we love our citizen foresters

We love our Citizen Foresters. Not only have they become indispensable in leading some of the projects that we have completed, but they have also become invaluable resources within their own communities – where their expertise is most needed.

Understanding the value of our Citizen Foresters, we decided to show our thanks through Friends’ first-ever Citizen Forester Appreciation outing. On July 22, 11 Citizen Foresters and their guests joined us at Meijer Gardens for a picnic and a private tour.

We were very thankful to secure Greg Afman, Japanese Gardens Lead Horticulturist, to lead our group on an hour-long tour. Greg started by taking us to Meijer Gardens rarely displayed bonsai collection. On hot days, these trees receive water three times a day! Of interesting note, some bonsai artists purposely develop defects on their trees such as missing bark, dead branches, or deformed roots. These traits are desirable as they help the tree appear more “natural.” This is in deep contrast to the work completed by our Citizen Foresters who are often trying to prevent defects in trees.

After looking at the tiny trees, the group wandered over to the in-progress construction of the Japanese Gardens. Greg highlighted the work that will be required to maintain the gardens. Some trees will receive pruning twice a year or more. Definitely a more intensive landscape than you might find in your yard. Regardless, rest assured the gardens will be incredibly beautiful when they open in 2015.

Those that attended, loved the opportunity. “It was lovely to meet up again with Citizen Foresters I’ve come to think of as tree people friends. Sometimes the talk of how our shared tree plantings or urban orchards are faring reminds me of talking with other friends about what their children are up to!”  said Citizen Forester Caroline Chadderdon. Citizen Forester Amanda St. Amour also enjoyed the tour “I am grateful for the opportunity that we had to hear another professional arborist/horticulturist.  It was very interesting to see some of the techniques and theories we have learned in CF classes applied in a much more formal setting than the urban environment that we volunteer in.” “While I don’t think most of us get involved for the recognition, it is a nice way to keep volunteers coming back.  The extra educational opportunities, like the Meijer Gardens tour, are especially nice.  I have been involved with a variety of organizations and your method exceeds expectations. Thanks!” she added.

Our Citizen Foresters are invaluable. Without them, Friends would not completely nearly the scale of work that we get accomplished. In turn, we like to show our Citizen Foresters that we value them through special events, opportunities, and support or access to supplies for projects in their neighborhoods. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE FUN TO YOU, BECOME A CITIZEN FORESTER. We’ll thank you for it.




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