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The Greening of Detroit

At Westchester Tree Life, we are often inspired by the hard work of volunteers and nonprofit organizations who focus on the importance of healthy greenery in the community.  From trees and flowers to grassy areas and gardens, a variety of plant life in any community creates a healthier and more beautiful environment.  One such organization is The Greening of Detroit.


Founded by Elizabeth Gordon Sachs in 1989, the Greening of Detroit sought to counter the effects of the city’s loss of about 500,000 trees to Dutch Elm Disease, urban expansion, and attrition  between 1950 and 1980.   When the city’s economic problems prevented the lost trees from being replaced, Sachs stepped in to fill this need.  She created The Greening of Detroit with the goal of reestablishing the city’s greenery.

The Greening of Detroit 2The Greening of Detroit has grown into an incredible force for the city.  They accomplish so much by partnering with public parks for restoration projects.  They also created the Build A Garden program, providing space, resources, and support for individuals, groups and schools who want to grown their own food.  This program focuses on helping those who have limited financial means or gardening skills, making it possible for more people to have access to fresh, healthy food.

The Greening of Detroit 1Our Land lessons are another important program launched by The Greening of Detroit.  This program works with hundreds of students through a series of classroom visits and field trips to help children connect with natural areas and develop an understanding of preserving and restoring ecosystems.  Our Land gives real life context to the principles covered in science curriculum while instilling in children a lifelong respect for green spaces.

The Greening of Detroit 4Community Tree Plantings are an initiative of The Greening of Detroit that allows neighborhoods to replant their streets.  A neighborhood can apply for plantings, when work together as a community to plant new trees on their streets.  Trees beautify the neighborhood and increase property value, great benefits for the residents who participate in this program.

The Greening of Detroit 5Additionally, The Greening of Detroit helps to keep their momentum going into future generations by taking an active role in training Detroit residents for jobs in forestry, agriculture, and landscaping.  The Adult Workforce Development Training Program is a registered apprenticeship program whose graduates earn landscape industry certification through the state of Michigan.  The Green Corps Youth Employment Program employs Detroit’s youth to maintain plantings, water trees, clean up green spaces, and weed and harvest at Greening’s farm gardens.  Finally, the Urban Agriculture Adult Apprenticeship Program teaches all aspects of urban farming and farm management.  The result is a growing population of citizens of all ages who have the skill and interest to continue to maintain and grow the city’s trees, gardens, and parks well into the future.

The Greening of Detroit 3The success of The Greening of Detroit is a testament to the organization’s multifaceted approach, working to not only plant new greenery but to maintain and restore parks, encourage gardening, and to develop workforce skills within the city’s citizens.  The Greening of Detroit has planted more than 85,000 trees.  They’ve employed thousands of young people and helped numerous families gain access to fresh food.  The work they’ve done for the community is incalculable!

To learn more about The Greening of Detroit, visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook.