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Image of wooden sweater cutouts. Left is just wood, and the right is decorated in green color, red ornaments, gold tinsel, and a leg lamp.

INDEPENDENCE, Mo – We’re celebrating 20 years of the Winter Solstice Torch-Lit Hike, and you can get involved by decorating holiday sweater cutouts! George Owens Nature Park, in partnership with Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity, is thrilled to invite the community to decorate a sweater cutout designed by students with the Fort Osage School District.  

Your creative and uniquely decorated sweaters will be unveiled at the 20th Annual Winter Solstice Torch Lit Hike on Wednesday, December 6, from 5-7 PM.  But don’t worry, you will be able to enjoy them along the paved Butterfly Trail at George Owens Nature Park, 1601 S. Speck Road, from Dec. 7, 2023, to Feb. 1, 2024.  

 “The Winter Trail highlights our parks aren't just for spring and summer use," City of Independence Recreation Service Supervisor Jeff Umbreit said. "This is a long-standing tradition at George Owens that I know we look forward to every year. The creativity in our community is astounding and we have visitors who regularly comment on how much they love to see the decorations along our trails. We look forward to once again supporting our community partner, Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity, as we celebrate the season.” 

The wooden holiday sweater cutouts went on sale Wednesday, Nov. 1, and are on sale until all cutouts are sold. All proceeds support Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity. The cost for each sweater is $20, with limited supplies. Locations for pick up are Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity Independence (505 N. Dodgion) and Blue Springs (1219 NW 7 Highway).  

“Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity is excited to be a part of this long-standing community building opportunity,” said Lindsay Browne, the Director of Community Engagement for Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity. “It is a great way to raise awareness of the work done by Truman Habitat and Independence Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.  It’s a chance for Independence neighbors to share in their community as they physically build, or paint, something, which is what Habitat for Humanity is all about.”   

Decorated sweaters can be dropped off at George Owens Nature Park’s DeWitt Center (1601 S. Speck Rd) Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, from 9 AM – 4:45 PM. For more information or questions call (816) 325-7115.  




About Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity 

Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build affordable housing, revitalize neighborhoods, and strengthen the community. Through volunteer support and tax-deductible donations, habitat assists in rebuilding homes with the help of homeowner partners and families.  

About George Owens Nature Park 

George Owens Nature Park, operated by the City of Independence Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department, has provided opportunities for families to engage in the outdoors since 1977. The park offers 86 acres of beautiful hiking trails, lakes, nature programs, and more! The DeWitt Center delivers rotating exhibits, and live animal displays including, 4 large aquariums with small Missouri stream fish.  

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