Rebecca Salminen Witt president of The Greening of Detroit hopes to get good things growing in the city.

“The Greening of Detroit exists in Detroit to create a sustainable city,” said Salminen Witt.

They plan to accomplish that goal with tree plantings, gardening, urban farming, job training and environmental education.

The Greening of Detroit does between 25 and 35 tree plantings a year adding up to between 4 and 6 thousand new trees.

Salminen Witt describes their newest program involving workforce training saying “… folks that want to gain skills in the green industries the kind of landscaping and tree planting and propagation stuff that The Greening does. We can train those and help place them in those jobs around the city as well.”

We all know the obvious benefit of planting trees in the city. It helps spruce it up, but did you know that these trees can also help clean up the contaminants in the soil.

According to Salminen Witt, either from a former industrial use or lead paint, the right tree can absorb the contaminants after growing for 10 or 20, it can be removed and it takes some of the contaminants with it. The land would then be more viable for gardens or more useful applications.

Emphasizing that the timing is right for this type of work Salminen Witt said, “This is our chance. We can’t miss it. And we fell like we’re really ready.” “Our next few years are going to be all about making this place the kind of city that we’ve envisioned for 23 years,” she added.

According to the organization’s official site, The Greening of Detroit is a 501(c) (3) not “for” profit organization established in 1989 to guide and inspire the reforestation of Detroit. In 2006, a new vision was established, expanding The Greening’s mission to guide and inspire others to create a ‘greener’ Detroit through planting and educational programs environmental leadership, advocacy, and by building community capacity.


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