Telegram - Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

By Renee Summers
Telegram News Reporter 

ReLeaf Michigan Seeking Volunteers to Plant Trees in Ecorse

 

October 28, 2021

If you enjoy outdoor activities, ReLeaf Michigan has an opportunity for you. On Saturday, November 6, ReLeaf Michigan, in partnership with the city of Ecorse and the DTE Foundation, will be planting 20 trees in the city to increase the overall tree canopy and provide environmental, health, economic, and aesthetic benefits. This will be ReLeaf's second tree planting event in Ecorse this year as part of its effort to promote the city's "green" infrastructure.

ReLeaf Michigan was founded in 1988 as part of a larger, national effort to plant more trees following a series of heat waves across the United States. The organization is a statewide volunteer non-profit whose mission is to educate the public on the value of trees and how to properly select, plant, and maintain them. They accomplish this by working with communities and organizations throughout Michigan to protect and restore urban tree canopies. In its more than 30 years of existence, ReLeaf Michigan has worked with more than 400 communities to plant nearly 30,000 trees on public property in the state's cities and townships, all powered by community volunteers.

"I think what's always in common is that all the volunteers are interested in doing something to improve their communities and planting trees is a really great way to do that," says Ashley Laux, a Project Forester with ReLeaf Michigan. "We really strive to educate the participants in the planting on how to select the right tree species for the right place at the right time. It's our hope that volunteers are able to walk away comfortable enough with experience and hands-on practice with planting trees so they can go home and plant trees on their own property too, which than furthers our mission to increase the tree canopy in urban areas in Michigan."

ReLeaf does not merely plant trees in a community then walk away, however. Laux says the organization creates maintenance agreements with communities that participate in a tree planting, to ensure the young trees are being properly cared for. Project foresters maintain contact with community or organization leaders and return frequently to see how the trees are growing. "We strive to cultivate relationships with the communities we're planting with so they're comfortable with reaching out if they have questions. We're not just putting trees in the ground that aren't being maintained," says Laux.

ReLeaf Michigan also sponsors a family-friendly initiative, The Big Tree Hunt Contest. Participants search their county-or the state-for the biggest tree they can find. The contest is free and details and an entry form can be found on the organization's website.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, ReLeaf Michigan's work and resources are funded through federal and state grants, private foundations, corporate partners and sponsors, and individual donors. Fundraising events are part of the plan as well. Laux says the organization is hoping supporters will remember them on Giving Tuesday this year, November 30.

"It's really an exciting time to be doing this work. Tree planting initiatives are under way across the country and around the world," says Laux. "Everybody has a role in increasing Michigan's tree canopy. It's really important for human health and wellness and social benefits; trees provide extensive environmental benefits. Research is finding more and more ways that trees are the answer for a lot of the climate issues we're dealing with. Anybody who gets to participate in a ReLeaf Michigan event is able to contribute, which is a really big deal and it's a cool experience for our volunteers."

On November 6, 10 trees will be planted in Dingell Park and 10 will be planted in a city park on Glenwood. The event begins at 8:45 a.m. Interested volunteers should meet in Dingell Park. No planting experience is necessary and COVID safety protocols will be followed and masks are recommended, along with work gloves. ReLeaf asks that volunteers RSVP on their website to get an idea how many volunteers will be available, but it is not required. Walk-up volunteers will not be turned away.

Go to http://www.releafmichigan.org and click on the Events tab to register. Also find information about The Big Tree Hunt Contest on the site as well

 

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