Our beautiful city is home to thousands of trees, each with their own history. Over the past five years Friends of Grand Rapid’s Parks has partnered with the City of Grand Rapids Mayor’s Office to champion a tree in our community that is special to the citizens of GR. The Mayor’s Tree of Year competition is about getting to know and appreciate our trees, looking into their branches, seeing and feeling their leaves, their bark, the land they live on, and the wildlife that call their branches home. As we begin to recognize the trees surrounding our homes, schools, parks and places of work we are naturally inclined to appreciate and protect them. Protecting our City’s trees is one of the greatest responsibilities of the Urban Forest Project, where we recognize that trees are essential to clean air, water, soil, and life as we know it.
You can check out the previous Mayor’s Tree of the Year winners by visiting our interactive tree tour here: http://arcg.is/2rSd1T8
Other Annual Tree Celebrations around the world:
While we are one of the only communities that hosts a Mayor’s Tree of the Year contest, there are annual tree celebrations around the world that celebrate all sizes and species of trees with unique and inspiring stories. One of the most touching stories was the 2017 Euro Tree of the Year: Oak Józef in in the village of Wiśniowa, south-eastern Poland.
At 650 years old, this English Oak has had a lot of life pass under its branches. The Mycielski family (a Polish noble family), was so charmed by the land the oak lives on that they built an mansion there, which became the cultural and intellectual center of the region. In 1934, the tree was considered so beautiful it appeared on the 100-Zloty (Poland’s currency), highlighting its importance in Polish culture. The most significant pieces of history associated with the Oak Józef is that during WWII its hollow trunk was the hiding place for two Jewish brothers hiding from the Nazis. (source www.treeoftheyear.org)
The Oak Józef is printed on a Polish 100 złoty bill from 1934. (Photo: World Banknotes and Coins)
Trees around the world are beloved by their communities and cherished for generations. Here in Grand Rapids you too can champion your beloved tree and nominate it for Mayor’s Tree of the Year 2017!
What you can do:
During the months of June and July Grand Rapidians can nominate their favorite tree to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks via email (email@example.com), Facebook or Instagram. The tree must be within the city limits of Grand Rapids and can be on private, public, or park property. If it is on private property, the owner must be willing to host the award ceremony on the property. Last year, the popular contest received more than 35 nominations from all over Grand Rapids.
Via Facebook- First you will need to like the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks Facebook page, and then you can go ahead and leave us a message that gives a corresponding address or location description for the tree you would like to nominate, a photo of the tree, and a comment on why you think this tree should be nominated. This will help the selection committee make this difficult decision!
Via Email- please send an email with the same information (a corresponding address or location description for your tree, a photo, and a comment on why you think this tree should be nominated) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Via Instagram- post a photo of your nomination and tag #MayorsTreeOfYear in the comments tell us why you are nominating the tree and provide a description of the location.
How it works:
The Urban Forestry Committee selects the winner among nominations submitted by community members. The competition aims to highlight the emotional connection that individuals and communities make with trees, as well as their significance to Grand Rapids natural and cultural heritage. The competition also promotes community involvement in the City’s urban forest, raising awareness of the importance of maintaining and preserving trees.
When to nominate:
You can nominate your tree now through August 1, 2017!
Why nominate your favorite tree:
This is a way for you to tell the rest of Grand Rapids why a tree in your community is so awesome!
1st place: $150 Eddie Bauer Gift Card
2nd and 3rd place: Prize valued at $50 from Eddie Bauer.