Volunteers revive Detroit nursery with trees
Detroit — A local nonprofit is reviving a city nursery with some 1,500 new trees planted by volunteers.
The Greening of Detroit has partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based American Forests and Bank of America to provide the tree stock at the 72-acre Meyers Nursery located on West Outer Drive near Rouge Park Drive in Rouge Park.
Meyers Nursery has been managed by the Greening of Detroit for the past 10 years and previously served as a site for workforce development training.
Detroiters who had barriers to employment were trained in such areas as landscaping and tree trimming at the nursery, said Lionel Bradford, president of the Greening of Detroit.
Now Bradford said he wants to be more intentional about the nursery, growing fresh trees that can be transported throughout Detroit.
He said he hopes the Meyers Nursery project can serve as a model for other nurseries in Detroit.
“This is important for a number of reasons, one that we cut down on the carbon footprint in terms of trees that we have transported in from other places,” Bradford said. “From a greening standpoint, we control our own destiny if we grow our own trees rather than having to purchase trees.”
About 25 volunteers from Bank of America offices across southeast Michigan were at Meyers Nursery on Tuesday planting trees. Bank of America has provided funding for the equipment and other costs associated with the project.
John Jarka, a spokesman for Bank of America, said the company strives to not only fund projects but also encourage its staff to get “boots on the ground” and volunteer.
“Here in Michigan, we’ve got a commitment to our communities locally,” Jarka said. “This is a great cause to provide canopy for the city, and this is going to make an impact for years to come.”
American Forests travels across the nation planting trees and selected Detroit as a long-term partner, said Eliza Kreztmann, manager of Urban Forest Programs. The organization helps with funding, planning, studies and volunteer events such as the one held Tuesday at Meyers.
“We see Detroit as a vibrant community that’s on the rise,” Kretzmann said. “We want to help enable those local partners to fulfill the goals that they have for their own city.”