While the NFL Draft will only be in Detroit for a few days, the league wanted to leave a lasting mark on the Motor City. That’s why it teamed up with Verizon and the Detroit Tree Equity Partnership, including founding member DTE Energy, to plant 20 trees at Patton Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, to help bring lasting benefits like lower surface temperatures, better health and less water runoff to the area.  

Working with DTEP was a perfect fit for the NFL as they looked to have a positive impact on the Detroit community. Launched in fall 2022, DTEP is a pilot program that aims to plant 75,000 trees in parts of the city that needs them the most. More than 12,000 trees are already in the ground and 5,000 more are slated to be added to Detroit’s tree canopy by summer. 

The Earth Day event welcomed volunteers from the NFL, Verizon, DTE and other DTEP partners and featured speakers like the director of NFL Green Jack Groh, vice president of the Detroit Lions Foundation Roxanne Caine and DTE Chairman and CEO Jerry Norcia to recognize the work being done at the planting and by the partnership overall. The Detroit Lions Cheerleaders and mascot also joined the celebration.  

“Energy and trees may not seem like they go hand in hand, however natural solutions like trees are a vital part of our clean energy future,” Norcia said at Monday’s event. “Corporate partners like DTE, the NFL and Verizon are vital when it comes to meeting tree planting goals in Detroit and beyond, we play a key role in the path forward. Projects like this make lasting improvements where they are most needed and show just what can happen when we all work together.”

DTE Energy volunteers plant a tree at the NFL Draft DTEP event.

The volunteers were excited to have the chance to help start the draft on an environmentally friendly high note, planting all the trees in just a few short hours.  

“Planting all these trees makes a difference in our communities,” Kailyn Johnson, a volunteer with DTE Energy, said at the event. “Being able to volunteer and make a difference is really important.”

While the excitement of the draft will soon be a memory, the trees planted as part of this event will last a lifetime and help grow a cleaner future for the people of Detroit for years to come. 

To learn more about the Detroit Tree Equity Partnership, visit their website here.