Doin’ the Honeysuckle Shuffle! – Clement Forest

WHAT/WHY/WHO? – April marks the time-honored tradition of the Honeysuckle Shuffle. We’re taking these babies to the bank! The soil bank, which is Missouri Organic Recycling. We’ll spend a few hours hauling wood chip loads in large vehicles. We’re using the wood mulch as trail surfacing. With enough volunteers, we can also continue removing the bushy honeysuckle menaces whose root juices poison our well-established trees. 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’re ready to use our flatbed trailer, but if you’ve got a big hauling vehicle, bring it & let’s do this! Also, if you have one to bring, we would never turn away an extra rake on site, if you promise to have your name written on it & take it back home with you. We provide work gloves, landscaping rakes, shovels and filtered water.

PROJECT DETAILS – In previous weeks, we removed whole bushes of honeysuckle without glyphosate or acid, because muscle is cheap, non-toxic and effective. Now we’ll load piles of honeysuckle onto a flatbed trailer and drive them over to Missouri Organic Recycling so they can turn it into garden mulch or compost. In turn for providing them with mulchables, we’ll grab truckloads of garden mulch and bring it right back to our trails, where we use rakes and shovels to spread the wood chips onto the trail. The wood mulch deters weed growth on our forest trail, and its squishy nature 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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