GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids recently earned its 23rd Tree City USA Award for its commitment to effective urban forest management, according to a news release Thursday.
It also earned a Tree City USA Growth Award for displaying higher levels of tree care and community engagement during the calendar year.
The recognition has four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Grand Rapids planted or distributed more than 1,400 trees in 2020 through a partnership with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and the Mayor’s Greening Initiative.
The city planted 10% of all trees planted by the 126 cities in Michigan that earned Tree City USA status.
“I am extremely proud of this great honor that the City of Grand Rapids has continued to earn for more than two decades,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “Trees and other plantings help preserve the health and well-being of our residents, protect property values and contribute to Grand Rapids’ exceptional quality of life.”
Officials say community involvement and volunteers also played a big role in achieving the Tree City USA and Growth Awards.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Mayor’s Greening Initiative, the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks’ team of members and volunteers planted more than 850 of the 1,400 trees planted in 2020 – which is nearly double the number of trees planted in previous years.
“Our main goal as an organization is to connect all people to parks and trees and to increase access to green spaces,” said Stephanie Adams, executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. “This recognition shows that through volunteering and community education, we can have a positive impact on our community’s health, culture and environment.”