Friends of Grand Rapids Parks plant trees to celebrate National NeighborWoods Month

By  Jim Harger, The Grand Rapids Press

Wilcox Park

Wiegers, 6, plays on the monkey bars with older sister, 8 year-old
Sadie, while hanging out at Wilcox Park. On Saturday, trees will be
planted as part of National NeighborWoods Month.


When Kathy Wiegers moved here in 1991 as a Calvin College
student, she fell in love with the Eastown neighborhood and Wilcox Park.

Now that she’s raising a family in Eastown, she wants to preserve Wilcox Park’s beauty for coming generations.

Wiegers will be at the park Saturday when members of Friends of
Grand Rapids Parks plant 11 trees and treat four ash trees threatened
by the emerald ash borer. 

“It’s a very nice shady park,” said Wiegers, who helped organize the
event, which includes music, storytime and games from 10:30 a.m. to 3

Families attending the event also will get to take home one of the 75 white pine seedlings donated by Flowerland/Fruitbasket, Wiegers said.

Saturday’s event is one of four being held in city parks to celebrate National NeighborWoods Month, said Steve Faber, executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

The celebrations also are aimed at acquainting local tree lovers
with some of the new and affordable methods of preserving ash trees.

While the emerald ash borer has wiped out most of the ash trees in
southeast and central Michigan, new treatments offer hope for
preserving those in West Michigan, where the insect has just begun
making infestations, Faber said.

“We’re really hoping we can find the resources to save them,” said
Faber, who said ash trees make up about 15 percent of the city’s forest

Other NeighborWood events this month:

Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to noon at Riverside Park — There will a guided tour
of the 40 varieties of trees in the largest park within the city’s
boundaries. Information for treating ash trees will be shared.

Oct. 24, 9 a.m. to noon at Cherry Street Park — There will be a tree
planting and tour of the East Hills neighborhood, where a study
concluded the trees add a cumulative value of more than $4 million.

Oct. 31, from 4-5 p.m. at Oak-hill Cemetery — A Halloween tour will
explore the trees and monuments in one of the city’s oldest cemeteries.

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