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In This Newsletter:

Brennan Pools to Open June 19

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The pools and splash pad will be open 7 days a week, Noon - 8pm, until Labor Day. Pool admission is $2.00, the splash pad is free. Six weeks of free programming will be offered July 2 - Aug. 12 including water aerobics and chair aerobics. 

Prescribed Burn Helps Restore Prairie

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On May 11, conditions were perfect (low humidity, light winds) for a prescribed burn of 14 acres of the northern end of the Rouge Park Prairie along with burns in Palmer and Riverside Parks.  Huron Clinton Metro Parks in partnership with the City of Detroit contracted PlantWise to conduct the burns. Prescribed burns help restore native prairies by removing non-native invasive plants and stimulating the growth of native ones. This is the third burn for the Rouge Park prairie and by far the most successful one in the way it set back and killed invasive woody plants encroaching in on the prairie. The deep rooted native prairie flowers and grasses that are fire-adapted are already back up - take a walk to see for yourself.

Share Your Rouge Park Memories!

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Do you remember the old Rouge Park Nature Center pictured above? How about the Toboggan Runs, the Whitehouse or rides at the Pony Barn? The Soap Box Derbies at Derby Hill? Or when the Detroit Symphony played in the park, or the big rock concerts of the 1960's? For a short time our history intern, Mariah Smith, will be collecting oral histories of the park from as many people as possible. If you, or anyone you know, have memories, stories or photos you would be willing to share, please email us at [email protected] with the word "History" in the subject line. Also, please feel free to post your memories and photos on the Rouge Park Memories Facebook page here.

Our Mission:

To protect, restore, and promote a natural, environmentally healthy, and culturally vibrant Rouge Park that engages the community for the benefit and enjoyment of all.

We can't do it without your support!


Sunday Yoga Begins

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Around 30 people stretched their bodies and relaxed their minds at our first free Sunday Yoga in Rouge Park on June 4. Instructor Asha from Yoganic Flow led the group through simple stretches and positions, reminding people to go at their own pace and offering adaptations for anyone with bad knees or other limitations as this yoga is open to everyone. Join us every Sunday at 9 am at Brennan Recreation Area between the basketball courts and the playground. We even have a limited number of free yoga mats thanks to Detroit Outdoors and Mparks.  Yoga goes through Aug. 27, register for a class today.

Friends of Rouge Park 

Membership/Partnership Meeting

Tuesday, June 20 at 6:00pm

Sorensen Recreation Area Picnic Shelter (Spinoza and Sawyer)

This meeting is an opportunity for our members to hear directly from the City of Detroit on their efforts to work with us to improve Rouge Park. If the weather is bad, the meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. Register now to receive updates.

Register here

22nd Annual Rouge Park Appreciation Day 

Draws 289 Volunteers

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Saturday May 20 was our largest Rouge Park Appreciation Day Cleanup since Covid! Americorps volunteers came out in force for their Russ Mawby Day of Service and the city provided gloves, bags and three flats of flowers as a registered Motor City Makeover site. 

FORP Board members and volunteers staffed registration and 11 work projects including trash pick-up, non-native invasive garlic mustard removal, spreading wood chips on pathways, weeding and planting flower gardens and even "magnet-fishing" with the Motor City Magnet Fishers to pull metal trash from the river. In all, volunteers removed 2,524 lbs. of trash and 1,862 lbs. of garlic mustard! 

The garlic mustard did not all go to waste but was bagged up with a recipe for garlic mustard pesto and sent home with attendees. The day ended with a much appreciated hotdog lunch served by members of the Detroit AeroModelers. A big thank you goes out to all of the volunteers, the City of Detroit, the Detroit Aero Modelers, Americorps, and the project leaders. See all the photos.

Eagle Scout Tree Planting Project at Sorensen Rec. Area

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On May 27, Melissa Castenada completed her Eagle Scout Project by planting 12 trees at the Sorensen Recreation Area parking area. The trees will provide shade, storm water retention and natural beauty to the area. Melissa is the first girl from Detroit to receive her Eagle Scout badge since the Boy Scouts of America (recently renamed BSA) have allowed girls to become Eagle Scouts. Congratulations, Melissa, and thank you for improving Rouge Park!

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Save the date Sat. Sept. 16, 3-7 pm for our second annual Freedom Festival. Last year we honored renowned ornithologist Etta S. Wilson and rededicated the Ma'iingan Wildwood trail to her. This year, we are honoring Tuskegee Airman and Detroit AeroModeler, Alex Jefferson with a festival that will feature a dedication, local marching bands, a flyover, airshow, lawn games, music and food trucks.

Two New Grants Will Further the Work in Rouge Park

The Friends of Rouge Park are pleased to announce a new partnership agreement with the Urban Connections program Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. The parties will work together on the mutual goal of developing our next generation of public land stewards, providing conservation education and recreational opportunities, engaging young adults and youth on learning about and caring for our public lands, and stimulating ideas about careers in the outdoor recreation and natural resource stewardship fields.

The Friends of Rouge Park are also happy to annouce a new grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Fund for Detroit Parks that will support staff development.

Upcoming Events

Woody Plant Walk
Sunday, June 11 at 2:00pm*
Stone Bridge Nature Trail
Join the Friends of Rouge Park and woody plant enthusiast, Don Drife to learn to identify species of trees and other woody plants by their leaves in Rouge Park.
*If there are flooding conditions we may postpone the walk to the following Sunday, June 18 at 2pm. The trail may be muddy, please wear rain boots or shoes that can get wet/dirty.
Register here

Friends of Rouge Park Membership/Partnership Meeting

Tuesday, June 20 at 6:00pm

Sorensen Recreation Area Picnic Shelter (map)

This meeting is an opportunity for our members to hear directly from our partners, such as the City of Detroit, Huron-Clinton Metroparks and others, on their efforts to work with us to improve Rouge Park. If the weather is bad, the meeting will be held virtually via Zoom).

Register here

Yoga in the Park
Brennan Recreation Area Yoga Green
(between the basketball courts and playground) (map)
Every Sunday at 9 am, June 4 to August 27 - 13 weeks
Register here

Discover Rouge Park Senior Bus Tour

Thursday, June 29 11am-2pm

All attendees will be picked up from St. Suzanne at 198321 W Chicago at 10:30AM

The Tour begins and ends at the Brennan Pools Bldg.  Refreshments provided.

Register here

Kids Art Factory - Rouge Park
Picnic Shelter #3 at Spinoza Dr. & Orangelawn
Every Thursday, July 13 – August 17. 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Art workshops for kids sponsored by Huron Clinton MetroParks and Mint Artist Guild. Register for a single workshop or more. $3 per child, per workshop.
Register here

Butterfly & Native Prairie Plant Walk
Sunday, July 30, 2:00pm 

North Prairie Pathway Trailhead & Butterfly Garden (map)
Join us for a walk in the Butterfly Garden with butterfly enthusiast, Doris Applebaum. Enjoy the natural beauty and learn about the abundant variety of butterflies and native plants in this restored native prairie.
Meet at the North Prairie Pathway Trailhead & Butterfly Garden on Outer Drive, just south of Joy Rd.
Register here

Freedom Festival Honoring Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson

Sat. Sept. 16 3-7 pm

Detroit AeroModelers Field, Joy and Spinoza

Join us for our second annual Freedom Festival. This year we will be honoring Tuskegee Airman and Detroit AeroModeler Alex Jefferson as we dedicate a new statue, host a flyover and airshow and celebrate with music, dance and games.

Rouge Park History Fair

(Sept./Oct. - date to be determined)

Brennan Pools Building

Our two history interns, Olivia Barron and Mariah Smith, will present an overview of the history of Rouge Park through photos, newspaper articles, documents and memorabilia. Oral histories will be collected.

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