3 Metro sites win accolades for protecting environment

Three Metro Detroit sites have been recognized as examples of successful sustainable landscapes.

The American Society of Landscape Architects featured downtown’s Lafayette Greens urban garden, the James Clarkson Environmental Discovery Center in White Lake Township and the Kresge Foundation headquarters in Troy among 40 locations around the world that “illustrate the transformative effects of sustainable landscape design.”

Lafayette Greens was noted for its successful sustainable landscape. The roughly half-acre park was created in 2011 after the Lafayette Building that stood on the site was torn down. It has a storm water diversion system, drought-tolerant grasses and efficient irrigation system.

It features 35 raised beds where more than 800 pounds of herbs and vegetables are grown. Volunteers work the gardens and the food is given to non-profits including the Gleaners Food Bank and Freedom House.

The 70-acre Clarkson Environmental Discovery Center is part of the Indian Springs Metropark. It has 14 ecosystems and features a submerged classroom where visitors can see an aquatic ecosystem. Restoration of the area has also created homes for a number of endangered species of animals.

The Kresge Foundation headquarters was lauded for its sustainable work environment. The 2.74-acre site features more than 100 native grass and wildflower species. A storm water system reuses 155,000 gallons of rain water each year. Buildings feature green roofs and the parking lots have porous pavement to facilitate absorption of water during rain showers.