Grand Rapids in Bloom: Spring 2017 Tree Planting Season Recap

Another Friends of Grand Rapids Parks planting season is in the books, folks! Neighbors and volunteers came together at 9 separate locations helping to #GreenUpGR and give our neighborhoods a little extra bloom during this season’s major tree planting effort!

Our Spring 2017 Planting For Our Future, Arbor Day and community tree planting season came to a close earlier this month and all the trees we planted are adding up. This past season we planted 634 trees throughout Grand Rapids, representing a wide variety of species including Eastern Redbud, horsechestnut, serviceberry, many varieties of oak, tulip poplars, and more!  This feat was accomplished in 9 neighborhoods and 4 schools across Grand Rapids with the help of over 670 volunteers.

Areas in Bloom

Urban Forest Mini Grants, for neighborhood-level tree plantings were awarded to:

  • Seeds of Promise
  • Bridge Street House of Prayer
  • East Hills Council of Neighbors
  • Thomas the Episcopal School

Urban Forest Mini Grants are graciously supported by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. Neighborhood plantings are a great opportunity to come out, get dirty, and positively impact your community. If you have a tree planting idea, apply for our ongoing Urban Forest Mini Grant on the UFP website! Mini grants are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Planting for our Future Mini Grants, for GRSP plantings with students were awarded to:

  • Union High School and Westwood Middle School
  • Palmer Elementary School

Planting for Our Future (PFOF) is a project geared towards helping children understand the benefits of trees in their communities.  As a part of this project, we offer teachers and school administrators the funding, technical assistance, trees, or support to host an urban forest project or event within their school!  This spring, Union/Westwood students learned important cross-curricular lessons about tree diversity, wetland mitigation, and slope plantings while Palmer Elementary preschoolers observed how their newly planted trees change with the seasons, what critters live in the soil, and how to maintain trees. 

This spring season also featured the second iteration of the Mayor’s Greening Initiative which took place at Martin Luther King Park on Arbor Day, April 28th. During this three-day long celebration we gave away over 500 seedlings to Grand Rapids youth at Campus Elementary School, planted 380 trees in and around MLK park, and hosted our first free residential tree giveaway, giving away an additional 100 trees!

Species diversity

Diversity is a main component of a healthy urban forest. Various species are susceptible to different pests and different kinds of damage, so the more variety in trees planted throughout the community, the less vulnerable our overall urban forest will be to invasive species, climate change, or severe weather. This season we planted 27 different kinds of trees, from bald cypress to zelkova, increasing the diversity and ultimately, resiliency of our forest.

Volunteer Stats

This season our remarkable volunteer core included 123 students (grades K – 12th) and 16 invaluable Citizen Forester Green Team Leaders! In total, our fleet of 670 volunteers donated over 1660 hours! Check out our Facebook for photos from this season’s plantings.

While we are done tree plantings until the fall, you can still volunteer this summer to help maintain trees planted this year and in past years! Our complete schedule of After Work Tree Times, which start after work during weekdays at 5:30PM and end around 7:30PM, includes:

5/24/2017 Wednesday CF: Pruning and Maintenance & AWTT Divison Ave HRS
6/1/2017 Thursday Hillcrest Dog Park
6/15/2017 Thursday Mulick Park
6/20/2017 Tuesday Christian Reformed Church Headquarters
6/27/2017 Tuesday East Hills- Kellogg St SE
7/6/2017 Thursday Henry Street (corner of Henry and Wealthy)
7/12/2017 Wednesday Jaycee-MacKay Park
7/27/2017 Thursday Riverside Park
8/1/2017 Tuesday Lafayette (corner of Lafayette and Fairbanks)
8/8/2017 Tuesday Lincoln Park
8/29/2017 Tuesday Garfield Park

Check out our upcoming volunteer opportunities for more information.

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