With ambitious plans, sometimes it can take a while to see the impact. With others, the difference can happen quickly. The Detroit Tree Equity Partnership may have just been announced in fall, 2022, but it’s already having an effect on our community and our world.
A partnership between DTE Energy, American Forests, the City of Detroit and the Greening of Detroit, DTEP is slated to plant thousands of trees in targeted areas of the city to grow Detroit’s tree canopy in the places it matters most. The goal is to plant more than 75,000 trees through the five years of the pilot program and continue planting thousands of trees ever year going forward.
Since the program began last fall, DTEP has planted more than 2,200 trees in areas with low tree equity, which is about ensuring every urban neighborhood has enough trees so that every person benefits from them.
While it’s only been a few months, these trees are already having an impact. Mature trees remove 48 pounds of carbon from the air per year, so these trees have already removed more than 25,000 pounds of carbon since they were planted last fall. That means cleaner air and lower asthma rates for the communities where these trees have been planted.
“There are incredible benefits to urban reforestation,” Shawn Patterson, DTE vice president of environmental management and safety, said. “You read so much about major forests, but you can’t forget about the amount of land, the amount of opportunity and the amount of benefits that exist in our urban areas.”
The impact goes beyond the environmental, too. Through the jobs portion of the partnership, 10 people have already been hired and trained to handle the planting and maintenance of the trees. These jobs are just the beginning, with 35 more set to be added this year and eventually building to a workforce of nearly 500 people to continue the planting and care of these trees.
“Personally, it’s a great opportunity for me,” Jeff Chaney, a crew leader with the Greening of Detroit, said. “The crew, myself, all of us like working and doing something not only manually but that feels like we’re doing something for the world and for our city.”
Planting for 2023 has already begun, with more than 8,000 locally-sourced trees planned to go in the ground this year. While the pilot program has four years left, the difference is already real for many of the communities touched by DTEP. And with the plan in motion, the impact will only grow from here.