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Air Quality Cancellations: Due to poor air quality from the Canada wildfires, Sunday yoga is cancelled for July 2 and the Brennan Pools are closed. The pools will re-open on Monday and Yoga will resume next Sunday (to be held indoors if necessary).

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In This Newsletter:

Something for Everyone in Rouge Park This Summer!

There is a HUGE variety of events and activities beginning in Rouge Park this month like we have never seen before! The City of Detroit Recreation Department, the Detroit Pistons Neighbors Program, Huron Clinton Metroparks and others are bringing weekly programs to the park including art workshops for kids, indoor yoga and water aerobics for seniors, Zumba and Hustle classes, outdoor movie nights, Sunday outdoor yoga classesbasketball clinics, tennis, African drumming, arts & crafts, youth soccer, tai chi, another Zumba and Hustle program, puppet performances & workshops, live theatre & more! The Black Health Movement will hold monthly Fitness Festivals in Rouge Park July 8, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9. And one time events include our 16th Annual Butterfly & Native Plant Walk, a Bugs, Plants & Birds Prairie Walk, and the Freedom Arts Festival honoring Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson. You have no excuse not to be out in the park this summer!  Read on for details.

Black Health Movement Fitness Festival

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Sat. July 8, Aug. 12 & Sept. 9, 9am - Noon.

Meet at the new picnic shelter at Spinoza Dr. & Orangelawn (map).

Fitness Festival is an exhilarating fitness experience that will inspire participants to embrace healthy life style choices. Participants join fitness stations along a 1 - Mile trek for a variety of fun and inspirational fitness exercises offered by Detroit's premier fitness trainers.

The Black Health Movement's aim is to tackle racial and health economic disparities in diabetes, obesity and hypertension in underserved communities by creating Community Based Lifestyle intervention models that educate and inspire participants to embrace routine exercise and proper nutrition as a lifestyle. Register here

Register Your Kids for Art Class Series Today

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What better place of artistic inspiration than nature? In partnership with Mint Artist Guild, the Huron Clinton Metroparks are hosting art workshops for kids 6-17 for six weeks this summer on Thursdays 4:30-6pm starting July 13. Youth can explore different forms of art from experimental drawing to painting to 3D art. The cost is $3 and all program supplies will be provided. Register for a single class or as many as you want. The classes will take place at Shelter #3 located on Spinoza Drive south of the Brennan Pools next to the football field. (map)

July 13 - Bubble Painting
July 20 – Floral Paper Mosaics
July 27 – Fish in Dish
August 3 – Tie Dye Butterfly
August 10 – Rainbow Clouds
August 17 – Watercolor Painting

Pre-registration is required four days before program.

Register here

New Brennan Poolhouse Program: Activities for All Ages

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The City of Detroit has expanded its summer programming at the Brennan Poolhouse and will include indoor yoga and water aerobics for seniors, Zumba and Hustle classes, and weekly outdoor movies in addition to daily hours for adult lap swim, open swim and swim team. All programs and drop-in activities are free to Detroit residents and free for non-residents with a $10 annual membership.

FORP has helped to facilitate Senior Yoga in  partnership with Yoganic Flow on Thursdays at 11 am starting July 13. Other programs include Water Aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-2pm and Fri 9:45-10:45am. 

Get all the details here.

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In 2022, the Friends of Rouge Park were awarded a Kresge Innovative Projects in Detroit+ Planning Grant to fund 24 months of intentional and collaborative park programming in the central core area of Rouge Park centered around Joy Road and Spinoza. To guide further collaborative efforts to revitalize this important area of Rouge Park into a space that serves as a hub for community based organizations and park visitors, we are engaging in a process of consistent feedback and evaluation with park stakeholders.

We are extremely grateful to the Kresge Foundation for funding this initiative and appreciate your participation in the process by filling out feedback forms from events and participating in fireside chats or virtual focus groups led by our contractor Jaime Hoffman of JH Solutions. We have been receiving some great feedback and new ideas for collaborative programming. This fall, we will be holding more focus groups and holding more discussions on how we can come together and share resources to make the center of Rouge Park a true hub for the community.

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The Freedom Arts Festival connects—and reconnects!—Detroiters to their neighborhood parks. Featuring music, dance, storytelling, and art reflecting Detroit’s multicultural tapestry, the festival brings together freedom, racial justice, history, and connection to place through arts & culture. This year, we are honoring Tuskegee Airman, Alex Jefferson with a festival that will feature a dedication, local marching bands, a flyover, airshow, lawn games, music and food trucks. (map)

US Forest Service Supporting Conservation Education and Engagement in Rouge Park

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In June, FORP began a Challenge Cost-Sharing Agreement with the Urban Connections program, Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. Entitled "Sharing Conservation Education and Natural Resource Learning in Rouge Park," this project will enable the two agencies to work together to develop our next generation of public land stewards, providing conservation education and recreational opportunities engaging young adults and youth in learning about the caring for our public lands. Antonio Cosme has been hired to lead a series of work days throughout the year on the park's nature trails, beginning with the restoration of the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail, re-connecting it with the restored Stone Bridge Nature Trail. David Oakley, the 2020 recipient of our Best Friend of Rouge Park, will bring his engineering skills to the project to provide design and construction oversight for renovating the park kiosks and installing small bridges and directional signs on the trail. Let us know if you want to help out by responding to this newsletter.

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!


Membership Meeting Celebrates Juneteenth and Discusses New GSD Security Service in Rouge Park

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We held our second quarterly membership meeting at the Sorensen Picnic shelter on June 20 and celebrated Juneteenth with hibiscus tea, home grown cherries, locally picked strawberries and Juneteenth tea cakes provided by FORP Board Members.  Invited guest, Mr. Terence Mathis, Security Administrator for the General Services Department (GSD) updated us on the new GSD security that will open and close city parks on a daily basis, patrol parks and respond to calls since DPD's Parks Detail was disbanded. Call the new GSD TIP line at 313-268-0910 if you witness any violations of park rules or illegal activity in the park. If it is a crime in progress or an emergency, call 911. Jamal Harrison, Deputy Director of Operators for GSD, also attended and updated us on the plan to move staff to Rouge Park, telling us it will be delayed.

Day Camp Returns to Rouge Park after 17 years!

Day Camps have a long history in Rouge Park! From 1947-1974, 500 Detroit children a day participated in the Joe Prance Day Camp sponsored by the City of Detroit and the Kiwanis Club. A much smaller day camp was resurrected there at the Joe Prance Rec. Area in 1989, but ended in 2006. The Friends of Rouge has been advocating for the return of the day camp for several years and we are overjoyed to see its return! This year it is being held at the Brennan Poolhouse. We hope to see it grow to once again serve at least 500 children a day! Our kids deserve it! More information on the summer camp programs here.

Park Development Manager, David Sumners, Leads Park Repairs

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David Sumners has long been a true friend of Rouge Park. He routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty in quickly and efficiently making needed repairs throughout the park. Last year he dedicated countless hours installing new PARKING ALLOWED and NO STANDING ANYTIME signs throughout the park to help reduce litter, dumping and illicit activities. This year he has been busy replacing two broken benches, repairing and re-seeding the sledding hill among other tasks. The repaired sledding hill will be a great asset for winter recreation for the children. Thank you, David, you are greatly appreciated! 

June Events: Summer Woody Plant Walk & Senior Bus Tour

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Woody Plant Walk: Heavy rains threatened to cancel the June 10 Woody Plants Walk at the Stone Bridge Nature Trail, but fortunately they held off. After the series of Winter Woody Plant Walks learning to identify trees by their bark, branches and buds, this walk included learning trees by their leaves. Shagbark Hickory, Beech, Black Maple, Shumard Oak, Linden, Hackberry and Sycamore were just a few of the trees that were identified. Some of the highlights included finding some Sassafras trees that we failed to locate on the winter walks, and the Bitternut Hickory tree with buds that taste like gin! Be sure to join our wonderful and knowledgeable trip leaders, Don Drife and Bob Muller, on October 8 for a Fish & Tree Walk on the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail. Other upcoming nature walks include the Butterfly & Native Prairie Plant Walk on July 30 and the Plants, Bugs & Birds Prairie Walk on Aug. 12.

Senior University Discover Rouge Park Senior Bus Tour: On June 29, 51 seniors enjoyed an 1-1/2 bus tour of Rouge Park led by FORP board member, Paul Stark. The tour was sponsored by the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance's Senior University. The tour began with a short history of the founding of Rouge Park in the 1920s and a talk from Cora McGuffie about the new Brennan Day Camp, and Eugene Thomas about the upcoming Black Health Movement Fitness Festival. The route covered over six miles of the park and included stops and talks from Garrett Dempsey of Detroit Outdoors at the Scout Hollow Campground, Vern Smith at the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association Horse Barn and Victoria Llorens at the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network's D-Town Farm. Paul highlighted all the new playgrounds, picnic shelters and soccer fields, and the new splash pad, Sorensen walking loop, mountain biking trail, restored nature trails, native prairie and more. The tour ended with a picnic lunch in the Brennan area. See the Discover Rouge Park Brochure & Route Map here.

 Trail Damage from DWSD Project to be Repaired

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FORP board members, City park and DWSD staff met in the park to discuss ways of restoring two trails affected by the stormwater project: the Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail and the Prairie Pathway. DWSD committed to re-routing the Ma'iingan trail along the high ground around the new drainage basin and reforesting both sides of the trail with a set of steps to reconnect it with the existing trail. At the Prairie Pathway, we discussed ways of keeping the trail connections across the detention basin and DWSD committed to placing a gate at their truck access point off of Parkland St. to keep cars and ATVs out of the area.

Upcoming Events

(See links to the full program schedules for the Brennan Poolhouse and the Detroit Pistons Neighbor programs)

Second Saturday Black Health Movement Fitness Festival

sponsored by the Black Health Movement

July 8, Aug. 12 & Sept. 9, 9am - Noon.

Meet at the new picnic shelter at Spinoza Dr. & Orangelawn (map).

Fitness Festival is an exhilarating fitness experience that will inspire participants to embrace healthy life style choices. Participants join fitness stations along a 1 - Mile trek for a variety of fun and inspirational fitness exercises offered by Detroit's premier fitness trainers. Register here

Kids Art Factory - Rouge Park

sponsored by Huron Clinton Metroparks
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

Yoga in the Park with Yoganic Flow-Brennan Recreation Area Yoga Green

sponsored by the Detroit Parks Coalition and FORP

(between the basketball courts and playground) (map)
Every Sunday at 9 am, June 4 to August 27 - 13 weeks
Register here

Senior Indoor Yoga with Yoganic Flow - yoga mats available

Thursdays 11:00 am Brennan Poolhouse

Free to Detroit residents, non-residents free with $10 annual membership

Register here 

Butterfly & Native Prairie Plant Walk

sponsored by FORP
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

Plants, Bugs & Birds Prairie Walk

sponsored by Detroit Audubon and BIPOC Birders
Saturday, August 12, 1-3pm
Butterfly Garden - North Prairie Pathway Trailhead (map)
Join Friends of Rouge Park, BIPOC Birders of MI & Detroit Audubon for a guided prairie walk around Rouge Park.
Register here

Freedom Festival Honoring Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson

sponsored by the Detroit Parks Coalition, the Knight Foundation and the Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship

Sat. Sept. 16 3-7 pm

Detroit AeroModelers Field, Joy and Spinoza (map)

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.

Fish & Tree Walk

sponsored by FORP
Sun. Oct. 8, 2pm

Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail, Sorensen Recreation Area (map)
Join naturalist Robert Muller and lifelong student of woody plants Don Drife on a guided walk covering the fish and tree species found in Rouge Park while hiking the newly rededicated Ma'iingan Wildwood Trail.
Register here

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