Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Finding holiday decorations outdoors

Many Missourians consider the red cedar a traditional holiday tree, one they remember from the past or utilize in the present. The dried seed pods, flowers and grasses that linger outdoors in autumn can be shaped into decorations.
Photos by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation

 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City. The free program is open to all ages and no registration is required.
Nature packs wonder into the shapes and colors found in autumn, such as prairie grasses, wild nuts, berries and seeds. Wonder is part of the holiday season, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering a class on how to make ornaments and decorations using natural materials
   MDC is also a key partner in a metro area holiday tradition, cutting red cedar trees to support volunteer conservation habitat work on public park land. The Kansas City Wildlands 15th Annual Red Cedar Christmas Tree Event will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, at Mildale Farm, 35250 W. 199th St., Edgerton, Kan. A $15 donation benefits Wildlands, which is a Bridging the Gap program. Wildlands organizes volunteer workdays at high-quality natural areas such as prairies, glades and forests. Volunteers often remove harmful invasive species such as bush honeysuckle so native plants can thrive. Wildlands operates on both sides of the Missouri-Kansas state line in the metro area.
   Eastern red cedar is a valuable and hardy native tree. However, cedar can become invasive in native prairie remnants and glades. Cedars are fragrant and they make a pretty holiday tree.
   Anyone curious about cedar trees for the holidays is invited to visit the Gorman Discovery Center. A grove of cedars is installed in the lobby with lights and d├ęcor using natural materials such as dried wildflowers, seeds and grasses.
   Also, the Discovery Center’s Nature Shop offers books about conservation and other gift items for sale. The popular MDC Natural Events Calendars for 2016 are also available for purchase.
   For information about programs at MDC’s Discovery Center, call 816-759-7300 or visitmdc.mo.gov/node/281.
   For information about the Red Cedar Christmas Tree Event, call 816-561-1061, ext. 116.