This Earth Month, Detroit’s tree canopy is blossoming and growing in a way that lets everybody enjoy the benefits.  

Equitably expanding Detroit’s tree canopy is the mission of the Detroit Tree Equity Partnership, a collaboration between corporate partners like DTE, non-profits like American Forests and the Greening of Detroit as well as the City of Detroit with the goal of planting 75,000 trees over five years. 

The first full year of the program is already on the books, with 12,200 trees planted from October 2022 through December 2023. These trees aren’t just being planted anywhere. They are going in targeted areas of the city where tree canopy is lacking. Low tree canopy is more than a beautification problem. When there aren’t enough trees, communities can’t reap benefits like lower temperatures, lower asthma rates and less water runoff.  

With warmer weather coming into the region, DTEP has kicked off its spring planting season. There are 5,000 trees planned for the first half of the year, with the DTEP crew’s first planting of the season happening earlier this month on Plymouth Rd. The organization is also supplying trees through its distribution system for the Motor City Makeover effort and hosting volunteer plantings every Thursday and Saturday in partnership with the Greening of Detroit. 

The trees planted by these efforts might start small but they will have a big impact.  

“Planting trees is more than just burying a plant in the ground. It’s about preserving our Michigan way of life for generations to come. Having more green space in a neighborhood helps lower temperatures in extreme heat and improves the health and well-being of those living in these communities,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, a longtime supporter of efforts like DTEP. “This historic investment will help Michigan communities combat the climate crisis and create new economic opportunities.”

If you are looking to embrace Earth Month and help the Detroit community, there are different ways to get involved with DTEP. The partnership will be distributing 2,000 trees to Detroiters to add greenery to their neighborhoods. You can also find volunteer opportunities to take part in a planting or find your neighborhood’s tree equity score and advocate for change in your own backyard.