Mayor’s Greening 2020

The 2020 Mayor’s Greening Initiative will add 400 trees to the Garfield Park neighborhood in just one weekend! This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 10, with multiple ways for volunteers to safely be involved.

we'll see you soon!


Remaining until we work together as a community to invest in our neighborhoods and
bring the benefits of 400 new trees to the Garfield Park area!

frequently asked questions

what roles are available for volunteers?

    • Tree Planting: Plant 1-2 trees in Garfield Park or surrounding neighborhood during your 2-hour shift. 
    • Site Leader: These key volunteers are assigned a specific area to oversee during the event. This includes greeting volunteers assigned to work in the area, demonstrating tree planting, distributing and collecting tools, and communicating with Friends staff.
    • Clean-Up: Clear registration area, put away tools and supplies, and assist FGRP staff.

I want to volunteer with my family. is this possible?

    • Yes! Tree Planting is a great role for families and group volunteers, as our staff can assign you to plant trees in the same area.
    • Please refer to the Volunteer Safety section for information about social distancing.

I would like to be a site leader. what is required?

    • Because we rely on Site Leaders so much, we do require some training. Certified Neighborhood Foresters often serve as Site Leaders, but certification is not a pre-requisite.
    • Attend one of our three Site Leader Training sessions: Sept. 29, Oct. 1 and Oct. 3.
    • Please complete the volunteer registration form and select “Site Leader” as your role. You will receive an email from our team to coordinate training!

are there options for people with limited mobility?

    • Yes! We need volunteers to assist with cleaning up between shifts and after the event. 
    • If you are interested in assisting with administrative tasks such as data entry in the week after the event, please email

Instead of hosting a large gathering of volunteers to plant trees in a single day, we are dividing up the project!

We’ll host multiple “shifts” for volunteers to plant trees over the course of the weekend. When registering, pick the time that works best for you:

friday, Oct. 9

  • 2-4 p.m.
  • 5:30-7:30 p.m.

saturday, Oct. 10

  • 9-11 a.m.
  • 12-2 p.m.
  • 3-5 p.m.

what precautions are being taken for covid-19 safety?

  • Each volunteer “shift” will have a limited number of people allowed
  • You’ll be assigned a specific street on which to volunteer
  • We’ll distribute sanitized tools to each volunteer – and you’ll keep them for the whole project!

What are general guidelines for tree planting safely?

  • We ask that all volunteers wear closed-toe shoes and weather appropriate clothing.
  • Use provided tools with care – no horseplay!
  • Volunteers must complete a waiver before participating in any volunteer project. Our waiver is built into our online registration form here.
  • Will will have blank printed forms available at the event.
  • All volunteers under the age of 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent or guardian. Any volunteer under the age of 18 without a signed waiver will not be able to participate.

why plant trees?

Click here to learn about the benefits of urban trees. From cleaner air and cooler pavement to economic growth, trees can bring many benefits to our community.

Garfield Park neighborhood

2020 sponsors


AHC Hospitality  |  American Seating  |  BISSELL  |  Boxed Water
Grand Rapids Community Foundation  |  Grand Valley State University 
Meijer  |  Michigan First Credit Union  |  OST  |  Pioneer Construction


history of the initiative

The Mayor’s Greening Initiative is a partnership with the Mayor’s office, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and the City’s Forestry Department as a way to engage the entire community in reaching our city’s 40 percent tree canopy goal.

Together, since 2016 we have:

  • Planted over 1,800 trees in the city of Grand Rapids
  • Brought together 2,200 volunteers
  • Gave away 1,600 saplings to elementary school children to ignite their passion for nature

However, our work is not done. 

In 2017 we had to remove 1,500 dead, dying, or diseased trees that were a dangerous hazard to our community. You can find more information about this project here.  While removing these trees was a necessity for the safety of the community, it does leave a gap in our City’s tree canopy.

Through the Mayor’s Greening Initiative, the City’s tree planting efforts, and other Friends of Grand Rapids Parks tree plantings, we are steadily making strides towards the City’s tree canopy goal of 40%. We hope we can count on your partnership and support for the Mayor’s Greening Initiative as well as for future opportunities to help us reach our canopy goal.