The Riggs / Waterloo Arboretum Committee and project supporter will provide lunch and refreshments to all who help with the scheduled work days at the arboretum. Plan to help on April 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and/or April 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Restoration efforts will focus on trail maintenance and new trail construction, access to existing specimen trees in trail system, hazard tree removals, chipping and spreading waste wood on trails and installing and constructing signage and benches. Register in advance by calling Sunflower RC&D at (620) 896-7378 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested items to bring are: loppers, handsaws, rakes, scoop shovels, eye and ear protection, gloves and appropriate dress/ footwear. Don’t forget your camera as this is a great opportunity to take photographs of some of the Champion Trees of Kansas.
Established in 1887 by John Walter Riggs, the Riggs Arboretum at Waterloo is perhaps the oldest and least known arboretum west of the Mississippi River. Boasting over seventy mature varieties of trees from many parts of the world, this ten acre site is also home to several Kansas Champion trees including Loblolly pine, Yellowwood, and Laurel oak. Mr. Riggs is credited with being the first to successfully introduce varieties of evergreen such as cedars, pines, and arborvitae, as well as bald cypress to the plains of Kansas. For some years after the founder’s death in 1930, the planting was carefully maintained, but eventually it reverted to a “natural” or forested state with many specimen trees inaccessible due to the unmanaged growth. Beginning in 1997, a cooperative effort led by the owner, John Riggs (grandson of the founder), local citizens, and federal, state, and local organizations, has been under way to restore this unique site for its historic, botanical, cultural, and educational values.
The involvement and support from volunteers and work day participants have made this a very successful project. To date, over 200 people from 14 different countries have contributed over 3,500 hours in labor completing approximately 6,500 feet of walking trails and opening up over 70 different specimen trees for access and viewing.