Between Earth Day and Arbor Day, April turned out to be a great month for greening the city through tree planting. Thanks to volunteers from FTC&H, Home Depot, Feyen-Zylstra, and Farmers Insurance, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks partnered with the City to plant 80 trees in Riverside Park. These tree planting efforts are critical as we support the Green Grand Rapids and Urban Forestry Plan goal of a 40% urban tree canopy.
These efforts kick off a series of exciting tree-related projects rolling out this summer.
Park Tree Nursery -Friends of Grand Rapids Parks was recently awarded a mini-grant from the Department of Natural Resources to pilot a volunteer run tree nursery at Garfield Park, specializing in native trees to be transplanted into the park as they mature.
Tree Identification Class -Parks and Rec., in partnership with MSU Extension, will be offering the first ever 'Getting to Know Woody Plants (trees and shrubs)' class on June 16 from 5-9pm. Please call 456-3696 for more details or to register.
Project G.R.E.E.N.- A new environmental education and service-learning program for middle school youth will be conducting a tree inventory in the South East Community Association neighborhood this summer. We are looking for volunteers to work alongside the youth to "test out" the tree inventory tools and iTree application.
Park Tree Tour -Tree identification tags with a brochure outlining features about the different tree species will be coming soon to Riverside Park! Stay tuned for more details and tree tour dates led by arborist Vic Foerster of West Michigan Tree Service.
You may have also noticed a flurry of green activity in city parkways in April. Thanks to a grant through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the City of Grand Rapids secured the resources to plant 713 street trees in target areas. Based on recommendations by the Urban Forestry Committee's Emerald Ash Borer Task Force, of which Friends was a member, the City also allocated $50,000 to treat and save over 450 ash trees this year. The City is also stepping up efforts to understand our urban forest by conducting a 5% inventory of Street Trees. The professional inventory will provide the Urban Forestry Committee with a detail sample of tree species distribution, size, infrastructure conflict, and condition. This data will drive the development of an Urban Forestry Asset Management Plan and provide support for future compressive citizen inventories through an iTree application. We thank the City and Urban Forestry Committee for their commitment and leadership in greening our neighborhoods.
Great parks (and trees) make great neighborhoods,
Steve Faber, Executive Director