Sixty-nine people from area parks departments, stormwater services, transportation departments, local utilities, architecture and engineering firms attended last Thursday’s KCNPI Prairie Restoration Workshop at Shawnee Mission Park. Doug Ladd presented the keynote address, which impressed upon all the need to preserve and restore the prairie heritage of the Kansas City area.
“What we do here has global conservation consequences… if we lose it here, it’s lost for all time.” – Doug Ladd
Following the keynote, Ted Semadeni, City of Lenexa Stormwater Superintendent gave a presentation on gaining community buy-in for native plantings. Attendees heard about utilizing grants, community partnerships, volunteers and school groups from Matt Garrett, Field Biologist with Johnson County Park & Recreation District and Stephen Van Rhein, Community Conservationist with MDC. The final presentation was given by Mervin Wallace of Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, who spoke about selecting the right seed for the right site. Following that, the participants were able to ask questions of an experienced panel including Ladd, Garrett, Monte Siegel of JCPRD and Larry Rizzo, MDC Natural History Biologist.
Afternoon field sessions included visits to three sites within Shawnee Mission Park to talk about various aspects of prairie planting, site preparation, and the challenges of balancing restoration with competing priorities. One site was the future location of 100 acres of prairie restoration, a partnership between Burroughs Audubon Society and JCPRD. Throughout the day, people were encouraged to reach out to KCNPI’s Partners for help as they move forward with prairie restoration.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Lunch was sponsored for attendees and presenters by MARC’s Regional Water Quality Education Committee, and through support from Bridging the Gap we were able to reduce the impact of the event by recycling and composting a large portion of our waste.
Many participants expressed appreciation for the educational opportunity and asked for more training on aspects of prairie restoration including site preparation, prescribed burns and more. The KCNPI Partners in the Large Landscape Work Group will continue to collaborate and educate interested organizations on how to take the next steps.
“The more people who can be successful at this, the better all around.” – Ted Semadeni