Protect Grand Haven Trees

Who We Are

Our People

Lawrence Burns, Ph.D, Psychologist

Larry hiked over 600 miles on Montana trails last summer. He identified over 100 species of wildflowers while out in the woods. In Montana, he had the chance to visit an ancient grove of Western Larch trees, the oldest of which, Gus, was over 150 feet tall and over 1,000 years old. Larry was raised on a farm and was a certified pesticide applicator and vineyard manager for five years before his return to graduate studies. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at SUNY Stony Brook. He has taught at Grand Valley State University for over 25 years and chaired the University Faculty Salary and Budget Committee for many years.


Nathan Burns, Innovator

Nathan has always been a huge fan of trees. In fact, “tree” was his first spoken word, ever! One year he refused to leave Meijer’s without bringing a particular apple tree home. And he spent his own birthday money to buy it. Now, years later, he got his first crop of granny smith apples this fall. He’s an avid follower of tech developments and all things Apple. He loves being outdoors, swimming, and playing tennis.


Alexandra Locher, Ph.D, Chief Scientist – Naturalist

Dr. Locher serves as the primary advisor to our project. She earned her Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University and has always had a deep commitment to sustainability. The core of her professional focus has involved a series of projects using the scientific method to understand the natural world better. She is particularly interested in making informed choices in reducing urban and rural infrastructure damage to wildlife and the forest.


Our Accountability

Simply put, it’s our goal to have 100% of donations applied to the prioritized needs of each of the three adjoining areas: Duncan Park, Lake Forest Cemetery, and Mulligan’s Hollow Park.


Our Science

We believe in science-based established best practices. But we also see science as a tool of inquiry. We have much to learn in our efforts to promote sustainability through practical stewardship of our parks and woods.


How We Work

Thus far the majority of the work in evaluating the health status of parks and woods has been through the expertise and generosity of time donated by a variety of City, County, and State organizations. In particular, faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students at Grand Valley State University have donated their time and knowledge for more than five years across a variety of projects aimed at understanding our unique dune habitats and facilitating this fundraiser.

Where We Work

These adjoining parks provide unparalleled access to incomparable views of Lake Michigan and one of the last remaining stands of uncut eastern hemlock and beech forest. It’s our deepest wish and steadfast commitment to promoting the sustainability of this unique gift of many sources and local citizens. The following are the parks that we love.

Lake Forest Cemetery



Duncan Woods Park



Mulligan’s Hollow Park


Get Involved






Adopt a Hemlock, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax identification number 87-2905632) under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.