Friends in the news

celebrating the inaugural Mayor’s Greening planting!

Following the annual Mayor’s Tree of Year event, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks met with Mayor Bliss to collaborate on new ways to meet the City’s 40% tree canopy goal. The Mayor proposed launching a new initiative that combined volunteers, funders, and the City to plant trees each year in low canopy areas. In addition to planting trees, the Mayor’s Greening Initiative would honor a community member each year with a tribute grove. FGRP was honored to be a part of this new idea and by fall the Mayor’s Greening Initiative had taken shape!

In no time, the details were in place! The first tree planting would honor Richard and Helen DeVos and pay tribute to their inspiring years of city building by installing a tribute grove and monument funded by the committee to thank Richard and Helen DeVos and the Employee’s Community Improvement Fund at Amway Corporation. It would also include eight other planting locations across the downtown area, along MDOT property. Partners and supporters from all over the city came together to select the planting sites, arrange transportation, recruit volunteers, and coordinate funding.

The planting day began bright and early at 8am as over 500 volunteers made their way to DeVos Place to register and mingle. With the help of Citizen Foresters and registration volunteers, every volunteer checked in, got their planting location assignment, and made it onto the buses before 9am!

Each planting location was full to bursting with excited volunteers and sturdy trees ready for planting! Across eight locations, our Citizen Forester Green Team Leaders led tree planting demonstrations and got each team settled with a tree in need. Throughout the morning City and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks staff traveled between locations and the city felt so alive as we all came together to green up Grand Rapids.

All too soon, buses came back to DeVos Place with happy volunteers and dirt covered shoes-a sure sign of a good planting! In one morning, volunteers planted 300 trees and added immeasurable value to our great city.  Our hearts were full when FGRP packed up the tools and wrapped up the planting, knowing that this event made such a difference to our city’s canopy goal.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is so proud to work with a city that values our green spaces, our neighbors, and our trees’ needs. We are so grateful to all of you for supporting this event and cheering us on. Thank you!

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