Greening of Detroit – Working Together For the Future

By Guest Blogger: Howard Lindberg
Chair, Michigan SFI Implementation Committee, and
Senior Resource Forester, Plum Creek

The other week I was excited to be a part of The Greening of Detroit’s 2014 Citizen Forester Program, where 138 volunteers, 24 Citizen Forester volunteers, and 10 staff turned out on a Saturday to roll up their sleeves to plant over 100 trees.IMG_20140607_104248_261_web

The Greening of Detroit is a nonprofit which works with organiations to improve the ecosystem in Detroit through tree planting projects, environmental education, urban agriculture, open space reclamation, vacant land management, and workforce development programs. The Citizen Forester Program helps to oversee volunteers who plant 4,000 – 6,000 trees annually. Besides greening their environment, the program enhances the ability of volunteers to identify and plant environmentally impactful trees species in an urban setting, ensure trees are planted correctly, and maintain and promote the health of trees that are planted.

As chair of the Michigan SFI Implementation Committee (MI SIC), we were proud to work with The Greening of Detroit and other partners – US Forest Service, MASCO Corporation Foundation, Foundation Beyond Belief, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) through their SFI Community Partnership Grant Program – to make this day a success.

Detroit is not dead, nor is it dying, thanks to the Greening of Detroit’s Citizen Forester Program. We replaced ash trees that had been killed by Emerald Ash Borer with a number of ornamental tree species that will benefit the community for decades to come.

In addition to planting a few trees myself, I was able to speak to the volunteers about the importance of sustainable forest management and the work SFI does throughout North America to ensure future forests for everybody, and the role of SFI at Plum Creek.

It was great to see all the Citizen Foresters in t-shirts with the SFI logo on them, and our freshly planted trees will all get tree protector guards with the SFI logo on them this fall – thanks to the Greening of Detroit for these! The MI SIC also donated 300 copies of “Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree” book for kindergarten to grade 5 students. Published by the U.S. Forest Service, it features 28 full-color, hand-painted illustrations that teach children, parents and educators about reducing tree hazards, protecting other trees, managing forests for timber products and planting trees.

Amazingly, within 4 hours all the trees were planted and mulched. It was quite apparent this was not the first planting overseen by staff and the Citizen Foresters on site – what a great group to work with.

We are very pleased to work the Greening of Detroit on this very worthy cause, and look forward to future collaboration. Unique partnerships such as this one proves that our SIC’s make a difference and touch all communities in North America – even beyond  those directly reliant on the forest industry. For more information, contact myself, Howard Lindberg, or Monica Tabares.

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