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Spring 2024 Newsletter

Updated: Apr 9



Dear fellow land steward,


Happy spring! April marks one year since we transitioned to a non-profit organization, and what an incredible year it has been! While we've encountered challenges along the way, the overwhelming support from our community has reinforced our belief that this transition was the right decision for us, our community, and the lands we steward. 


In the last year, we hosted over 75 volunteer stewardship events and worked alongside dozens of partners and hundreds of volunteers to make the wild spaces of Kansas and Missouri healthier and stronger.  We planted thousands of native plants and trees, and spread hundreds of pounds of native seeds. We have been able to apply for grants that we were not previously eligible for while continuing to partner with wonderful organizations doing important work. The support of our community for the work we love doing has been humbling and heartening. 


Support comes in many different forms, and so many of you give of yourselves through volunteering, sharing knowledge, or advocating for the importance of native plants. Your contributions, no matter how big or small, are deeply appreciated. As a non-profit, fundraising is essential to sustaining our operations and continuing our mission. If you are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Your generosity makes our efforts to educate while we restore and protect native lands possible.


We can't wait to see you on the land!


Sincerely,









 


Kaw Valley Environmental Events Calendar

Exciting news: All of the events and volunteer opportunities you are looking for live together on the Kaw Valley Environmental Events Calendar! NLRC posts our events to this calendar, as do many of our partners such as the Kansas Land Trust and the Lawrence Bird Alliance. This shared, local community calendar helps us coordinate events and support each other's work!  

Nicci applying herbicide to a honeysuckle stump alongside the Kaw River, March 2024

Did you know that you can subscribe to see these events on your own digital calendar





Or, paste this link into your other digital calendar: https://bit.ly/kveecalendar 

(Settings > Add Calendar > From Internet) 





Upcoming Events this Spring

We are always adding events to our calendar! The following list highlights what's to come. Stay tuned for more opportunities to learn on the land!


Talks & Workshops (lead organizations in parentheses)

RSVPs are requested for many of these events to ensure everyone may participate. Please check with the lead organization(s) for more info!



Volunteer Opportunities (lead organizations in parentheses)

RVSPs are requested for many of these events to ensure everyone may participate. Please check with the lead organization(s) for more info!



 

We post events in detail, share stories from the field and community opportunities on

Facebook. We're also active storytellers on Instagram.  





 


 Lawrence Nature Park, April 30th 2023
Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum

By Annabelle Wilder


You can find this ephemeral plant growing in protected, older woodlands like Lawrence Nature Park. Peek at the underside of a mature mayapple and you may find their delicate flowers hiding in the shade of the umbrella-like leaves. The common name refers to their fruit that ripens in early summer and feeds wildlife such as box turtles and squirrels, who then spread the seeds. Podophyllum refers to the Greek podos (foot) + phyllo (leaf), referring to the leaf shape, and the epithet peltatum derives from the Latin word for shield-shaped, referring to the rounded leaves attached centrally to the petiole. The fruit is also edible to humans when ripe, but the seeds, leaves, and roots are poisonous. Be sure to pay a visit to this beautiful plant before she goes dormant in midsummer! 


Learn more about mayapples: Kansas Wildflowers & Grasses


 


Photo: Molly Adams | The Lawrence Times

Prescribed burn near Naismith Park will spark future growth at pocket prairie - The Lawrence Times illustrates an exciting prescribed burn by NLRC in a residential neighborhood, paving the way for a new era in native lawns. 


Photo: MO Prairie Foundation

Join us in congratulating Courtney, recipient of the 2023 Prairie Professional of the Year award by the Missouri Prairie Foundation! Her impact resounds across our region, and the rest of the NLRC team is so proud. 




Photo: Andrew Owen White


A Colossal Need for Native Seed - National Wildlife Federation discusses the critically lacking supply of native seed needed to restore wildlife habitat on public lands, highlighting how NLRC is part of the solution.




Watch the recording of Courtney’s presentation for the Lawrence Bird Alliance, aligning ecological restoration work with bird conservation. Password: a@6?T6zP 



 


Winter is a time of transformation on the land. We rest and recover, but we also spend a lot of time through cleaning, organizing, and dispersing seeds, conducting prescribed burns, applying for grants, and of course reveling in the essential process of wintering. Here are a few of our favorite memories of the season.




Seed Dispersal and Invasive Species Removal
at the Lawrence Nature Park 

A couple dozen volunteers gathered on a warm, windy day at the Lawrence Nature Park to steward the Kansas Land Trust-protected public park. Courtney and Ryan made a wild rye and river oats mixture, which volunteers lovingly sprinkled throughout the nature park. Late winter invasive species removal is often easier because most of the green growth belongs to invasive species like wintercreeper, garlic mustard, and bush honeysuckle. In fact, we were pulling bush honeysuckle up by the root - no cutting or herbicide necessary! 


Trivia Night

The first annual fundraiser for Native Lands was a truly joyful celebration of this community, the work we do, and the ecosystems we love. With a view of the sun setting over the wetlands, we broke bread, won raffle prizes, and had some playful competition over native ecosystems trivia. Stay tuned for our next FUN-draiser; we can’t wait to party with you!


Prescribed Burns

As we wrap up another season of RX fire on the land, we want to share our gratitude with everyone who has joined us as part of the Native Lands Burn Team this winter! We supported our dear friend Dr. Melina Adams in an educational  cultural burn at the Winter School, and brought prescribed fire to Prairie Park, Blazing Star Prairie, the Free State High School prairie, a few Kansas Land Trust-protected properties, and more prairies throughout northeastern Kansas. Renewed, green prairie plants are sprouting through the ashes, and we’re excited to see them thrive this growing season. 


 

By Apolonia Arteaga


This is the ultimate bird nerd game. Test your knowledge by state, choosing from common or uncommon birds, or by bird family. All the birds are linked to Cornell Lab's All About Birds, so you can easily read more. Quizzing myself on raptors is helping me achieve my New Years Resolution to learn my hawks!



 


Your financial support sustains us between grants, and our work is impossible without it. Thank you for giving generously, so that we can preserve biodiversity and restore plants and wildlife to their rightful home. Give a one-time donation, or become a member of the Nature Gang by giving monthly!


Thank you for donating - we are stronger together!


 

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P.S. Make sure to mark our emails as important so your inbox remembers us 💚

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