Community Cleanup Helps Keep Ferndale Fabulous

Community Cleanup Helps Keep Ferndale Fabulous

(Jonathan A. Berz, May 21, 2017)

The 6th annual “Clean the Ferndale Up!” volunteer meetup occurred last Saturday, May 20th, where Ferndalians of all ages gathered for a morning marathon of springtime sprucing.

The event began outside Ferndale City Hall with a pep rally and group photo shoot. Volunteers were assembled into five teams that branched out to various points of the city for weeding, raking, mulching, planting flowers, trees and grasses, providing spring tidying to many popular communal areas. Ferndale City Hall, the Ferndale Public Library, 43rd District Court, Veteran’s Memorial Mall, Withington Apartments and Autumn House all had volunteers on duty, with additional landscaping crews joining them to trim back overgrown trees and collect debris. SOCRAA was also on-hand with a pop-up recycling station, and invited residents and businesses to drop off things that the city does not pick up, such as old paint and electronics. Bottled water and workshirts were provided by the city; volunteers were encouraged to bring their own rakes and tools.

The event began as a collaboration between a former resident and the Ferndale Community Foundation, but quickly grew to be too large of a project, and six years ago the project fell into the lap of Michael Lary, Director of Special Events and Projects for the City of Ferndale, who was happy to continue coordinating the event. “It brings community together,” he says. “Hopefully it makes people feel a sense of pride and ownership, but they also get a chance to meet people, their neighbors that they maybe didn’t even know were there. So hopefully it’s created a social outlet for people to create new friendships.”

“They do it because they have a passion for what they are doing. They believe in the community, and I think that’s what’s so wonderful about it.”

As always, those who missed out on the opportunity to volunteer are encouraged to participate at their own convenience, beautifying their own neighborhoods throughout the spring and summer months.

“The bigger picture is that hopefully this will catch on,” says Lary. “Sometimes it takes time to get it right, to get people to understand that, it’s not that you have to necessarily participate in the event as much as try to think of this as, ‘oh, this is when we should do that spring cleaning, and plant our seasonal flowers, anything that can tie into it so it becomes a bigger event.”

Outside of the mass-scale volunteer effort, many individuals and crews were also spotted around Ferndale last Saturday engaging in their own beautification efforts, each helping to perpetuate the city’s status as Michigan’s most fabulous.

Clean the Ferndale Up! occurs on the third Saturday of May. For more information, visit

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