The eastern red cedar tree offers a native and fragrant evergreen for holiday decorating, and cutting one down can help grassland restoration at Blue Springs Lake in Jackson County’s Fleming Park.

The eastern red cedar tree offers a native and fragrant evergreen for holiday decorating, and cutting one down can help grassland restoration at Blue Springs Lake in Jackson County’s Fleming Park.

Kansas City WildLands will host the 9th annual “Native Christmas Tree” event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 4 at Shelter House A, 22103 Woods Chapel Road in Blue Springs.

WildLands is a non-profit that coordinates volunteer projects throughout the year to restore native plant and tree communities at Kansas City area parks and public lands, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation and other entities such as Jackson County Parks and Recreation.

Eastern red cedar trees are offered annually for holiday decorations to remove cedars that have invaded native meadows and glades. Cedars can spread rapidly and suppress desirable native wildflowers and grasses. Naturally occurring wildfires once kept cedars in check on prairies. But fire suppression has allowed them to spread, and cutting them for Christmas trees is one way to restore natural grassland at the park.

Those wishing to cut a cedar are asked to bring handsaws and rope.

Those items will be available on site if needed. Also, volunteers are available to help cut trees, transport them from the field to the parking lot or load them. Festivities will include hot apple cider and a warm fire.

A $15 donation is suggested for trees. The money will be used to benefit WildLands’ conservation programs.

For more information or a map to the event site go to www.kcwildlands.org, or contact WildLands Program Manager Linda Lehrbaum at 816-561-1061, ext. 116, or Linda@bridgingthegap.org.