Vision:

BRFE endeavors to cultivate and help sustain people with a deeper awareness, appreciation, and devotion to nature, their selves, and others.

Mission:

BRFE and its staff foster greater people and community through a variety of nature-based programs and self enriching experiences.  These programs and experiences, held on land that feeds the headwaters of the Blue River in Overland Park, Kansas, lead to a reawakened sense of wonder; inspired optimism and happiness; fostered feelings of well being; enhanced sense of self, community, Earth, and positive future; and a valuable difference in the lives of children, parents, and people who cultivate health and well-being in others.  Consequentially, caretaking the land on which these programs take place is a necessary part of our mission.

Goals:

  • To provide people of all ages with opportunities to experience and connect with nature and the outdoors.

  • To share about the lives, knowledge, wisdom, and cultures of indigenous peoples, as made possible by nature.

  • To empower therapists, doctors, and other relevant health professionals with further resources and methods of aiding others in sustaining well-being, including for peoples whose minds, bodies, and life development, alongside social and cultural inequity, can be disabling.

  • To grow a larger community of earth stewards committed to nature and each other, who can use their combined strength to ultimately better the world.

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Where We Are:

The Blue River Valley

The Blue River Forest Experience is located on the edge of the valley by the headwaters of the Big Blue River where Coffee creek and Wolf creek come together. The area is rich in history and was the main campgrounds of the Black Bob Chief, a Native American Shawnee Chief of the “Skipakakamithagi,” the “blue water people” because they lived along the Big Blue River. The area is considered sacred as the original people believed that where two rivers converge it was a good place to send prayers and good intentions down the river for the healing of the world. The Blue River comprises the largest watershed in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. It goes through the Kansas City Zoo and turns into a large concrete ditch to serve the industrial growth of the city before it flows into the Missouri River. Before industrialization it was a favorite recreation area for families in the Kansas City area. Our Blue River Forest School will be in a film created by the Heartland Conservation Alliance as an example of ways to save the natural wild places surrounding the Blue River. Through education and renewed sense of love for the river, children will more likely become involved with conservation and work to preserve the biodiversity and clean water that remains at the headwaters of the river. Our intention is to help save the Blue River and bring awareness to the importance of rejuvenating rivers that run through urban areas. Through collaboration with the Heartland Conservation Alliance we are connecting with land owners to preserve the southern portion of the river in a natural healthy wild state. Our intention is to preserve the diverse life the river supports through educational experiences we facilitate to bring awareness and deeper connection to the land. We want to do our part here locally to insure that the water is clean to drink and play in for future generations. We understand that without water, we cannot survive.. In the Lakota language this is known as Mni Wiconi - “Water is Life.”

Map of the water Way. Where does the water go? Coffee creek > Blue River > Missouri River > Mississippi River > Gulf of Mexico

“My Kids just love being out in Nature. Since we live in such a busy environment here in KC, this is the perfect place to reconnect to nature as an adult, and teach kids how to respect and connect to nature themselves. I love love love this program.”
— Kezia Shine