Missouri Conservation Commissioner Mark McHenry honored at KC Arbor Day event

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City bestowed Arbor Day honors on Missouri Conservation Commissioner Mark McHenry and the late Harold and Mary Chaney on April 23 with commemorative trees planted for them in the city’s venerable Loose Park. A tulip tree for McHenry and an autumn brilliance serviceberry tree for the Chaneys were planted in their honor. McHenry shoveled on mulch for his tree and Chaney family members mulched the serviceberry.

The honorees worked decades for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. McHenry is a former director of the system and currently a member of the Missouri Conservation Commission, which sets policy for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Harold Chaney rose through the ranks and was the first African American to be a district manager for the Kansas City Parks Department.

“Arbor Day is always a good day,” McHenry said. “It makes this extra special to do this remembering Harold and Mary.”

Kansas City Forester Kevin Lapointe said both honorees had worked tirelessly to promote beauty and recreation in the city’s parks.

“Mark has unequivocally supported our natural environment and the beautification of our city,” Lapointe said.

MDC provided swamp white oak tree seedlings for attendees to take home and plant for Arbor Day. The holiday originated in 1872 and honorary Arbor Day tree plantings have been observed in Kansas City for 35 years, said Wendy Sangster, MDC community conservation planner.

“We celebrate the benefits of trees,” Sangster said. “They provide shade and clean our water and air. They’re part of the infrastructure of our city.”

McHenry joins former Conservation Commissioner Anita Gorman as a recipient of an Arbor Day tree planting in Loose Park. Mrs. Gorman chose a white bud tree in 1997. Three former MDC foresters have also been honored with tree plantings for their decades of work promoting the city’s urban forest. They include Larry Lackamp, red oak, 2001; Jerry Monterastelli, bald cypress, 2003, and Helene Miller, bur oak, 2012. These trees can all be observed growing on the historic park’s grounds and maintained as part of the Stanley R. McClane Arboretum, which includes more 110 tree species.

For more information about planting the right trees in the right places to benefit your home, neighborhood, or community, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4wU.