Carlos Osorio, Associated Press
DETROIT — A nonprofit group pushing for urban reforestation kicks off its fall planting season in Detroit this weekend, with aims of getting 1,500 trees in the ground in the coming months.
The Greening of Detroit also is starting an effort that aims to plant 1,600 trees at the city's Rouge Park in the next 18 months. Donations from U-Haul and its customers to The Conservation Fund's Go Zero program will support the Rouge Park plantings.
Rouge Park, located on the city's west side along a stretch of the Rouge River, is a unique part of Detroit's urban forest, said Rebecca Salminen Witt, The Greening of Detroit's president. A number of area groups also are involved in restoring and improve the sprawling park.
"This ecosystem provides our city with multiple environmental, economic and social benefits," she said in a statement. "Rouge Park plays an important role in the overall health of our community."
Work begins Saturday at Rouge Park. Detroit-based online retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans is providing much of the volunteer labor for the first day. Volunteers are being sought for upcoming plantings, which take place in October and November.
U-Haul in August opened a moving and storage center in the city's New Center area and has launched an effort to help improve Rouge Park.
The Greening of Detroit plans to use Go Zero program donations for five planting events at Rouge Park. A grant program administered by The Conservation Fund that's aimed at supporting urban agriculture, community gardens and other similar efforts also has been established.
Known a century ago for its tree-lined streets and neighborhoods, Detroit saw much of its greenery fall casualty to the spread of Dutch elm disease in the 1950s and, more recently, the tree-killing emerald ash borer. The Greening of Detroit, which currently plants about 6,000-7,000 trees a year in Detroit, has put more than 81,000 in the ground since it started in 1989.
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