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In This Issue...

Annual FORP Membership Meeting & Dinner, March 19

Cherry Orchard Planting, April 6

February Events Recap: Sugarbush Kickoff and Work Days, Winter Tree Identification Walk

DWSD Stormwater Project - Construction Update

● More Upcoming Events!

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!


You're Invited!

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Join us in celebrating another year of progress in our mission to improve Rouge Park!  The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 19 at 6 pm at the Brennan Poolhouse. We will provide dinner, present awards to two people who went above and beyond for Rouge Park, report on the past year's work, present our five year strategic plan, hold an election for the Board of Directors and Officers, and update you on the exciting plans for 2024. All are welcome and invited to be there.  Please register below.

Register for the Annual Membership Meeting

Help Establish Rouge Park's Urban Food Forest!

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This month, we were very excited to have been awarded a grant from the USDA Forest Service, Inflation Reduction Act and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program to establish a cherry tree orchard and native fruit and nut tree trail.  This will be the first urban food forest for Rouge Park, a growing idea around the country to grow plants that produce fruits and other edible products in public spaces.  Detroit is known as an urban food desert with few grocery stores. Urban food forests like this can help improve access to healthy food.  It will complement Rouge Park's D-Town Farm, run by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, that is working hard to address the food insecurity issue and will be similar to the apple orchard established by the People for Palmer Park in 2012. 

We are partnering with the Greening of Detroit to plant the trees on Saturday April 6 and are looking for 250 volunteers that day from 9am-1pm.  We will be planting 50 cherry trees (half sweet and half tart) and an additional 50 native trees that will include serviceberry, black cherry, sassafras, and more. The cherry orchard will be located along Rouge Park Drive south of Plymouth, across the street from the Growing Together Statue. The fruit and nut trail will meander along the east side of Rouge Park Drive north of the sculpture.  Fifty trees will be given away as part of the project.  In the fall, the Detroit Partnership for Food Learning and Innovation will lead pruning work days and work with FORP on proper maintenance of these trees.  Be a part of this exciting addition to Rouge Park and COME HELP US PLANT!

Register for April 6 Tree Planting

Sugarbush Kickoff and Work Days

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The enduring lesson of sugarbush is that the sweet things in life require labor and community.

As many of you know, the Sugarbush was started by leaders from Detroit’s urban indigenous community and Black to the Land. We at Frieonds of Rouge Park are honored to host this project, helping expand and grow the work. The Brightmoor Artisan Collective offered their wonderful kitchen space for leaders to wash the buckets and containers. The Sugarbush moon, or season, started with a small feast, fire and song among urban native leaders on February 2. The following day Friends of Rouge Park co-hosted tapping of the maple trees. The event was a success and there have been many other days of sap collection. Collaborating with the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, the sugarbush hosted environmental, conservation and nature leaders at the sugarbush. More than 40 fourth grade students Boggs School came and hiked the partially completed section of the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail. Black to the Land hosted a dinner with local Palestinian activists too. Hosting varied groups, especially students, is important for the future of the Sugarbush. If your school group or an organization you’re part of would like to come to the sugarbush please email [email protected].

With a great deal of concern over the climate this El Nino year, the sugarbush team tapped significantly fewer trees than in previous seasons, instead focusing on stewardship! We’ve held four volunteer days around the sugarbush area with 70 volunteers clearing an enormous amount of invasive shrubs. We will continue into early March when the insects return, the maple buds burst, the spring ephemeral flowers emerge and we pull taps and close the sugarbush for the 2024 season.

We will be hosting another volunteer workday this Sunday March 10 at the Sugarbush 11-3pm! Join us for some pancakes, maple syrup and hardwork. Register here.

-Antonio Cosme, Stewardship Manager

Woody Plants in Winter Walk on the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail - Feb. 18

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We're elighted to share with you the highlights from our recent "Woody Plants in Winter" walk along the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail nestled within the Sorenson Recreation Area. On a crisp winter day, 18 eager participants gathered to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and uncover the hidden treasures of our local nature life.

Led by naturalist Don Drife, our journey along the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail was nothing short of enchanting. Against the backdrop of the Rouge River, we embarked on a fascinating exploration to identify the diverse array of trees and plant life that thrive even in the depths of winter.

From the sinuous tendrils of honeysuckle to the majestic presence of the ash tree, each species unveiled its unique characteristics, enriching our understanding of the forest's hidden treasures.

Our heartfelt thanks to Don Drife for his invaluable guidance and to each participant for contributing to the magic of this unforgettable expedition.

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DWSD Stormwater Project - Construction Update

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This project affecting Rouge Park and the adjacent neighborhoods will continue through 2026. See the latest construction update here.

Upcoming Events

Sugarbush Work Days
Sun March 10, 2024 11am-3pm

Assist in removing invasive species.
Register here

FORP Annual Membership Meeting
Tuesday March 19, at 6pm
Brennan Poolhouse

Join FORP for dinner, awards, board election and an update on the park.
Register here

Cherry Orchard Invasives Work Days
Sunday March 24, 2-6pm
Saturday March 30, 11am - 3 pm
Growing Together Sculpture

Help us remove invasive plants in preparation for planting a cherry orchard and native fruit and nut tree trail.
Register here

Cherry Tree Planting
Saturday April 6, 9am-1pm
Rouge Park Drive south of Plymouth

Help plant a new cherry orchard and fruit and nut trail.
Register here

Rouge Park Earth Day Cleanup
Sunday April 21, 10am-12pm
Two choices: Buffalo Soldiers Horse Barn

1. Help clean up along Joy Road, meet at the barn 2. Assist in invasive species work and building a nature play area in Joe Prance Recreation Area.
Register here

Cinco de Flores Spring Wildflower Walk
Sunday May 5, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Join FORP's Land Stewardship Manager Antonio Cosme on a walk to find spring wildflowers.
​Register here

Rouge Park Appreciation Day
Saturday May 18, 8am-1pm
SE corner of Joy and Spinoza

Help clean up and restore Rouge Park at our biggest annual clean up of the year. Lunch provided for all volunteers.

Sunday Yoga in the Park
Sunday June 2, 9-10am
Brennan Recreation Area

Join Yoganic Flow every Sunday morning through September for yoga in the park.

Membership Meeting & Juneteenth Celebration
Tuesday June 18, 6-7:30 pm
Sorensen Recreation Area

Join FORP for an update and celebration of Juneteenth.

Rhythm and Rouge Open Mike Make Music Day
Friday June 21

Celebrate Make Music Day by participating in an open mike event.

Butterfly and Prairie Walk
Sunday July 28, 2-3:30 pm
Prairie Pathway and Butterfly Garden

Take a walk through Rouge Park's restored prairie and learn to identify butterflies, other pollinators and native prairie plants with Doris Applebaum, Stefanie Steele and Sally Petrella.

Birds, Bugs and Plants Walk
Saturday August 17, 1-3pm
Prairie Pathway and Butterfly Garden

Join FORP and Detroit Bird Alliance in exploring the prairie.

Membership Meeting
Tuesday Sept. 17 at 6pm

Buffalo Soldiers and Blues Freedom and Arts Festival
Sat. Sept. 21
Buffalo Soldiers Horse Barn

Celebrate the history of the Buffalo Soldiers with pony rides, blues, museum tours, food and lawn games.

Membership Meeting and Holiday Party
Tuesday December 17 at 6pm
Starter's Bar and Grill

Join FORP to celebrate the year.

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Visit us at rougepark.org

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