nature as regularly as one may desire. However, the benefits of walking outside every day are proven to help keep you healthy. Your mood will improve. You’ll feel more creative. You’ll lower your risk of lung cancer. Your skin will look younger. You’ll increase your vitamin D. You’ll find yourself relaxing and having fun! Not sure where to go? Here’s a list of our 12 wild land restoration sites.
Join Jacob on a walk through a wild land as he discovers a few plant species that are taking root this spring.
A Gift Comes
By Jacob Canyon, Kansas City WildLands Program Coordinator
“A gift comes to you through no action of your own, free, having moved toward you without your beckoning. It is not a reward; you cannot earn it, or call it to you, or even deserve it. And yet it appears. Your only role is to be open-eyed and present. Gifts exist in a realm of humility and mystery.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
We are born already indebted to the Earth. The spaces we occupy, the sustenance we consume, even our own bodies are given to us. Endowed by a deep provenance of evolutionary and geologic history – an unbroken chain of biological production reaching from this moment’s breath back to the ancient microbes who first put the oxygen in our air.
If your breath is still strong you can roam wild spaces thick with the living gift; oaks erupting with nubile leaves, wrens’ and thrashers’ long winded chatter, gnarled limestone fists reaching up from the Paleozoic, or a crescendo of wildflowers, new displays by the week, flaunting themselves to catch the eye, nose, or antennae of passers by.
One need not flee to distant mountains or lakes to find this. Even within city limits we have dozens of extensive trails that wander a wealth (though certainly less wealth than once was) of intact landscapes uncluttered by modern development.
The Urban Trail Company has built over 100 miles of trails in and around Kansas City with the gifts of generous donors and the sweat of tireless volunteers. Many of these trails wind through remnant (that is, never plowed or built on) prairie, glade and woodland ecosystems that would be lost or degraded if not for the work of yet more dedicated volunteers through Kansas City WildLands, a program of Bridging The Gap, that has worked for twenty years to protect and restore hundreds of acres of indigenous landscape for us.
When you run, hike, or bike in these spaces you are exposed to the land’s rich and varied texture, which itself is good medicine. In these spaces, do not be a mere guest, stiff and polite. Instead be at home in them. Enjoy them thoroughly and treat them with genuine care. Check your shoes for stowaway seeds of weedy invaders before you enter. If you find trash left behind by others, pick it up and dispose of it as if you found it in your own yard. Spare wet trails the mauling of your boots and tires so they can take you farther, faster, and smoother when they’re dry. The opportunity to practice stewardship of our public spaces is also a kind of gift.
50 years ago, a humble day in April was chosen to celebrate our commitment to environmental protection. We can give to the Earth, try to pay back in part what we’ve received, and leave the planet better than we found it. The first step is to simply savor the gift.
It is #NationalVolunteerWeek! Special thanks to the wonderful folks who share their time and knowledge to protect, conserve, and restore KC WildLands sites! You are able to hike through wild lands thanks to volunteers who removed invasive plants and collected native seeds to restore the natural biodiversity of these spaces for all to enjoy. #NVW2020 #volunteerBTG #KCWildLands
Bridging The Gap and local partner organizations share 50 ways you can celebrate 50 years of Earth Day while you #StayHomeKC!
Celebrate 50 years of Earth Day with a gift to Bridging The Gap and help protect KC’s natural environment for 50 more! Donate to BTG