Clement Forest – Get that Invasive Honeysuckle!

WHAT/WHY/WHO? – Clement Forest has a problem. Bush honeysuckle (the kind with red berries in the Fall) has been poisoning the trees and blocking low-growing native plants from becoming established. It’s one big bush honeysuckle party in there! This week’s project is perfect for the person who likes to use muscle for good, and loves seeing immediate results.

WEAR/BRING/GET – Wear shoes with significant tread and thick clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, but will keep you warm. Bring yourself and a smile! We provide work gloves, shovels and filtered water.

PROJECT DETAILS – We will be removing whole bushes without glyphosate or acid, because muscle is cheap, non-toxic and effective. Our method involves leaning on a large honeysuckle bush, observing where the underground root system lifts the soil surface, then using a sharp-shooter to pop through underground shoots roughly six inches from the root crown under the central trunk. We knock dirt loose from the root ball and then pile the bushes for later removal. In a later week, we will be dismantling all uprooted bushes and loading them onto a flatbed trailer and into any volunteer pickup trucks that want to help. We’ll drop the bushes off at Missouri Organic Recycling off of I-470 & Raytown Road, and pick up wood chips to lay down onto the cleared trail. In an even later week, we’ll use rakes and shovels to spread wood chips onto the trail, which deters weed growth and encourages visitors to ‘walk-don’t-run.’

PERKS – Coming out to volunteer at Clement Forest usually means taking away a feeling of inner calm, since the property is surrounded by the serene Blue River Greenway. The physical work done helps relieve tension. Think of the stress relief as our gift to you for helping define this calming space in service of others.

BACKGROUND – In February 2018 an environmental involvement nonprofit, Clement Waters Retreat, acquired the vacant lot that is now Clement Forest. Volunteers from all over the states of Kansas and Missouri came to clear over 400 yards of trail, remove 30 cubic yards of dumped large items, and remove 50 cubic yards of bush honeysuckle. The project took on a social justice element when volunteers realized that much of the waste removed was from the 1970’s, when ‘white flight’ changed the demographics of the surrounding neighborhood and contractors were hired to renovate and update homes. The hired contractors saved money by dumping in the forest behind the houses, convinced that it wouldn’t matter. Now, nearly 50 years later, this organization is saying, ‘The forest does matter, and so do the people living around it.’ They plan to make the trail into a peaceful gathering place for the residents who have made the area their home.

BOTTOM LINE – We’re excited to have you join us as we help nature take back her rightful place in KC’s hearts and minds! Urban residents are afraid of the woods, but a forest offers more benefits than dangers! Let’s make nature accessible to all.

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