Tree-mendous news from Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

In March, the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks launched its Citizen Forester program. Since then, we’ve held two separate Tree Planting 101 classes and trained over 40 Citizen Planters. On May 9th, we’ll host our first Tree Maintenance and Pruning Workshop. In June, we’ll be hosting our first Tree ID class. We’re continuing to develop additional curricula, so keep your eyes open for a variety of approaching classes. 

Vitamin D is important vitamin that is responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphate. Remarkably, Vitamin D is produced in human skin with the stimulation of sunlight. Feel like you’ve been having trouble synthesizing your Vitamin D quota? We’ve got the cure. On April 26th and 27th, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will be hosting a monster Arbor Day Planting in Riverside Park. Come out and help us plant over 150 trees (Sunlight is preferred and welcome, but not required. Trees get planted rain or shine).

Build a Better Block, a group of active, local, urban-minded volunteers are taking over State St from Jefferson to Cherry and turning it into a vibrant city block on May 18th and 19th. This project seeks to demonstrate new urban design ideas and promote discourse around roads, planning, zoning, businesses, and community-building. As part of this project Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will host the outdoor portion of their Tree Maintenance Pruning Class on the morning of both dates. This is an opportunity for newly trained volunteers to use their skills to directly improve City trees.

At it’s launch in August 2012, the Grand Rapids Tree Map contained thousands of trees contributed by earlier inventory efforts. As of April, the Tree Map has topped 18,000 trees. The tree map is a wonderful tool to understand the value and contribution of trees to our community. We’re happy that citizens have made good use of this tool in advocating for trees, tracking records, and communicating the value of the urban forest to their neighbors. Map on!

We’ve still got trees and cash available for a variety of community-based tree projects. We’re happy to work with community leaders and develop neat programs around trees in your neighborhood. So, if you have an idea for a tree project, event, outreach, or education effort, basically anything tree-related we encourage you to apply for a mini-grant!

This Spring and Summer, we’ll be working on putting together “Community Tree Maintenance Days”. In other words, we want to help neighborhoods, business districts, or community organizations manage their recently planted trees. If you’ve got a bunch of small trees that need a bit of pruning, weeding, and general care we can help by providing the tools and training to get it done! Contact us if your neighborhood is in need of early tree care.

Finally, we’re always interested in helping you grow trees in your neighborhood. If you’ve got planting ideas, you’re concerned about trees, or you want help advocating for the trees in your community, let us know. We’re happy to provide you with guidance and information. We’re your community resource.For information, contact Lee Mueller, Program Coordinator, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks at lee.mueller@friendsofgrparks.org or 616 389 4687

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