Updated: Mar 14, 2020
This year we are happy to have spent time reflecting in one of our favorite spaces in the City of Flint--Max Brandon Park. Together with the Friends of Max Brandon Park, we have had many wonderful opportunities in 2019 to host guided nature walks through this 107-acre piece of Flint History. Last night we had hoped to attend the Black History Month Celebration and Candle Walk through our beloved park, but weather (insert Michigan Joke here) has postponed this event. This park remains a place of reflection, recreation, and community gathering in nature thanks to the bold thinking and determination of its namesake, Max Brandon Sr.
If you are familiar with Flint, then you are familiar with the woods that sit at the corner of Dupont St. and Pasadena Ave. While the name Max Brandon Park may be new to you, the former names, Forest Park or Dewey Woods, are sure to spark memories. You may remember playing under the majestic canopy of Red and White Oaks and Shagbark Hickory trees or playing basketball in the summer on the courts at Bunche School. Maybe your memory goes back even further to events like taking art classes in the pavilion or of family members reminiscing the long-lost zoo. Whatever your memories are, the park probably holds a special place in them just like it holds an important part of the history of our community.
All of this was almost lost in the 1970s when the City of Flint Zoning Board began conversations about developing part of Forest Park. Max Brandon, Chairman of the City of Flint Zoning Board, found this idea unacceptable and advocated, with his peers and neighbors, for the preservation of the park to remain an open space for the community. It is thanks to Max Brandon’s dedication and foresight that we now have the honor to work in this magical park and carry on his work of natural resource conservation in our community in the spirit of Max Brandon. We appreciate and remember this unsung Flint Hero during this last moment of winter and will spend 2020 continuing working in our community inspired by his words.
“I do have a genuine concern and compassion for people and try to encourage others to do the same, to get involved. This is our neighborhood and it is up to us to take care of it. If we work together, we can make our community a place where we can feel comfortable living, working, and playing.”
- Max Brandon, Sr.
This year we celebrate the following Flint Unsung Heroes that were to be honored at the Black History Month Celebration: Max Brandon, Sr., Floyd McCree, Mary Lansdown, Raynetta Speed, Olive Beasley, Cleora Magee, William Alexander, Max Brandon Jr., and Norm Bryant. Flint is a better place due to the work of these incredibly passionate community members. May we all follow in their footsteps and continue doing great work inspired by their actions to create a sustainable, more resilient Flint and Genesee County.
If you are interested in volunteering with us at Max Brandon Park, please comment below or visit geneseecd.org for more information. If you are interested in learning more about Max Brandon Sr. and Max Brandon Park attend the Friends of Max Brandon Park meetings at 5 pm the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Neighborhood Engagement Hub, 3216 ML King in Flint.
To dig deeper into natural resource conservation, consider career opportunities in natural resources or specializing in natural resources, agriculture, or environmental science in college. Since 1992, the USDA has offered scholarship opportunities each year through their 1890 Scholars Program to assist anyone interested in attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and majoring in natural resource and agriculture careers, including Agriculture Economics, AgriBusiness, Soil Science, Food Science, and more. The scholarships are full ride opportunities, offer summer internships and after graduation, the possibility of work placement with USDA NRCS. For more information on this opportunity please call us, Genesee Conservation District, at (810) 820-2681, or visit the USDA 1890s Scholarship page linked here: https://www.outreach.usda.gov/education/1890/