Check out all of this year's progress, and what's next!
This year, Clement Waters has been joining together volunteers of different backgrounds to make a food garden and a safe walking trail through an east KC neighborhood.
The story of what possessed the founders to do this boils down to a few harrowing family experiences that convinced them they shouldn’t wait until retirement to make the world a better place for their two young children.
Now we're embracing new ways to invite people into the forest, and involve our neighbors in our quest to work cooperatively with our generous natural surroundings. We've prepared this album so you can explore thoughts about a hopeful future with us. Enjoy!
WE LOVE OUR VOLUNTEERS
Many hands truly have made light work for everyone involved.
How do we quickly summarize the work of 130 volunteers over thirty workdays this summer? With an image. This collage captures just part of the journey of cutting 400 yards of trail, removing 30 cubic yards of dumped housing construction waste, and hand-pulling 50 cubic yards of invasive bramble.
Introducing the Mary Severin Legacy Greenhouse
For 2019, we’ve been asked by Engineers Without Borders and Youth Volunteer Corps to coordinate a volunteer-built experimental off-grid 2-room home on our forest property. They’re paying for materials, and the engineers will be mentoring the 15 YVC youth as they work 20 hours a week during the entire summer of 2019. The building is similar in design to one that our founding board member Mary Severin designed and built in southern Missouri.
Mary passed away in November, but the legacy of her concept for affordable green housing will live on.
Immersive nature experiences improve mental and physical health.
In September, one of our supporters sent us information and a strong recommendation for using our four acres in forest therapy sessions. After identifying a possible revenue stream from doctors writing “nature prescriptions” to patients (yes, that’s a thing, here in KC) we inquired about training.
The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy has awarded us a full scholarship for one trainee if we send two to a spring training. We would have to provide travel, food and lodging for a week-long training (costing roughly $6,000). We need a sponsorship or two to make this long-term income stream a reality in 2019. If you can contribute, or have any good connections for us to try, please contact Joy Ellsworth (816.944.1491).
THE VALUE OF TREES
We're making moves to reclaim east KC wood for social good.
We’re continuing our work on an idea to reclaim fallen timber in east KC, where people can’t usually afford tree removal, to make into home goods and furniture using a portable sawmill, a portable shredder, and our wood shop.
This is a complex idea that requires a space to make hardwood items. We’d love to use a residential garage to begin, but the founders don’t have access to one. An EPA-funded grant with the Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority (EIERA) would pay for equipment acquisition. It’s a program intended for new or growing businesses who could divert landfill waste in a way that generates flow of revenue and creates jobs. Other KC businesses have used this grant to start up.
If we seat this idea within an LLC owned by our 501c3 nonprofit, the business will be eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration loans and grant programs that would help keep the social enterprise’s startup strong. This retail operation would create liberating jobs for creative craftsmen who live east of Troost in Kansas City.
TRUSTED PARTNERS & NEW FRIENDS
Our valuable partnerships have reinforced the idea that collaboration is key.
Our business plans are guided by our participation in the Sprint Accelerator program, Project United Knowledge and KC SCORE. Caitlin Curry, our graduate intern from Adler University, is helping us with outreach and capacity building this Spring, and our business planning assistant is Dontavious Young, the owner of Equal Minded Café at 43rd and Troost.
GET INVOLVED, IN YOUR OWN WAY
There are lots of choices if you feel compelled to help with this project. Thank you for your caring.