We are Friends spotlight on volunteer Jon Rapley


Q: How did you first get involved in Friends of Grand Rapids Parks?
A: I was looking for volunteer opportunities in Grand Rapids when I came across the Friends of Grand Rapids Park website. I reached out to to them and soon found myself helping with set up for Movies In The Park. Since then I have learned of all the great work they do for the community and have tried my best to help out whenever possible.

Q: Where are you from originally and how did you wind up in Grand Rapids?
A:  I am originally from the Rock of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located south of Spain. I went to college in Ormskirk, England where I got my BA Hons degree in Geography. While I was studying there I met my wife who is from Michigan. To cut an extremely long story short, I relocated to this great city in December 2013.

Q: What has been your favorite FGRP volunteer event so far and why?
A: I have enjoyed them all from cleaning up parks and planting trees to helping set up for Movies In The Park. However if I was to choose one I would say volunteering for the Green Gala. It was great fun working the registration table and meeting so many new faces in the Grand Rapids community.

Q: Which is your favorite City park and why?
A: Ah-Nab-Awen Park. There is just something about the combination of the Grand River, the open green space and the downtown buildings that I love about this park.

Q: If you could pick one movie to show at Movies In The Park, what would it be and why?
A: The Shawshank Redemption, because its my favorite movie and a classic.

Q: How did it feel to graduate as a Citizen Forester?
A: It felt really rewarding. The skills and techniques I learned throughout the course are extremely valuable. I believe that trees play an important part in life and knowing how to successfully identify and maintain them is vital in increasing Grand Rapids’ tree canopy.

This is the fifth in a series of monthly profiles featuring the many people–staff, Board members, volunteers and more–who, together, are Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

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