There are few things that we love to talk about more than our invaluable partnerships, and this one is towards the top of our list! We’re excited to tell you about Planting for Our Future, a partnership between the Urban Forest Project and the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS).
Planting for Our Future (PFOF) is a project geared towards helping children understand the benefits of trees in their communities. As a part of this project, we are offering teachers and school administrators and/or collaborating GRPS/parents the funding, technical assistance, trees, or support to host an urban forest project or event within your school! Teachers are using trees to teach students important cross-curricular lessons. Student not only get to design, plant, water and maintain the trees, they also get to observe how their trees change with the seasons.
The idea that we live in a connected “Urban Forest” is relatively new. To further build its vital Urban Forest, the City of Grand Rapids has established a 40% tree canopy (or tree cover) goal in 2011. Currently, our city is at roughly 30% tree canopy. The City Forestry Department is working very to ensure their contribution to the canopy goal is met. However, a large portion of the trees needed to reach this goal will have to be planted and maintained on private lands. That’s where GRPS can play a very important role in reaching our canopy cover goals and planting for our future. Your involvement in spreading the word to your follow educators, parents, and neighbors of the value of our Urban Forest is the first step towards insuring its growth and protection.
This spring three Planting for Our Future mini-grants were awarded to Blandford School, Mulick Elementary and Sherwood Academy, adding new trees to three GRPS campuses and engaging with over 125 students!
Collaborations like this aren’t possible without the armies of dedicated tree lovers involved. The Urban Forest Project’s own Citizen Foresters come out to help lead the students in proper tree planting and maintenance and the City’s own Forestry Department came to Mulick Elementary to help students plant trees for Arbor Day 2016.
The Planting for Our Future mini-grant provides funding, technical assistance, trees, or support to host an urban forest project or event within your school! GRPS can play a very important role in reaching our city-wide canopy cover goals and planting for our future. Your involvement in spreading the word to your follow educators, parents, and neighbors of the value of our Urban Forest is the first step towards insuring its growth and protection
Any tree project designed to expand, educate, and/or maintain urban forestry throughout the community. Funded is in two forms either $500 towards tree maintenance, tree celebrations, tree mapping events, tours, and/or educational workshops. Or full funding for a 5-15 tree planting all trees must be 1.5” caliper and selected from the approved species list. (Sorry, NO FRUIT TREES.) We’re especially excited to see proposals that find innovative and unique ways to incorporate trees into student learning objectives. All trees must be planted on school grounds with assistance and consultation from Urban Forest Project staff, who works alongside the GRPS Sustainability Coordinator. Moreover, all projects must have a long-term plan for watering and maintenance to give the trees the best chance of survival.
Planting for Our Future accepts mini- grant applications on an ongoing basis. The best projects will have a visible and lasting impact on the urban forest and detailed maintenance plans. All proposals will be reviewed by the Planting for Our Future team as well as the GRPS Maintenances and Grounds Division.
Teachers and or school administrators are asked to fill out a PFOF mini-grant application. Approved mini-grants will then be required to identify up to three desired tree planting dates for their classrooms. However, we cannot always accommodate preferred dates due to scheduling conflicts with other planting events. We ask that you please be flexible when scheduling a planting date.
Grant recipients will receive:
Once the application is approved an Urban Forest Project representative will finalize the planting location and the species of tree for the space. The amount of trees planted will depend on the location’s need, ability to care for new trees, and number of student participants. Assistance with pre-planting preparation will be provided by the GRPS Sustainability Coordinator. Assistance with organizing and managing the tree planting event will also be provided by the Urban Forest Project.
If you have an idea for an exciting project, please fill out the attached PFOF mini-grant application and fill it out. Or access a fillable PDF version on the GRPS intranet. The intranet will also have resources to assist you with the proposal including sample tree curriculum and school property maps.
Please submit all applications to either Margaret Studer, Director of the Urban Forest Project or Kristen Trovillion, GRPS Sustainability Coordinator.
Margaret Studer, Urban Forest Project Director
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks
P.O. Box 3199 Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Kristen Trovillion, Sustainability Coordinator
Grand Rapids Public Schools
900 Union Ave NE Grand Rapids, MI