2011 Promising Projects — Protecting the Environment
The projects listed below, from grants awarded last year, provide examples of "on-target" proposals in each of the Foundation's grantmaking program areas that seem to hold promise of high impact if implemented as planned.
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks - $75,000www.friendsofgrparks.org
Continued disinvestment by the City of Grand Rapids (City) in its Parks and Recreation Department combined with a nearly non-existent civic engagement strategy have contributed to the steady decline in the quality of parks and public spaces in the City. This has presented an opportunity for the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks (Friends) to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department and energize the Adopt-a-Park program by implementing a new and more robust program – Parks Alive. Parks Alive will identify and proactively recruit and manage new volunteers and private sponsors, have well-defined guidelines and incentives for participation and create a more sustainable support system for community efforts to protect and enhance the parks and public spaces in Grand Rapids. The Parks Alive program is not intended to replace the City’s services but to enhance and improve their quality for the long-term and introduce a new management model for achieving these outcomes.
A robust, well-managed volunteer corps who care about the City’s parks combined with a growing list of corporate and individual donors are keys to the long term success of the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and, indeed, the success of the community’s park system. This funding provides the framework to grow both of these constituencies and is a good example of the Frey Foundation’s interest in the expansion of parks as a way of connecting with community, building strong urban neighborhoods and protecting the natural environment.
Trout Unlimited - $21,500www.tu.org
Observation indicates that Michigan’s trout and salmon anglers are among the most passionate of outdoor enthusiast, routinely spending thousands of dollars annually in pursuit of their quarry. They also play an important role within the conservation community, often mobilizing around resource-related issues and in turn significantly impacting legislation. However, despite the very real economic impact these fishermen and women confer on the state, very little is known about their needs, preferences, and behavior. To that end, Trout Unlimited will be conducting a survey which will provide baseline data about the attitudes and preferences regarding fisheries management and regulation and the economic impact of this sub-set of Michigan anglers. The interpretation and evaluation of this data will facilitate future resource management decisions and related appropriations that can be suitably awarded to ensure the best possible stewardship of the state’s valuable fisheries.
The appropriate use and management of the state’s coldwater fisheries and knowledge of the economic benefits that this segment of recreation provides should be factors in maximizing the resource while balancing its protection. The project lines up with the Foundation’s interest in preserving the water quality in western and northern Michigan’s streams and rivers.