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[tbx_pullquote text=”… and suddenly you just know… it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings. ~ Dominican Mystic, Meister Eckhart”]

Saturday, October 29 was the first of several planting session with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

Thankful for the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and all the volunteers for providing and planting the native trees. Arborist Lauren Davis with project initiator Sr. Kathi Sleziak and Sr. Janet Brown.

With a 34-acre Campus at the corner of Fulton Street and Lakeside Drive in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids  have the potential to transform some of our spacious lawns into beautiful stands of trees. While we are selling a section of our campus, we continue to steward much of the property including our grounds and the urban stream Coldbrook Creek, which runs through our woods.

Trees are critical to the overall quality of our environment.

According to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, “The target goal for every neighborhood and street in Grand Rapids is 30%. This is where the benefits of trees-improved mental and physical health of residents and street users, decreased utility costs, lower rates of crime and speeding, improved environmental resilience and stormwater management, and a significant decrease in heat islands, all really begin to take effect. This is all part of the 3-30-300 rule which is helping to drive municipal action for forests and parks.”

On this planting day at Marywood, the sun was out; promise of temps in the 60’s for the day; trees with root balls delivered; supply of shovels, rakes, and mulch ready to go and then they came. The Volunteer Neighborhood Foresters arrived at 10:00 am and went to work. Guided by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks’ Arborists Becky Pobst and Lauren Davis and greeted by a band of Dominican Sisters the magic happened. Teams of two or three Foresters expertly planted 21 trees transforming a section of Marywood’s front lawn into the promise of a mini forest.

The stretch of lawn that received the trees was so perfect that Becky asked if they could re-plant some trees on our lawn from around the city that were not doing so well in their present location. It seemed right since Marywood had recently been a rehabilitation center!

The trees look forward to the visits of the neighborhood walkers and their dogs. They sense the care from the hearts of the Sisters who gaze upon them from the south windows of Marywood. The planting of these trees not only represents our contribution to ‘Caring for Our Common Home”, but also our response to a vision to help reforest the land that inspired the naming of Marywood.

[tbx_pullquote text=”The plan to add native trees on the grounds of Marywood, originally named Mary’s Woods in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, got a thumbs up from our resident biologist Sister Alice Wittenbach. Small stands of Sugar Maple or Red Maple and Red Oak or Northern Oak would all be appropriate, says the retired Aquinas College Professor.”]

Kathi Sleziak OP had a vision of reforesting Marywood. She initiated the relationship with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and uncovered a shared vision of tree planting.










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