Citizens of Kansas City, Missouri will play a vital role in restoring our declining urban forests, thanks to a new partnership between Heartland Tree Alliance (HTA), a program of environmental non-profit Bridging The Gap, and Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation. HTA and Parks and Recreation will plant more than 1,300 trees in KCMO this fall and next spring, primarily with volunteer labor provided by Kansas Citians.

“We’re excited to work with Bridging The Gap’s Heartland Tree Alliance because they educate citizens about the importance of trees and get them involved in tree care,” said Kansas City Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Terry Rynard.  “Because they use volunteers to plant and water, we can get more trees planted for the same budget.  We’re proud that the citizens of Kansas City will play a vital role in restoring our tree canopy.”

Sarah Crowder, forester for Heartland Tree Alliance, adds, “Trees provide so many benefits to our city–shading our streetscapes, cleaning our air and cooling pavement and air temperatures.”  Studies have shown that heavily “treed” neighborhoods have less crime because more people are outside; trees also slow traffic and add up to 20% to property values.

Thousands of trees are lost annually to disease, storm damage and old age in KCMO. With KCMO Parks and HTA working together, three new planting initiatives will invite citizens to help restore Kansas City’s urban forest canopy:

500 shade trees in public right of ways: HTA neighborhood coordinators will be scouting for planting locations that meet space requirements for 500 new shade trees, and neighborhood groups willing to help. Tree planting events will be held in neighborhoods, with education on tree planting and care; local residents will be asked to “adopt” a tree, by providing supplemental water over the next two years.

Local Boy Scouts will plant 3,750 small tree seedlings along stream corridors, where trees improve water quality and stabilize stream banks, preventing erosion.  Participating Scouts will learn about the role of forests and earn forestry badges.

Several small arboretums featuring dozens of tree species will be planted in Kansas City parks, educating those looking to plant trees on their own property.

If you would like to see more trees planted in your community, including 17 cities in the greater metro area, donate to the Heartland Tree Alliance Tree Fund at Once a city’s fund reaches $1,000 HTA organizes a tree planting workday in that city.

To find out more information about Heartland Tree Alliance, suggest a tree planting location or to volunteer, contact Sarah Crowder,