Friends of Grand Rapids Parks plant trees to celebrate National NeighborWoods Month

By Jim Harger
Grand Rapids, MI (October 2, 2009)- When Kathy Wiegers moved here in 1991 as a Calvin College student, she fell in love with the Eastown neighborhood and Wilcox Park. Now that she’s raising a family in Eastown, she wants to preserve Wilcox Park’s beauty for coming generations. Wiegers will be at the park Saturday when members of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks plant 11 trees and treat four ash trees threatened by the emerald ash borer.

Keesen Wiegers, 6, plays on the monkey bars with older sister, 8 year-old Sadie, while hanging out at Wilcox Park. On Saturday, trees will be planted as part of National NeighborWoods Month.
“It’s a very nice shady park,” said Wiegers, who helped organize the event, which includes music, storytime and games from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families attending the event also will get to take home one of the 75 white pine seedlings donated by Fruitbasket Flowerland, Wiegers said.
Saturday’s event is one of four being held in city parks to celebrate National NeighborWoods Month, said Steve Faber, executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. The celebrations also are aimed at acquainting local tree lovers with some of the new and affordable methods of preserving ash trees.
While the emerald ash borer has wiped out most of the ash trees in southeast and central Michigan, new treatments offer hope for preserving those in West Michigan, where the insect has just begun making infestations, Faber said. “We’re really hoping we can find the resources to save them,” said Faber, who said ash trees make up about 15 percent of the city’s forest canopy.
Other NeighborWood events this month:
* Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to noon at Riverside Park – There will a guided tour of the 40 varieties of trees in the largest park within the city’s boundaries. Information for treating ash trees will be shared.
* Oct. 24, 9 a.m. to noon at Cherry Street Park – There will be a tree planting and tour of the East Hills neighborhood, where a study concluded the trees add a cumulative value of more than $4 million.
* Oct. 31, from 4-5 p.m. at Oak-hill Cemetery – A Halloween tour will explore the trees and monuments in one of the city’s oldest cemeteries.
Related Resources:
Grand Rapids Press- Friends of Grand Rapids Parks plant trees to celebrate National NeighborWoods Month
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
NeighborWoods Month