Oct 12, 2022 - News

75K trees to be planted across Detroit

Local leaders help plant tree outside of St. John Lutheran Church. Picutred with shovels from left to right: DTE CEO Jerry Norcia, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, American Forests president Jad Daley and Mayor Mike Duggan. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Local leaders planted a sapling outside St. John Lutheran Church on the west side yesterday as part of a plan to plant 75,000 trees across Detroit.

Driving the news: U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and city leaders helped plant the tree to celebrate the launch of the Detroit Tree Equity Partnership (DTEP). Politicians were joined by members of The Greening of Detroit and American Forests, as well as representatives from partner company DTE Energy.

  • The public-private partnership to plant tens of thousands of trees over the next five years, create 300 new jobs and secure $30 million in investment for Detroit neighborhoods will initially be funded through philanthropy and federal funding from the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.

Why it matters: Planting trees doesn't just release carbon into the environment — it can benefit residents' mental health, reduce storm water runoff, save millions in residential energy costs and defend against extreme heat and air pollution.

  • Trees can even decrease the rate of childhood asthma, which kids here suffer from at a notably higher rate than the rest of the state.

What they're saying: Mayor Mike Duggan said at the event that the partnership will help restore Detroit's tree canopy while creating employment for residents. The DTEP is another example of the city's Blight to Beauty effort, he said.

  • "It's about investing in people, investing in neighborhoods," Stabenow told reporters. "It's about addressing the climate crisis."

Flashback: Detroiters used to want to get rid of trees, Duggan said. "The city had neglected maintenance for so long that we had dead trees — 10,000 across the city that were dangerous."

  • But in the last five years, the city has gotten rid of the vast majority of those trees, to the point where Duggan says the conversation has shifted to, "you don't have enough trees."
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