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GRAND RAPIDS CELEBRATES ARBOR DAY WITH REFOREST RIVERSIDE PROJECT

                                           

WHAT:          The Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, is set to plant 100 trees in Riverside Park for Arbor Day with help of volunteers as part of a 500 tree planting goal for parks near the Grand River over the next 1.5 years. This project is funded in part by the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, administered by the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area, and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. It seeks to restore the tree canopy lost to Emerald Ash Borer at Riverside and other riverbank parks in the efforts to maintain or improve the Grand River’s water quality.  The planting was moved to higher ground in the park due to flooding.  Volunteers will also help park cleanup as the water recedes. 

WHY:             Trees provide social, economic, and environmental benefits.  It helps to keep the city moving toward a 40% urban forest canopy goal set as part of the Green Grand Rapids Master Plan.  Park trees are continually damaged by storms, disease and many are reaching their age limits.  Riverside Park alone could lose nearly 500 trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer.  Planting new trees is essential to maintaining our urban environment and quality of life.

WHO:             Volunteers from BLEND, Meijer, Association of Grand Rapids Landscape Professionals, Bank of America, Americorps, Wolverine Worldwide, Consumers Energy, Cascade Engineering, Encompass, Goodwill Industries, Home Depot, Ferris State School of Pharmacy, and ITC.  The trees are sponsored through a US Forest Service, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, with additional program support from the MiDNR, Quimby Walstrom & Boise Aspen Premium Recycled Paper and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

WHERE:        Media are encouraged to come to Riverside Park.  Tree planting will be along Monroe Avenue at the baseball field entrance

WHEN:          Friday April 26 1-5pm and Saturday, April 27  9-1:00pm

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Friends of Grand Rapids is an independent, citizen driven nonprofit with the mission to protect, enhance and expand parks and public spaces.  In 2012, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks initiated the Urban Forest Project in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids.  Friends of Grand Rapids Parks just received the Arbor Day Foundation 2013 Arbor Day Award for Leadership in Urban Forestry.

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