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Detroit 2021 - Urban Canopy Recovery Program

Planting Location: 14279-14201 Outer Dr W. Detroit, MI 48239

Project Description/Objective: Devastated by Dutch Elm Disease (1950) and Emerald Ash borer infestation (2002), the city of Detroit has experienced a huge loss of urban tree canopy. Today, Detroit’s tree canopy is at 22.5 percent, far below the recommended 40 percent. While this loss presents serious social and environmental burden on Detroiters and the city’s natural ecosystems, the lack of a healthy urban forest also results in the inequitable distribution of tree benefits.
Detroiters have suffered many challenges rooted in historic racial discrimination, segregation, and disinvestment, and currently experience a poverty rate nearly three times higher than the national average near 38% , a child poverty rate of 50% and a 9.8% unemployment rate (pre-COVID-19) and nearly 40% as of this grant application. Detroiters also have the fifth-highest rate of obesity in the U.S. and experience asthma rates three times the state average . Additionally, 13% of adults have diabetes, 45% of adults have high blood pressure .
In recognition of these economic and health challenges, the lack of a healthy urban forest results in the inequitable distribution of tree benefits that could help mitigate these challenges: critical shade for managing soaring summer temperatures indoors and for outdoor exercise, the buffering air pollution from industry and roadways, management and cleansing of stormwater before it enters are combined sewer system, and neighborhood beautification by well-maintained trees.
This project focuses on rebuilding a healthy urban forest so that all Detroiters can benefit from trees. With support from One Tree Planted and its partners, 7,500 new trees will be planted or distributed throughout the city of Detroit through December 2021. There will be community volunteer events to plant balled and burlapped trees in city parks; host tree giveaways for residents; and plantings of bare root trees at Meyers Tree Nursery at Rouge Park.
One Tree Planted will be providing indirect support for Greening of Detroit's community plantings programs, including Meyers Tree Nursery where Greening of Detroit trains and employs Detroiters with barriers to employment through our Detroit Conservation Corps (DCC). This 8-week program provides training in First Aid/CPR, MIOSHA, industry training on commercial equipment, along with wrap around services of financial literacy, professional development, and transportation services. The trees grown at the nursery will serve as a local source for Detroit tree plantings projects, reducing carbon footprint, investing in the local economy, and increasing operational resiliency.

Ecological Benefits: In 2010, The Greening of Detroit began reestablishing Meyers Tree Nursery, which sits within the site of the former city tree nursery that ended operations in the 60s, within the almost 1200 acre Rouge Park.
Since then, Greening has acted as a steward of this site, planting both permanent and production trees, installing a stormwater retention pond designed to capture over 1 million gallons of surface flow and from over 11 acres of the park. The site hosts educational workshops, invasive species removal days, and the installation of hundreds of native plants for wildlife habitat, resulting in sightings of turtles and waterfowl.
The nursery, the center of our organization’s tree operations to rebuild the urban forest, is located within the Rouge River Watershed, which makes up about half of the City of Detroit. The trees planted at the nursery and community plantings, will help to filter and mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff (i.e. increased temperature, velocity, and urban pollution, etc.) into Rouge and Detroit Rivers and the Great Lakes.

Community Benefits: During the last thirty years, The Greening of Detroit has engaged thousands of individuals in the collaborative effort to increase the city’s urban forest, resulting in over 130,000 new trees planted in parks, schoolyards, community public spaces, and along neighborhood streets. In addition to the ecological benefits, these trees -- and other green infrastructure treatments such as native plantings of marshland and meadows -- planted in blighted neighborhoods create green space that become valuable and meaningful community resources.
In addition to the immediately visible community benefits our tree planting work creates, it also supports the community residents we serve. Trees are not only planted by volunteers and community members, but also by graduates of Detroit Conservation Corps (DCC), our Adult Workforce program for Detroiters with barriers to employment. Additionally, our Green Corps summer youth program employs Detroit high schoolers to water the trees we plant, while providing them green career development opportunities.
COVID-19 has deeply revealed the inequities African Americans have faced. Here in Detroit, which is 79 percent African American, has 7 percent of Michigan’s population but 26 percent of the state’s infections and 25 percent of its deaths, as of April 2020. While health professionals attribute the coronavirus’s deadliness to underlying health issues, such as hypertension, heart or kidney disease or obesity, many agree that these stem from structural racism that leads to extremely health inequalities.
The trees planted and distributed, with One Tree Planted & Noble Oak's support, are dedicated to an equitable distribution of healthy tree benefits for all Detroiters.

Types of Trees: White Oak, Tulip Tree, Pin oak, Kentucky Coffeetree, Eastern Redbud, Hackberry, Bur Oak, Sweetgum, Swamp white oak, Sassafras, Elm, Bald Cypress Gingko, Kentucky Coffeetree, London Planetree, Red Oak, American Elm (DED), American Hornbeam
The Greening of Detroit intends to plant bare root trees at Meyers Tree Nursery, and 1.5-2” caliper balled and burlapped trees in city parks.

Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 7,500

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