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NeighborWoods Month celebrated by planting trees in Grand Rapids parks


Jim Harger | The Grand Rapids Press


G09015 trees and park.jpgScruffy
half-dead trees in Hillcrest Park stand near the dog play area. The
park will be the site of tree planting activities in October as part of
"NeighborWoods Month." The events are sponsored by the city's Parks and
Recreation Department and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

GRAND RAPIDS -- Thanks to a $10,000 grant, trees will be celebrated and planted next month as part of "NeighborWoods" activities hosted by the city and the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

The $10,000 grant from Siemens Corp. will be used to plant 50
large-scale trees in Hillcrest Park and the surrounding MidTown
neighborhood, according to city Parks and Recreation Director Jay
Steffen.

"These are going to make an instant impact," Steffen said of the
trees, whose trunks will have diameters between 2 and 2 1/2 inches.

While they could have purchased more smaller-sized, bareroot trees,
the larger "ball and burlap" trees will have a better chance of
surviving, said Steve Faber, director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

Faber said the Hillcrest Park area is being hit hard by the emerald
ash borer, a pest that has destroyed much of the tree canopy in
Southeast Michigan and is taking hold in West Michigan.

"It's running through here pretty rampantly," Faber said. "We're attempting to bring back a little bit of that tree canopy."

The grant was awarded to the city as part of its recent designation
as the nation's most sustainable mid-sized city by Siemens and the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center.

The tree plantings at Hillcrest Park will occur on Oct. 29 from 11
a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional tree plantings will occur at GR Bike Park and
the Coit Avenue bridge over I-196 on Oct. 30.

Other NeighborWoods events next month include:

Oct. 9: Oakdale Neighbors and Art of the Table will host a "Nuts and Berries Bike Tour" of the city. The tour will begin at 3 p.m.

Oct. 16: Volunteers will conduct a tree inventory
at Garfield Park at Madison Avenue and Burton Street SE. The event will
be held from 9 a.m. until noon.

Oct. 23: There will be a guided tour of Riverside
Park, which has more than 40 different species of trees. Tours will
begin at 11 a.m. at the Lagoon Shelter near the center of the park.

Oct. 30: Oakhill Neighbors will host a two-hour
"Trees, Treats and Tombstones" tour of Oakhill Cemetery, 647 Hall St.
SE. The event will begin at 3 p.m.

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