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Bridging The Gap (BTG) works to make the Kansas City region sustainable by “connecting environment, economy and community,” and is the premier organization in the area providing environmental education and volunteer action through more than 1,400 volunteers annually.


BTG’s heritage began in 1992 when a few people in Kansas City came together with an idea to create a community based recycling program. Those individuals volunteered their time and efforts to develop a campaign to bring curbside recycling to the residents of Kansas City and established some 20 area recycling centers, a few still in operation. The recycling program built our foundation, but it would develop into much more.

As time moved on, the commitment to BTG and its mission grew. Individuals, recognizing the need to protect the environment, wanted to leave a positive legacy for the generations that would come after them. Their passion for a better future drove us to develop new programs and absorb two other citizen-created programs. We have a small staff to sustain the daily operations, but it is the people of the community who are the heart of the organization. Without generous donors and tireless volunteers, the important work of each program could not happen.

Bridging The Gap’s program array remains the most diverse in the U.S. Some of our programs, both past and present, include:

Community Recycling Drop-Off Centers (1992 – present)
Kansas City WildLands (2001 – present)
Heartland Tree Alliance (2003 – present)
Green Stewards Workforce (2017 – present)
Energy and Water Savers (2020 – present)
Green Business Network (1999-present)
(formerly Environmental Excellence Business Network)
Monarchs (2016-present)
Keep Kansas City Beautiful (2000-2015)
EarthWalk (1996-2014)
By-Product Synergy (2004-2013)
Clean Commute (2008)
Five Green Things (2008-2009)
Walking School Bus (2008-2011)
Housewarmings (2012-2013)
WaterWorks! (2012-2013)


• Managing and educating at three Kansas City, Missouri Community Recycling Centers
• Organizing litter clean-ups
• Planting trees through Heartland Tree Alliance
• Conserving ecosystems on 400 acres of Kansas City WildLands
• Building a green workforce to maintain KCMO’s green infrastructure
• Educating business people on “green” practices through the Green Business Network
• Assisting residents with lowering their utility bill burdens by installing water- and energy-efficient devices
• Engaging more than 1,400 volunteers annually at more than 100 events, doing the hard, physical work it takes to really improve our environment.


2007 Missouri Environmental Education Association Award for Outstanding Service to a Community Organization (Kansas City WildLands)
2008 Missouri Arbor Award for Excellence (Heartland Tree Alliance)
2009 Environmental Protection Agency’s National Clean Air Excellence Award (Five Green Things)
Listed in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Best Practices for water conservation efforts in low income Kansas City neighborhoods
2014 Kansas City Industrial Council’s Sustainable Stewardship Award
2015 Missouri Department of Conservation Partner of the Year Award – Forestry Division (Heartland Tree Alliance)
2016 Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence (Heartland Tree Alliance)
2021 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award
2021 Missouri Invasive Plant Council’s Individual Professional Invasive Plant Action Award, Linda Lehrbaum
2021 Missouri Native Plant Society Plant Stewardship Award, Linda Lehrbaum
2022 816 Day Community Award, City of Kansas City, Missouri

BTG has a long history of being a major force in educating Kansas Citians about the environment and establishing recycling and other sound behaviors in the region. However, the greatest testimony of success are the thousands of trees planted, the millions of pounds of emissions averted, the protection of native ecosystems, litter-free neighborhoods, and the competitiveness of community businesses through energy efficiency and reduced waste.