Friends of Grand Rapids Parks provides education and training to any volunteer to help them become knowledgeable in tree planting, maintenance, and identification. Certified Neighborhood Foresters are constant advocates and leaders for trees in their communities. We rely on our Neighborhood Foresters to help educate, advocate, and provide support for neighborhood based tree-projects.

BECOME A neighborhood FORESTER

To earn the Neighborhood Forester title, a person must attend the following classes:

  • Tree Planting: offers an introduction to planting, maintenance, and care of recently planted and young trees. This class covers selecting a planting location, choosing species and stock, planting a tree, and appropriate maintenance.


  • Tree Maintenance and Pruning: is an overview of pruning, on-going watering, mulching, fertilization and other common tree maintenance issues. Specific attention is given to young tree pruning and maintenance to encourage proper tree form and structure.


  • Tree Identification: provides a basic foundation for recognizing tree differences and using a standard dichotomous identification key. Attention is given to common tree species in Grand Rapids.


  • Branching Out: Becoming a Park and Tree Champion: Explores why trees and parks are important to our community and how our City manages the parks and urban forest. We examine ways to communicate with neighbors, city officials, and elected representatives about parks and trees and their benefits.

Neighborhood Forester classes are offered in non-sequential order and can be completed at your own pace.

Before completing your certification we also ask that our Neighborhood Foresters attend two outside volunteer opportunities: an After Work Tree Time (AWTT) and tree planting. After completion of all six requirements, a participant will become an officially recognized Neighborhood Forester.

Additionally, we offer a rotation of unique, optional or elective courses and guest lectures on issues that interest our Neighborhood Foresters. Check our calendar for these upcoming opportunities.

If you are interested in becoming a Neighborhood Forester, please keep an eye on our events calendar or CONTACT US.


  • Aid neighbors with tree issues or questions.
  • Lead projects in their community.
  • Help organize volunteers FGRP with volunteer tree projects.
  • Advocate for trees with their neighbors, friends, and elected officials.
  • Help educate their community on the importance of trees.
  • Develop, organize, and complete tree-projects or initiatives within their communities.


  • Neat FGRP swag.
  • Reduced rate at special events and workshops.
  • Complete access to FGRP Community Resource Center.
  • Access to tools for neighborhood-based projects.


  • Established tree orchards in local parks.
  • Arranged volunteer tree plantings in their neighborhoods.
  • Cared for newly planted trees.
  • Responded to neighborhood concerns regarding low-hanging branches, trees in poor health, or planting problems.
  • Led volunteers in the planting of hundreds of trees across Grand Rapids.