The Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council announces the recipients of the 2021 Natural & Cultural Heritage grant program after receiving approval from the Board of County Commissioners on May 5. A total of $200,000 was awarded to 13 projects.
"Collectively, these grants exemplify the mission of the Heritage Conservation Council to conserve both our natural and cultural resources," said Douglas County Heritage Coordinator Jan Shupert-Arick. "Combined with the heritage grant projects funded during the past 10 years, Douglas County is harnessing a rare opportunity to weave together exceptional experiences that tell the stories of our collective past."
The projects and the amounts awarded:
1. Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery, $11,000, to help restore historic grave markers in Section 2 in addition to new landscaping at the cemetery located in East Lawrence.
2. Kansas Land Trust, Inc., $59,400, to preserve a natural and scenic buffer around Wells Overlook Park, which is just south of Lawrence. It is located three-fourths of a mile east of U.S. Highway 59 on the south side of N 1000 Road. Ken Lassman and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg will donate a 135-acre conservation easement to Kansas Land Trust to protect the land that is characterized by hedge rows, small fields, a WPA pond, native vegetation and native habitat restoration projects.
3. KU Center for Research, $35,000 to connect people with pollinators through partnerships in Douglas County. The Kansas Biological Survey will collaborate with the Lawrence Parks and Recreation and the KU Endowment Association to restore the Mutt Run Off-Leash Dog Park. Habitat improvements will increase the abundance of native grasses and wildflowers, including the milkweeds that are essential to monarch reproduction. Carefully selected plants will ensure flowering throughout the growing season to provide critical food and habitat for pollinators and other insects, as well as visual interest to human visitors. Partner organizations will develop materials about pollinators and offer public programs. The pollinator habitats will be open to the public.
4. Holy Family Catholic Church, $8,000, for tuck pointing the historic stone church in Eudora.
5. Vinland Cemetery Association, $8,500, to prepare for the 150th anniversary of the cemetery’s establishment and for public education about those who are buried there. The work includes repair and restoration work on the nearly 100-year-old shelter house, realignment of gravestones and development of a narrated walking tour.
6. NAACP Lawrence Branch, $4,500, to identify the final resting places of African Americans in Douglas County and to create a searchable database and virtual story map for the public, researchers, and genealogists. Through research and oral histories, the project will compile stories related to African Americans who have lived in Douglas County since Territorial Days. The overall goal of the project is to prevent the locations of these burials and the important stories they tell about the African American community, and their critical contributions to the development of Douglas County, from being lost to history.
7. Clinton Lake Historical Society, $8,000 to build an ADA-compliant restroom and a food preparation space at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum, which is located in Bloomington Park on the west side of Clinton Lake.
8. Pantaleon Florez III, $4,000 for a project at the Incubator Farm, a site located just north of Lawrence that provides beginning farmers access to agricultural soils. The project aims to establish a frontage planting, propagate plants for community agricultural spaces, and provide an auto ethnographic account of a farmer of color. The project also will enfranchise BIPOC producers to liaison with local governments on issues of food and land access.
9. Baker University, $5,000, to digitize the portion of Baker University’s student newspaper, the Baker Orange, that is not currently in the public domain (1924-2020) and make the digital copies available for public use.
10. Lawrence Arts Center, $8,000, for a thrice-weekly morning show that will be hosted by legendary Gathering of Nations Master of Ceremonies Ruben Littlehead Sr. and streamed live from the Lawrence Arts Center. The 12-episode pilot season is scheduled for Aug. 16 – Sept. 10. Ruben Littlehead Sr. will entertain viewers with discussion of everything from high school sports to national news as well as host guest speakers and performers.
11. Douglas County Historical Society, $15,000 for the production and printing of stories and photographs that capture the history of Lawrence. This would be the third volume, “Building Lawrence in Douglas County,” in a community history anthology that has been led by Dennis Domer, who wrote the first volume with Barbara Watkins. The first volume was called “Embattled Lawrence: Conflict & Community” and it was published in 2001.
12. Eudora Area Historical Society, $3,600 for the creation and installation of nine bronze plaques on nine historical buildings in Eudora along Main and Church streets to help educate people about Eudora’s history.
13. St. Luke AME Church, $30,000, to anchor, repoint and rehabilitate the brick towers on the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
More information about these projects: http://dgcoks.org/hccgrants
The Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council promotes the conservation of our cultural and natural heritage to honor our past, enrich our present, and inspire our future.