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City of Rochester

Washington Grove Preservation Project


Workers help out at a Grove Volunteer Day in 2010 

The City's Division of Forestry has devised a workplan designed to improve the condition of Washington Grove and reinforce its commitment to preserving the beauty of and access to the area. 

About Washington Grove

Washington Grove is a city owned woodland area nestled on the eastern edge of Cobbs Hill Reservoir. In 2008, a coalition of park users and surrounding neighbors came together to develop a management plan for Washington Grove. The coalition produced a draft management plan which suggested some actions aimed at preserving and restoring the Grove. This was provided to the City for review. With some modifications the plan was adopted and became the basis for an annual City work plan designed to improve the conditions of Washington Grove and reinforce its commitment to preserving the beauty of and access to the area.

Help Fund 100 New Trees and Shrubs

The City of Rochester and the Friends of Washington Grove — in commemoration of the Grove’s 100th Anniversary — have set a goal of raising $3,000 toward the purchase of 100 new trees and shrubs to be planted in the spring of 2013 in Washington Grove. The average cost of each new tree and shrub is $30. A donation form may be found here. If you wish to adopt a tree and water it, please contact the City Forester at 428-6971. 

Grove Workplan

Work began in the spring of 2010 with the cutting of Norway Maples by city staff in three areas consisting of approximately 5 acres. Volunteer followed up by reducing and distributing the brush from the initial cutting and removing smaller Norway maple saplings and stump sprouts as well as other invasive species such as black swallow wart, buckthorne, olive, winter creeper and English ivy. Logs from the initial cutting were used to line trails in the Grove. Native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers were planted by volunteers and venturing crew scouts in areas where voids were left by invasive removals. Volunteers were supervised and directed by city staff during the work dates.

Continuing the work in 2011 Norway Maples were again cut by city staff in new interior areas on approximately 6 acres of the Grove. Volunteers continued the follow-up effort by reducing and distributing brush and removing smaller invasive species. More native trees, shrubs and wild flowers were planted by volunteers from funds secured by the Friends of Washington Grove.

Over the course of 2010 and 2011 the following has been accomplished in Washington Grove:

  • Click on the photo to view a gallery from a volunteer day at the Grove.11 acres of the Grove have been managed for invasive species 
  • Over 300 volunteer hours have been worked in the Grove  
  • 87 Trees and Shrubs planted  
  • 58 Wildflowers and Ferns planted 
  • $4,600 spent in city staff time  
  • $1,000 for planting secured by Friends of Washington Grove 

Work for 2012 continued along the same lines as the previous two years. New sections of the Grove interior were managed for invasive species completing the interior areas of the Grove. Logs from the removed Norway maples were used to line the trails in the Grove. Native trees and shrubs were planted in the openings created from invasive species removal.

Washington Grove Map 

Family Walks in Washington Grove

Nestled behind the reservoir atop Cobb’s Hill is a beautiful grove of giant old oaks, named Washington Grove after our first President. A dedicated coalition of people and neighborhood groups is collaborating with The Friends of Washington Grove and the City to restore and protect the Grove.

All walks are Saturdays at 8:30 a.m.

Meet on the east side of the reservoir where street parking begins on the one-way circle around the reservoir. (585) 234-1056 for more information. map  

  • April 27: Mighty Giants of the Washington Grove: A spring morning walk with Peter Debes of the Friends of Washington Grove. Look for the spring wildflowers and other plants that were reintroduced in 2011.
  • May 11: Birds in the Washington Grove: Peter Debes will identify songsters, explain why they come to the Grove and how to secure them for the next generation. Binoculars recommended. Rain Date: May 15.
  • June 8: Bugs ‘n Critters in the Cobbs Hill Forest: A family walk welcoming children ages 3-9 with adult. Join a naturalist of the Friends of Washington Grove. Learn how to recognize eight different kinds of soil animals and discover just what they are doing in the forest.

Aug. 24: An Old Growth Forest in the City: Enjoy the tranquility and mystery of this beautiful old growth forest. Learn to recognize these giant trees and find out what is being done to protect them and remove invasive species.

NEW! Tree planting in October

An unexpected donation of 10 potted local native trees have been donated to the City or Rochester for planting in the Washington Grove.  So we have scheduled  a volunteer day for Saturday, Oct. 19 to put them in before winter. You are invited to come and help plant them.  Please bring work gloves, dress for the weather, and a shovel if you have one. These are small potted trees so the digging will not be difficult.  Meet at the Nunda Blvd. entrance to the Washington Grove off Cobb's Hill Drive, 9-11 a.m.  

Lend a hand in the Grove at Volunteer Work Days 2013!

DATES: Nov. 2

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon 

LOCATION: Meet at the Nunda entrance

WHAT TO BRING:  Dress for the weather and bring work gloves

How do you utilize the Grove?

Help us understand how you use the park throughout the year by taking a quick survey.

Would you like to receive Grove updates?

If you'd like to be kept in the loop on grove updates, issues, or meetings, join the email list.


Email Mr. Brian Liberti, City Forester with questions or comments, or call the Division of Forestry at  (585) 428-7581.

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