Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
In 2018, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will celebrate 10 years of connecting people to parks, trees, and public spaces in our community. Since we began, our organization has been committed to working with neighbors to reignite their love for parks. We have worked with the City of Grand Rapids and community members to help revitalize our parks, pools, and playground system. With our community, we have added to the urban tree canopy by planting more than 4,000 trees. We have created a robust group of park volunteers and citizen foresters that have advocated for, cleaned up, and expanded our parks and urban forest.
This year alone we graduated 33 new citizen foresters, planted more than 880 trees, mobilized 775 volunteers who spent 15,000+ hours in Grand Rapids, and held more than 65 events to beautify parks and increase our tree canopy.
So why do parks and trees matter? Parks are vital for increasing quality of life by providing physical, emotional, spiritual, and social elements that impact our quality of life. They are public gathering places that add to the health of our citizens and the economic health of the community. Our parks create a backyard for many who may not have one. Parks bring people together in one common space to unify in grief, protest, or celebration.
However, there is more work to do. We work alongside both the community and the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to keep the activation, advocacy, and volunteerism momentum going. Friends will be focusing on creating community engagement activities that help to create park and tree advocates, organize more volunteer stewardship opportunities, and plant more trees to help reach the 40% tree canopy goal and vibrant parks and public spaces.