On Earth Day 2022, Kansas City, MO Parks and Recreation in coordination with other City Departments engaged in the Great Kansas City Cleanup.
As part of this effort, KC Parks hosted 25 Earth Day cleanups throughout the city. More than 500 volunteers provided 1,200 hours of service, collected 5,000 pounds of litter, recycled hundreds of pounds of glass, and removed several truckloads of invasive brush—service valued at more than $35,000.
“We want to thank all the KC Parks Ambassadors who volunteered as site leaders and were integral to the planning, preparation, execution, and success of this citywide cleanup event,” said KC Parks Director Chris Cotten. “We appreciate these volunteers who care for our shared spaces year-round and encourage everyone to get involved in the program.”
The KC Parks Ambassadors Program provides special training and service opportunities for adults who volunteer once a month or more. Opportunities include litter cleanups, gardening, invasive brush removal, seed collecting, event assistance and more in 221 parks and along 135 miles of boulevards and parkways under KC Parks’ jurisdiction.
The City of Kansas City staff also contributed to the success of the Great Kansas City Cleanup by volunteering at project sites and helping with event coordination. The maintenance crews with KC Parks and Public Works Solid Waste Division also deserve special recognition for their extraordinary service on Earth Day, and their commitment to keeping Kansas City clean every day.
Mayor Quinton Lucas and the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri formally recognized the efforts of staff and KC Parks Ambassadors during legislative session on May 26. A special resolution was introduced that highlighted the contributions of staff and the ongoing service of dedicated KC Parks Ambassadors. Read the full resolution here.
The outstanding service of KC Parks volunteers extends far beyond Earth Day. A dedicated group of KC Parks Ambassadors – affectionately known as the Troost Lake Crew (TLC) – gathers each Saturday to keep the park litter-free. Over the past two years, the team has worked together to reclaim the shoreline that was once covered in several feet of tangled plastic and litter. The group also hauls away dozens of glass bottles each week for recycling.
KC Parks Ambassadors have also taken on several special projects for the summer months, including a major beautification effort at the West Terrace Park bluff. The bluff is a scenic overlook on the far West side of downtown Kansas City, Missouri with tremendous views of the West Bottoms neighborhood and the confluence of the Kansas (Kaw) and Missouri rivers. Working with KC Parks maintenance staff, Ambassadors have helped remove hundreds of cubic yards of invasive brush and hundreds of pounds of accumulated litter. The plan is to continue beautification efforts throughout the summer.
Another ongoing project is the planting of native perennials on the Mamie Hughes Bridge. Preparation began in August of 2021 with a cardboard and compost treatment and the planting of native grasses and flowers. This spring, volunteers have been weeding and planting butterfly milkweed. The project has required a lot of hard work, care, and dedication on the front end, but once established, these native perennial beds will provide a pollinator habitat and beautiful scenery for years to come.
“We are tremendously grateful for the ongoing contributions of the KC Parks Ambassadors,” said Kelly Jander, KC Parks Resident Engagement Officer. “ It was fantastic to see their hard work and generosity recognized by Kansas City, Missouri elected officials.”
By Michael Jenkins