Students working in a lush drainage basin with ponds in front of apartment building

  • Saturday, October 10, 2020
  • 9:00 AM–12:00 PM

Join Plaster Creek Stewards for our fall event, “Bringing Nature Back: Urban Stream Restoration with Engineering and Ecology.” Gather to learn about restoring health and beauty to Southeast Grand Rapids through civil engineering and restoration ecology, and participate in healing the watershed through planting native plants.

Shag carpet, florescent green t-shirts, Converse shoes, and Ball canning jars--great things seem to cycle back around. Plaster Creek Stewards’ Fall Event celebrates Bringing Nature Back to our watershed community using civil engineering and restoration ecology. We mimic nature’s patterns and methods to solve our human-made issues - could there be a sweeter comeback? Come to gather in the open air and learn about two very different projects with the same goal of using nature to restore health and beauty to SE Grand Rapids and Plaster Creek watershed.

First, Silver Creek flows in a channel through Calvin Avenue Basin*, where there are now pits and mounds to slow the excess stormwater and thousands of native plants to filter and absorb the water. A few miles away, the City of Grand Rapids is heading up a project to provide streambank protection to an eroding ravine in Alger Heights.** This project combines engineering to stabilize the streambed with ecology to restore native vegetation and reduce erosion and the collaboration of the neighborhood residents to prevent stormwater from gushing into the ravine. Different site needs, different solutions, but interestingly similar patterns of using nature to help with the restoration.

Park in the streets and join us on the grassy slope within the fences for a brief welcome to this exciting restoration site. We'll welcome you to Calvin Avenue Basin and explain its transformation from an uncelebrated ditch to the lush refuge for ducks, frogs, and native plants it is today.

Following this welcome, we'll get our gloves on and dig into planting more native grasses, sedges, and flowers to continue healing our watershed.

Children are welcome! Bring friends, family, neighbors - and grab a mask, water bottle, and clothes for what weather and mud the basin may have in store for us.

RSVP to let us know which welcome you'll join (9 or 9:30), and we'll make sure to bring tools for you. (But don't let it stop you from showing up if your schedule unexpectedly allows. We'll be happy to see you.)


Here's what you need to know:

Bring: water bottle, mask to work in, dress for weather, dress for mud
Address: 1471 Calvin Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
Parking: Street parking in the neighborhood
Time: 9:00 or 9:30 to noon (earlier if we run out of plants)

Please RSVP to let us know which at start time to expect you and how many tools we'll need.



*The Calvin Avenue Basit project is part of a network of green infrastructure projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the amount of $340,065 awarded to the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council.
**The Alger Ravine project is funded wholly or in part through Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy's Nonpoint Source Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.