Volunteers help plant 15,000 trees in Detroit - FOX 32 News Chicago

Volunteers help plant 15,000 trees in Detroit

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) - It was a tree planting marathon Saturday on Detroit's east side. 15,000 trees found a new home in the city and volunteers helped plant them all in two hours flat.

Click on the video player to watch Robin Schwartz's report.

 Cue the mulch and bring in those trees! 1,200 hard working volunteers came together on Detroit's east side to plant 15,000 trees in lots off Mack Avenue. It's one of the largest reforesting projects in the nation, organized by Hantz Farms, meant to bring back the neighborhood.

"We come in here and we make this a place where the people who are here want to stay," said Mike Score, president of Hantz Woodlands. "It's important to find ways to help the Detroit population stabilize."

Score was born and raised in the city. He says it took six years to pull the project together. In all, 140 blighted acres are being transformed. The group got final approval last fall to purchase more than 1,500 lots from the city.

"We came in and we removed the brush and the garbage that had been dumped here," Score said. "We cut the grass, we made it cleaner, we made it safer. Now you can see through the neighborhood."

Michael and Donna Riggs pointed out their house, not far from the project site. Donna has lived here for 52 years and says this is the best the area has looked in decades.

"The neighborhood was just desolate," Riggs told Fox 2. "Tires all up and down the street. People were coming over here dumping their garbage, their clothes, furniture, just everything. You couldn't even walk down the street you couldn't even drive your cars down the street."

She and others say they're excited to see someone putting down roots and helping the neighborhood grow, one tiny tree at a time.
The man behind the project says this is just the beginning.

"Its the largest urban farm as I know it in America today and we're gonna keep growing it," said John Hantz, CEO of Hantz Farms.

The Woodlands project is for profit. We're told and even larger effort is being planned for next year. Click HERE to learn more.



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