Miller Canfield team plants park


By Cynthia Price
Legal News

No one actually answered the question, “How many lawyers does it take to plant a tree?” when it was asked tongue in cheek last Friday.

The occasion was a volunteer day at the City of Grand Rapids Fuller/Hillcrest Park where over 25 people from Miller Canfield joined dozens of others in planting trees which resulted from a sustainability award given the city.

The City of Grand Rapids was one of three mid-size communities given a Siemens Sustainable Community Award last May from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center and Siemens Corporation.

Siemens donated the trees just in time for the October 2010 National NeighborWoods Month declared by the national organization Alliance for Community Trees (ACT). Friends of Grand Rapids Parks,  an ACT affiliate, sponsored the Oct. 29 event (and another on Oct. 30 at the Grand Rapids Bike Park), along with the City of Grand Rapids and Global ReLeaf of Michigan, a state ACT affiliate.

Mayor  George Heartwell spoke briefly before the volunteers dug in, as did representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Siemens Corporation, Global ReLeaf and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

Planting trees in urban areas can beautify parks and neighborhoods, increase property values, capture storm water run off, remove air pollutants and carbon dioxide, and save on energy costs, particularly related to air conditioning.

Grand Rapids recently inventoried its urban tree “canopy” and discovered that it is at nearly 35%, within reach of the recommended 40% cover. The city discovered that each $1 invested in trees returns about $3.60 in ecosystem services.

And planting trees on a crisp fall day is fun.

Miller Canfield’s crew came at the invitation of BDO Seidman, whose staff also turned out in great numbers.

Though there was hard work involved, in such activities as digging and lugging buckets of water, there was also plenty of time for kidding around.

The Miller Canfield women teased their male counterparts because they seemed more than willing to use their muscles, but somewhat challenged with remembering the directions. A small but hard-working group joked that their tree was “ugly,” and envied those who had gotten one with leaves. However, they soon moved on to plant another tree and another chance to get the directions, which involved watering in a sort of “bird bath” around the tree and then filling in with wood chips, right.

In addition to BDO Seidman and Miller Canfield, volunteers came from tree care companies, the neighborhood, Global ReLeaf and Home Depot stores in Walker and Grandville. The Home Depot Foundation sponsors National NeighborWoods Month.

Grand Rapids City Parks personnel assisted, advised, and supplied equipment.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, a non-profit, offers other opportunities to plant trees and care for the city’s parks. To watch for another such event, visit www.friendsofgrparks.
org/events. Anyone wishing to set up a volunteer event to clean up or plant in a park can contact Heather Kaweck at heather. The Friends organization will also launch a new program in the spring modeled on Adopt-a-Park.