A dozen young residents of the Marlborough Neighborhood recently learned about environmental stewardship, wildlife in the city and keeping the Blue River watershed clean in a new Green Guard Stewardship program.
“If environmental science class was like this, I would be a lot more engaged,” said Dallas Colbert, a Green Guard Steward. He and his classmates tested water quality along a tributary in his neighborhood that flows into the Blue River.
The Green Guard Stewardship helps individuals of all ages get involved in caring for nature with hands-on learning, addressing environmental issues and working in a community where participants have a stake. Colbert was one of more than a dozen stewards enrolled in the Green Guard Stewardship program in the Marlborough Neighborhood this fall. The Green Guard Stewardship program is offered by Heartland Conservation Alliance (HCA) with funding by the Community Capital Fund.
“Our Green Guard program fills our mission at Heartland Conservation Alliance,” explained Ayana Curran-Howes, HCA education and outreach coordinator. “The program aims to alleviate barriers between individuals and the outstanding benefits – both mental and physical health -from being immersed in nature.”
The program provides an opportunity for up to 20 stewards to learn about environmental stewardship, become environmentally literate, impact their community through boots-on-the-ground work and meet local environmental professionals. The classes teach land use, plant identification, importance of biodiversity, safe interaction with wildlife in the city, impacting the Blue River watershed, and fundamentally how people can take responsibility for the environment.
All classes are taught by local experts who are HCA partners, including professionals at city of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation, Kansas City Community Gardens, The Giving Grove, Blue River Watershed Association, Kansas City Water Department, Lakeside Nature Center, Shockey Consulting, Marlborough Community Coalition and Wilson & Company Engineers & Architects, Inc.
“The world needs forever curious minds, now more than ever as the planet tries to keep pace with climate change,” shared Joy Heaviland, HCA partnership coordinator. “We believe we empower communities by connecting aspiring environmentalists to experts and opportunities to care for nature in our city.”