Spring to me is about several different factors: mild temperatures, the smell of mud and new grass, and trees suddenly bursting with leaves or blossoms. In spite of seasonal allergies, I find myself looking for new buds on trees and shrubs, anxiously waiting for the small, pale leaves to uncurl. One of the things I miss most about Missouri is the trees. In the spring, the pollen can be so thick that you have to scrape your windshield in the morning, but the sun sinking behind a veil of leaves, creating a stained glass ceiling in shades of green is breathtaking. Maybe I should just admit it: My name is Luci and I’m a tree-aholic.
Though I may miss the dense Ozark woods of MO, I do enjoy the new trees I’ve been introduced to in Kansas. Box-elder, hackberry and cottonwood trees are much more plentiful here than in Missouri. As a child, I remember having to walk to a remote field near my grandparent’s house just to find one Osage Orange. Here, there are half a dozen of these trees as I drive the mile to work in the morning.
In light of the spring season and the fact that Arbor Day is April 26, I have dedicated the library’s basement display cases to Kansas trees. One display shows close ups of 20 different tree species native to Kansas. You can test yourself on your knowledge by matching tree names to the numbered pictures in the display case. Drop by and see if you get “stumped.”
Earth Day is just a couple of days prior to Arbor Day, on April 22. To celebrate Earth Day, the Kansas Room will be hosting a series of evening programs on April 23rd, 24th and 25th titled “Kansas Green and Clean.” On April 23rd at 6PM in the Schmidt Gallery, the Kansas Room will host Derek Hadley, owner of White Chocolate. Derek’s presentation will focus on how to “eat green.” He’ll be teaching us how to eat healthy, organic foods on a budget. On April 24th at 6PM in the Schmidt Gallery, Holly Dickman, a horticulture agent for the Ellis County Extension, will give a program on water conservation tips and techniques. Anyone who wants to learn how to better manage their water use is encouraged to attend. Finally, on April 25th at 6PM in the Kansas Room, I’ll give a program on how to make and use green household cleaners. You’ll learn how, with just a few inexpensive ingredients, you can clean your entire home safely and effectively. Plus, by attending you have the chance to win your own green-cleaning starter kit. Come to one program, or to all three!
The Kansas Room is hosting one other very special program in April. Steve Parke, a native of Trego County who now lives in Colorado, will be giving a presentation on Czech Settlements in Kansas on April 11th at 6PM in the Schmidt Gallery. Steve has been doing research on ethnic communities in Kansas since the 1980s and has given numerous presentations on his findings. This should be a fascinating presentation for anyone who has an interest in the history and culture of Czech settlements in Kansas. It may even inspire you to do some research on your own!The Kansas Room is located in the basement of the Hays Public Library and is open from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday.