The former Chief of the Iroquois Nation Leon Shenandoah shared both a reflection and challenge to residents on his momentous visit to KC in 1987 saying “My energy grows, my mind settles, and my heart smiles; for here in the heart of America, the people care for one another and their earth.” Moved by these words, a diverse group of citizens decided to honor this legacy by planting a forest in the shape of a heart. Their vision was to build this living monument as something to be showcased and cultivated by the people of this land for generations to come. The planting was completed in the early 1990’s before the days of mainstream internet and social media existed and for some period was forgotten. But as the Chinese proverb says, “the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is now.” Today, the trees have grown into a mature but relatively unknown 50ft Heart Forest adjacent to KCI Airport.
Our mission is to once again activate the heart spirit of the people to care for one another and our earth. Having begun before the internet and social media even existed, this new generation has the potential to carry the baton forward in cultivating these ideas. Our desire is to now again inspire a network of people and satellite locations across the city (and country) to make tangible heart centered change in areas of ecological health, social equity, and economic development.
Whatever America hopes to come to pass in the world, must first come to pass in the heart of America.
– DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
- KC Tree Cover % increase (currently high 20’s% declining rapidly)
- KC Tree Canopy % in poor health decrease (currently 60%)
- # Tons of Carbon Sequestered
- # of people in network
- # Media Impressions
- # Site locations
- Carbon offsets with airport operations and vendors (until airport is carbon positive)
- Branding fit for “sticky” merchandising campaign
- Community centric infrastructure (picnic tables, gates, gazebo, gardens)
- Solar lighting system so that arriving airplane passengers can see HeartForest
- Experimental social media mechanism (new lights turned on with donations)
- Quote plaque of Chief Leon Shenandoah
- Exhibits in airport terminal and onsite for carbon education
- Neighborhood satellite location templates advancing ecological health, social equity, and economic development.