Mike Laviolette, of Lake Orion, and Jeff Smiles, of Davisburg, tend to a recently planted tree.

Mike Laviolette, of Lake Orion, and Jeff Smiles, of Davisburg, tend to a recently planted tree.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Volunteers plant trees through Green Macomb initiative

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published May 17, 2018

 Leaf Michigan Project Forester Marvin Pettway, standing, and ReLeaf Michigan arborist David Green, with 7-year-old Cooper, finish planting a tree at Emerick Park on May 11. Funding was provided in part through a U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development to increase the tree canopy in the county’s most impacted sub-watersheds through long-term tree planting and urban forest management.

Leaf Michigan Project Forester Marvin Pettway, standing, and ReLeaf Michigan arborist David Green, with 7-year-old Cooper, finish planting a tree at Emerick Park on May 11. Funding was provided in part through a U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development to increase the tree canopy in the county’s most impacted sub-watersheds through long-term tree planting and urban forest management.

Photo by Deb Jacques

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — In an effort to build on Harrison Township’s existing forestry program, beautify its local parks and enhance the area’s natural habitats, close to 50 volunteers worked on a rainy Friday morning to plant 42 trees through the Green Macomb initiative.

On May 11, members of the township’s Beautification Commission, Board of Trustees, the Clinton River Watershed Council and volunteers turned into arborists during the effort spearheaded by a Green Macomb grant.

“It was a win-win,” said Beautification Commission member Susan Keehn. “The trees are aesthetically beautiful, and they provide a canopy for shade, habitat, cool the ground and help the environment.”

Trees were planted at Tucker Park, Waterfront Park, Orville Aune Park and Emerick Park. Species include Kousa dogwood, redbud, magnolia, Japanese lilac, American hornbeam and brandywine maple.

Also in on the action was ReLeaf Michigan, a nonprofit organization that partnered with the township, the Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership, Macomb County and the Clinton River Watershed Council.

Melinda Jones, executive director of ReLeaf, said funding for the planting was provided in part through a U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development to increase the tree canopy in the county’s most impacted sub-watersheds through long-term tree planting and urban forest management.

Plantings are focused in the 12 Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership communities along and south of the main branch of the Clinton River in Macomb County.

“We work with all those communities; we meet with them and help them decide the best locations, and help them decide the best type of species ... for each location,” said Jones, adding that 2018 marks the second year of the effort. “It’s the members of the communities that will then dig the holes and do the planting with assistance from certified arborists. They oversee the planting as well, and the goal is to eventually make each volunteer comfortable enough to decide to go home and plant a tree of their own.”

ReLeaf Michigan partners with communities across Michigan to replenish canopies through tree planting events. Jones stressed the importance of such programs, as trees provide many benefits to communities such as shade, improving the economic vitality of commercial districts, improving the health of children and adults alike, absorbing stormwater, and reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Over the past 30 years, ReLeaf has worked with more than 400 communities to plant 30,000 trees of varied sizes.

For more information about ReLeaf, visit releafmichigan.org.