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An innovative partnership among the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®), Weyerhaeuser and a nonprofit organization called The Greening of Detroit (TGD) has developed over the past two years into a powerful force for sustainability in Michigan. The partnership is the brainchild of Weyerhaeuser Senior Forester Howard Lindberg, who is a member (and former chair) of the SFI State Implementation Committee (SFI SIC) in Michigan. TGD has been working since 1989 toward sustainable urban communities. The group’s focus embraces tree planting, support for urban green spaces, community education, sustainable urban food production and job opportunities for youths and adults.
Lindberg began working with the organization’s Citizen Foresters — trained volunteers who lead others in planting and tending trees around the city. Citizen Foresters have planted more than 85,000 trees since 1989. Each year, TGD brings 120 Detroit teens — known as the Green Corps — into the woods for a first-hand look at sustainable forest management and potential forestry careers. The Green Corps provides summer job opportunities for students aged 14 to 18, who help tend the city’s trees, parks and greenways while learning job-hunting and financial literacy skills. On the field trip, participants traveled to the Grayling, Michigan, area to get a more complete view of what sustainable forestry means to their state. The students also toured an old-growth preserve, visited a logging museum and discussed how forest management has changed over time to address concerns such as reforestation and water-quality protection.