Fifth annual Mayor’s Greening Initiative to plant 500 trees

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, second from right, helps other volunteers plant trees. Courtesy Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

The Mayor’s Greening Initiative marks its fifth anniversary this year, and to celebrate it will plant 500 trees in the neighborhood around Garfield Park, located off Burton Street SE.

The initiative is a partnership between the city of Grand Rapids, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, the city’s Forestry division and local neighborhood associations to plant 400 trees in a different neighborhood each year with the help of volunteers.

Registration for this year’s event is now open. The planting will take place from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 9 and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 10, during several small events.

In the interest of safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will offer multiple “shifts” for planting, each with a limited number of volunteers. All tools will be provided and sanitized before use, and 6 feet of distance will be maintained. Advanced virtual training will be available for volunteers to learn how to plant trees. All ages are invited to join in, and no experience is necessary.

This program began in 2016 as a way to help the city reach its goal of a 40% tree canopy.

“Trees play a critical role in cleaning our air, reducing stormwater runoff, beautifying our neighborhoods and lowering stress,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “I hope community members will join me again this year in making our city a greener, more sustainable community.”

To register as a volunteer and find out more information, visit

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