Thank you to those who supported us this giving season. Every donation goes to support the work to protect, restore and promote Rouge Park. You can still contribute here.
The Friends of Rouge Park 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!
WINTERFEST 2024 IS COMING!
As the snowflakes gently fall, we are thrilled to announce that Rouge Park Winterfest is just around the corner, promising a day filled with festive fun and community togetherness. Get ready for a winter celebration like no other! Here's a sneak peek at what awaits you:
Activities for All Ages:
- Sledding, Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing (weather permitting): Bring your sled, and try out snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Snowshoes and skis will be available for free.
- Lacrosse by Motown Lax: Whether you're a lacrosse enthusiast or just curious, Motown Lax brings the thrill of this dynamic sport to the winter landscape.
- Free Winter Crafts and Goodies: National Heritage Academy invites you to unleash your creativity with free winter crafts, coloring books, crayons, and essential warm gear.
- Jr. Snow Ranger Swearing In: Witness the charming ceremony as our junior snow rangers take their oath, pledging to protect and enjoy the winter wonderland.
- Fjällräven Raffle: Feeling lucky? Participate in the Fjällräven raffle for a chance to win some fantastic prizes and gear up for your winter adventures.
- Sugarbush Tapping with Black to the Land: Explore the art of sugarbush tapping with Black to the Land, connecting nature and culture in a sweet celebration.
Wildlife and Nature Discovery:
- Mobile Wildlife Learning Center: Huron-Clinton Metroparks brings a mobile wildlife learning center, offering fascinating insights into the local ecosystem.
- Guided Hikes: Immerse yourself in the winter landscape of Rouge Park with guided hikes led by the Belle Isle Nature Center. Discover the beauty that winter has to offer.
- Information Table from Detroit Zoo: Learn about wildlife conservation and the incredible creatures at the Detroit Zoo with their informative display.
Entertainment and Culinary Delights:
- Music by DJ Grnnpa Ruu: Let DJ Grnnpa Ruu set the mood with lively beats, adding a musical touch to the winter festivities.
- Free Egg Rolls and Chili: Marichona's Kitchen generously offers free egg rolls and chili to keep you warm and satisfied throughout the day.
- Free S'mores and Hot Cocoa: Warm up with delicious s'mores and hot cocoa provided by SOS Outreach - the perfect treat for a chilly day.
Save the date, gather your friends and family, and join us at Rouge Park Winterfest for a day of laughter, exploration, and winter joy. Let's create memories that will warm our hearts long after the snow has melted!
DNR Awards FORP Funding for Community Forestry Project
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that the Friends of Rouge Park were chosen for a $38,618 grant to plant a cherry orchard and native fruit and nut tree trail in Rouge Park and distribute trees to residents. A big thank you to board trustee Rachel Meeker for her work on the grant and Greening of Detroit and the City of Detroit for partnering with us to plant the trees.
Park Stewardship Activities, December & Beyond
In 2023, Rouge Park’s Land Stewardship work was focused on the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail, Joe Prance Recreation Area, Scout Hollow, the Prairie and the Sorenson Recreation Area. With more than 20 stewardship events and over 240 volunteers we’ve made some huge impacts on these areas, working almost exclusively by hand! This work was made possible with funding from the Detroit Urban Connections Program of the USDA Forest Service
On December 8th, Ayden Ehgotz from the Michigan Nature Association came out to help volunteers clear invasive buckthorn trees in the prairie, remarking on the high quality of this oak opening habitat. Earlier, our partners at the Huron Clinton Metroparks came out with a forest mulcher, clearing invasive woody plants on the east side of the Prairie and along the Prairie Pathway. If you get a chance, we highly encourage a winter walk of the Rouge Park prairie to see these changes!
The Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail work has come a long way. We hope to complete it the coming year. We’ve removed dozens of invasive trees along the trail and have built four natural bridges over small creeks and have begun marking the trail with blue trailblazes. On December 9th, 24 students from Hamtramck High School and their mentors from then SOS Detroit program came out to help work on the trail. They filled six large bags with trash, lined the trail with downed trees and removed a sea of invasive honeysuckle surrounding a giant walnut tree. There is still plenty of work to do on the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail so stay tuned.
We received a small grant from the National Wildlife Federation’s Early Childhood Outdoor program to support the development of the “Joe Prance Jungle Fort” with Black to the Land’s Forest School program. Youth will construct some structures from downed branches. We have also been entertaining ideas like woven tree houses. We’ll be kicking this project off in the spring! We planned a volunteer work day to clear invasives from this area in December but unfortunately both days were rained out.
For 2024 we are looking forward to developing an edible trails program and a new cherry orchard. We will also continue our collaboration with Huron Clinton Metroparks to restore the prairie and continue organizing volunteer work days to improve natural areas throughout the park and restore the historic Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail, established in 1935.
WANT TO JOIN THE NEXT BUCKTHORN BONFIRE?
TEXT BONFIRE to (586) 352-4649
Woody Plants in Winter Walk
Join us on January 21st at 2 pm for the first of two "Woody Plants in Winter" nature walks. The first will be at the Joe Prance Recreation Area on W. Chicago & W. Parkway St. (map). This is a unique opportunity to learn how to identify trees even when they shed their leaves during the winter months. Register here
FORP Holiday Party Enjoyed by All
For the first time since 2019, FORP held our holiday get together in person. The party took place on Dec. 19 at Starter's Bar & Grill's Banquet Room, a great location and a fitting replacement for Tijuana's restaurant that sadly closed. We were honored to have Wayne County Commissioner Alisha Bell, City Councilman Fred Durhal and his wife Briuanna, Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore and four Neighborhood Police Officers from the Sixth precinct attend along with our dedicated members, board and staff.
FORP President, Sally Petrella, presented a year in review report on all the incredible accomplishments of our organization in 2023. Program Manager Alex Allen presented highlights of upcoming 2024 events including Rouge Park Winterfest on Jan. 28. Land Stewardship Manager Antonio Cosme provided updates on stewardship activities for the coming year. Sally was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. The evening ended with a raffle that included beautiful FORP mugs as prizes. More photos can be seen here.
Winter Tree Identification Walk #1
Sunday Jan. 21 at 2pm
Joe Prance Recreation Area (map)
Learn how to identify trees in the winter when they have no leaves along the Joe Prance Nature Trail. Walk led by Don Drife.
Rouge Park Winter Fest
Sunday, January 28 12-5pm
Sledding Hill Area - Spinoza Dr. & Service Yard Dr. (map)
Sugarbushing with the Detroit Sugarbush Project
Sunday, February 3 at 2 pm
Stone Bridge Nature Trail
Winter Tree Identification Walk #2
Sunday Feb. 18 at 2pm
Sorensen Recreation Area (map)
Learn how to identify trees in the winter when they have no leaves along the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail. Walk led by Don Drife.