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In This Issue...

DWSD Stormwater Project Update

January Events Recap: 3rd Annual Winterfest, Winter Tree Identification Walk

● Upcoming Events: Maple Sugar Tapping-Feb. 4, Winter Tree Identification Walk-Feb.18, Annual Membership Dinner Meeting-Mar. 19

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!


DWSD Stormwater Project Update

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will be wrapping up the construction of their stormwater detention project in Rouge Park this year. We are working closely with the City's park staff and DWSD to make sure that the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail and Prairie Pathway that were cut off by this project be rerouted and the damage to the park's natural areas be restored. City park staff, housed within the General Services Department, have been a wonderful partner in our efforts, supporting our request that the amount of trees lost be fully compensated for. We are looking forward to making these two trails whole again by re-routing the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail through a new re-forested area and rejoining the north and south halves of the Prairie Pathway, opening these important natural amenities back to the public again! See DWSD's latest update from Jan. 18, 2024 here

Rouge Park Winterfest 2024 Recap

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Rouge Park's Winterfest on January 28th was a resounding success despite the challenging weather conditions. With DJ GRNNPA RU setting the mood with excellent music, 81 attendees braved the wet, snowy, and muddy conditions to join in the festivities.

Attendees were treated to a variety of complimentary delights, including free hot cocoa and s'mores, as well as chili and egg rolls. Children had the opportunity to meet Smokey the Bear and learn about the forest, while the Belle Isle Nature Center engaged them with fun activities focused on animal tracks.

Generous contributions from various organizations added to the event's warmth and charm. National Heritage Academies provided free mittens and hot cocoa packets, while the Friends of Rouge Park offered a giveaway table featuring mugs, beanies, and Winterfest 2024 posters. The Detroit Zoo showcased exciting activities and distributed freebies, while SOS Outreach served hot cocoa, s'mores, and volunteered throughout the event.

Detroit Outdoors manned the bonfires, adding to the cozy atmosphere, and kids enjoyed a range of activities including giant Connect 4, fowling, and cornhole toss. The Huron-Clinton Metroparks wowed attendees with their mobile wildlife van, and the Motown Lacrosse Club showcased the sport with a competitive demonstration.

Acknowledgments were extended to the City of Detroit and its workers for their efforts in setting up the event amidst challenging weather conditions. The Chandler Park Conservancy's support was appreciated, as well as the contributions of all partners who made the Winterfest memorable.

Special activities led by the Black to the Land Coalition, Belle Isle Nature Center, and SOS Outreach included a walk to educate attendees about Rouge Park's trees, flood plain, and its relationship with the Rouge River, adding an educational element to the festivities.

In closing, a heartfelt thank you goes out to all who attended Rouge Park's Winterfest, braving the elements to make the event a success. Your enthusiasm and support truly made the day special. We look forward to seeing you again next year for another fantastic Winterfest!

Woody Plants in Winter Walk at Joe Prance

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On January 21st, Friends of Rouge Park hosted a delightful Woody Plants in Winter Walk led by Don Drife and Bob Muller. Despite the chilly weather, 22 enthusiastic attendees gathered to explore the Joe Prance Nature Trail within Rouge Park.

Throughout the walk, participants had the opportunity to learn about the diverse array of trees and plant life that inhabit this part of Rouge Park. Led by knowledgeable guides, attendees gained insights into the unique characteristics and ecological significance of various species.

Despite the cold temperatures, the group's enthusiasm remained undiminished as they embraced the opportunity to connect with nature and expand their understanding of the park's flora.

Looking ahead, our next Woody Plants in Winter Walk is scheduled for February 18th at the Sorensen Recreation Area. Led by Don Drife, this upcoming walk will take participants along the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail, offering another chance to explore and appreciate the trees and plant life in this beautiful natural setting.

With each walk offering valuable insights and opportunities for exploration, these events serve as wonderful opportunities for community members to deepen their connection with Rouge Park and its natural wonders.

Upcoming Events

Sugarbushing with the Detroit Sugarbush Project
Sunday, February 4 at 2 pm
Stone Bridge Nature Trail (map)

Learn about Black to the Land's Detroit Sugarbush Project and assist them in tapping trees for maple sap. Make sure to dress for the weather with sturdy warm boots. Hiking into the site could include mud, snow, and hills. Register here.

Winter Tree Identification Walk
Sunday Feb. 18 at 2pm
Sorensen Recreation Area
Learn how to identify trees in the winter when they have no leaves along the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail. Walk led by Don Drife. Register here

Friends of Rouge Park Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner

Tuesday, March 18, 6:00pm
Brennan Poolhouse Banquet Room (map)
Join us for dinner, updates on the park from FORP and the city, awards and annual elections. Please consider running for the Board of Directors. Register here.

Earth Day Cleanup
Sunday, April 21

Rouge Park Appreciation Day
Saturday, May 18, 8:00am-1:00pm
SE Corner of Joy & Spinoza

Yoga in the Park
Sundays at 9 am starting June 2

Brennan Recreation Area

Rhythm and Rouge Open Mike Make Music Day

Friday June 21

Butterfly & Native Prairie Plant Walk
Sunday, July 28, 2:00pm

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