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City, MDC partner on project

The city of Desloge is working in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to beautify its two municipal parks and other common areas for the enjoyment of current residents, as well as future generations.

City Administrator Dan Bryan, along with city workers, met up with MDC Community Forester Jennifer Behnken on April 27 to plant two trees at Parkside Elementary School in recognition of Arbor Day with students at Parkside Elementary School — but it was more than that. It was the beginning of a partnership to place additional trees in Desloge Park.

“This is a celebration to try to involve the kids in putting some more trees here on the grounds of Parkside Elementary,” Behnken said. “I’ve been working with Dan Bryan to talk about the community forestry management and assistance that MDC can provide and try to work them to Tree U.S.A. status and one of our cost share grants.”

Bryan admitted that working with Behnken and the MDC has been “a great experience” for the city.

“We’ve been working with Jennifer for several months now,” he said. “We partnered up over the winter and she provided a tree pruning class for city employees, as well as the community. That happened in January and we had a real good turnout for that. We’re basically just building on the partnership of working with MDC in sprucing up our parks and getting some education from those folks.

“We’re beginning to tackle a project over at Brightwell Park eradicating an invasive honeysuckle bush. Jennifer and her crew has been working with us to get that lined out. We’re going to get that started in the summer — probably the first part of June and get that taken away. The city is just taking steps at a time, progressing with work on our little forest areas here in town, along with our trees and park. We’re just trying to continue beautifying the city of Desloge.”

Bryan — who has been city administrator just short of a year, but a long-time area resident — pointed out that one of the things people love about Desloge is that they can be sitting out in a forested area and almost forget they’re still in town.

“There’s not many places around you can say that about,” he said. “That’s what makes this place so special and we want to keep working on it.”

On that particular day, city workers were planting a total of eight trees — two crabapples next to the Parkside Elementary sign; two large shade trees; two swamp chestnut oak; two red maples; and two river birches.

“I think it’s been a real good partnership with the North County School District,” Bryan said. “This is a great looking school here in town — one of the three in the city. We’ve made this a joint effort to continue the beauty.

“One particular site is a shared area between the city and the school. Right there on the border of that is where we’re doing some of the planting. It’s a true partnership between the city and school for sure.”

North County Assistant Superintendent Chadd Starkey agreed.

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We enjoy the conservation department and the city of Desloge being cooperative with us and helping us out. It’s a great opportunity for our kids to learn a little bit about nature. It’s a good thing all the way around.”

Behnken added, “This is a fun, educational opportunity, as well, because it’s interactive, it’s really fun, it promotes community forestry practices and it teaches kids how to plant trees and take care of them —just getting them out and getting their hands dirty.”

Missouri Department of Conservation Community Forester Jennifer Behnken is surrounded by Parkside Elementary students on Arbor Day as they prepare to plant two trees by the school's sign. On that same day, city workers planted additional trees as part of a partnership between the city and MDC to beautify the city.

Missouri Department of Conservation Community Forester Jennifer Behnken is surrounded by Parkside Elementary students on Arbor Day as they prepare to plant two trees by the school’s sign. On that same day, city workers planted additional trees as part of a partnership between the city and MDC to beautify the city.

Desloge City Administrator explained that the city has been working in partnership for several months with the Missouri Department of Conservation on a project to

Desloge City Administrator explained that the city has been working in partnership for several months with the Missouri Department of Conservation on a project to “spruce up” city parks and common areas.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

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