Our Tree Vision

At Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, one of our big focal points is tree planting. While we all know trees are important, our organization works to strategically plant them for the best impact and outcome. We prioritize tree planting where we will have the biggest impact on lowering street temperatures, eliminating urban heat islands, and lowering the overall health risk of neighborhoods.

A neighborhood that scores closer to 100% on TreeEquityScore.org will typically be 6 degrees cooler and have a Health Risk Index up to 50 or more points lower than a neighborhood that scores around 45%. We have census tracts in Grand Rapids that score even lower.

And what do trees do beyond providing shade, beauty, and stormwater mitigation? Glad you asked!

Trees also:

  • Reduce the risk of a baby being born small for its gestational age[1]
  • Improve the overall mental and physical health of youth and families.
  • Lower physician assessed-morbidity and income-related inequality’s effect on morbidity
  • Reduce blood pressure and stress levels[2]

Each year, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks plants over 60 unique species of trees as part of our tree planting vision. Our Street Tree Lineup shown in the images below includes 20 of our favorite trees to plant in Grand Rapids! When planted in the right spots, these species have all proven to provide great tree benefits for residents and wildlife, making them all great choices for our urban tree canopy.

A special thank you to our friends at Tower Pinkster for creating this amazing artwork!

[1] Donovan, G. H., Michael, Y. L., Butry, D. T., Sullivan, A. D., Chase, J. M., (2011). Urban trees and the risk of poor birth outcomes. Health & Place, 17, 390-393.

[2] Kardan, O., Gozdyra, P., Misic, B. et al. Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center. Sci Rep 5, 11610 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11610