The Greening of Detroit kicked off the 2013 spring tree planting season on Saturday, April 6 by putting shovels in the ground and planting almost 300 trees in Detroit’s northwest neighborhoods. The Greening, with the help of thousands of volunteers, corporate and community support, has a planting goal of almost 2,500 trees this spring in targeted communities around the city.
“The Greening of Detroit is working with the city to address the community’s forestry needs,” said Dean Hay, director of Green Infrastructure at The Greening of Detroit. “Our city’s financial constraints have severely reduced forestry services at a time when the city has an even greater need to plant trees and develop healthy, green spaces. Our work is more important than ever, especially since the devastation of the ash trees in metro Detroit.” Metro Detroit has lost tens of millions of trees to emerald ash disease since 2004.
Most of the trees planted by The Greening this spring are part of the green infrastructure efforts undertaken by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to reduce stormwater water runoff in the Cody Rouge neighborhood. Big tree planting projects help solve the overflow problem and clean up the water system in a cheap and effective way.
Older cities like Detroit have antiquated gray infrastructure — meaning pipes and sewer systems that are unable to manage heavy rainfall or snow melts. When the system is taxed, raw sewage overflows into the clean water system, polluting rivers and lakes and flooding basements. Using green infrastructure is a healthy, economic alternative method to storm water management.
The Greening of Detroit’s green infrastructure efforts also align with the Detroit Future City framework, a vision that outlines recommendations to leverage Detroit’s strengths and assets that will improve the quality of life for all. “The Greening’s tree planting is a great example of Detroit Future City’s ecological focus, which is required to improve quality of life in Detroit.
I commend The Greening for creating green infrastructure that makes Detroit more sustainable and attractive,” said Heidi Alcock, CEO of Michigan Community Resources, one of the lead civic engagement partners for the creation of the Detroit Future City framework.
Trees play an enormous role in protecting the environment and providing other economic and social benefits. They:
- help clean the air
- provide shade and cooling in the summer, reducing heating and cooling expenses
- reduce carbon emissions
- help fight climate change
- Reduce crime and stabilize neighborhoods
- Increase real estate values
- Provide aesthetic beauty and calmness to the landscape
Quicken Loans is the premier corporate sponsor of The Greening’s Green Thumb Volunteer Challenge. “Our company is heavily investing in downtown Detroit and believes in supporting efforts to stabilize neighborhoods and improve the city’s overall economic and environmental landscape,” said Tim Birkmeier, vice-president of Mortgage Banking for Quicken Loans. “We encourage our team members to engage in the community where we live, work, and play. Our team members want to make a difference in everything they do and take pride in being part of the Greening of Detroit’s efforts!’
The Greening of Detroit will be planting trees every Saturday (with the exception of Memorial Day weekend) through mid-June. Anyone interested in volunteering can register online at www.greeningofdetroit.com and clicking on “Get Involved” or contact The Greening of Detroit at (313)237-8733.