Local group digs Detroit into green spring

Remember Johnny Appleseed? We have an image of him skipping along, spreading apple seeds randomly across the nation but, in reality, he planted nurseries, left those nurseries in the care of a neighbor and returned every year or two to tend them.

That’s kind of the same plan the Greening of Detroit has this year. No, they’re not planting just apple seeds. But they are planning their largest planting season to date. Ladies and gentlemen, here is your chance to be Johnny or Jane Appleseed.

2011 will be a landmark year for greening in Detroit. Our new plantings will provide a greater benefit to Detroit’s environment than ever before,” said Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit.

Greening of Detroit got its start more than 20 years ago after Dutch Elm disease wiped out a large portion of the city’s trees. Since then the group has not only replanted the trees lining Detroit’s streets, they rehabilitated the Romanowski Park into a fruit orchard, urban farm, athletic field, walking trail and teaching pavilion. They also built a playground for the neighborhood’s kids and restored more than 1,370 vacant lots and started a project with the Detroit 300 committee and planted 1,701 trees.

Sound busy?

“There’s never been a better time to jump in and get your hands dirty,” Salminen says. Personally, I can’t imagine a better way to beat these long winter doldrums.

The first planting date is March 26 on the corner of Deacon and Ethel in Southwest Detroit and on 7 Mile. Check the Greening of Detroit calendar for volunteer dates through June.

If you’d like to sign up you can contact Justin Wojciak at or call (313)237-8733 ext. 242. For more information on the Greening of Detroit’s work, visit

Remember the words of Alfred Joyce Kilmer.. “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

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