SEAS plants trees in support of Great Lakes tree planting initiative
As part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers’ (GSGP) new initiative aimed at planting 250 million trees in the Great Lakes region by 2033, the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and GSGP to hold a ceremonial tree planting on November 9 at one of SEAS’ research natural areas. This was the first tree planted in the state of Michigan for the GSGP greening effort.
Six Eastern white pines were planted at the Newcomb site nearly 20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. The plantings were done in an effort to offset a portion of carbon emissions from the Dana Building, where SEAS is housed on U-M's Central Campus. The trees, which were provided by Lodi Farms of Ann Arbor, are 6 feet tall and are expected to grow to over 50 feet, according to Sucila Fernandes, Facilities Manager at SEAS.
This is the first time the GSGP has partnered with MDNR and an environmental school to do a planting, which is especially meaningful given SEAS’ roots as the first School of Forestry and Conservation. SEAS Associate Professor Drew Gronewold helped to spearhead the tree planting effort between SEAS, MDNR and GSGP.
The GSGP is a nonpartisan organization that works to grow the economy of the Great Lakes region and protect the Great Lakes. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently was named the next chair of the group.
One of the trees planted marks the upcoming Great Lakes Compact Symposium and Gala on Dec. 7-8, which is a joint event co-sponsored by SEAS, GSGP, and other U-M schools and departments. Gronewold is the co-chair of the symposium. As a Great Lakes Green Event, the symposium will use sustainable practices and plant a tree in order to create a lasting legacy.
“It was amazing to be a part of SEAS’ and GSGP’s tangible efforts to have a positive impact on our environment,” said SEAS PhD student Vianey Rueda, who participated in the tree planting ceremony and is the student chair for the Great Lakes Compact Symposium and Gala. “This tree marks the first Michigan tree planted by the new tree initiative of the GSGP, and it’s wonderful that it also commemorates a celebration of the Great Lakes Compact’s 15th anniversary.”
Other participants at the tree planting included Amy Van Zanen, SEAS PhD student; Anna Gossard, U-M undergraduate in civil and environmental engineering; David Naftzger, Executive Director of GSGP and co-chair of the Great Lakes Compact Symposium and Gala; Michael Piskur, Program Director of GSGP; and Jason Stephens, Assistant Chief of the Forest Resources Division at MDNR.
The tree planting initiative was launched by the GSGP in October with a ceremonial tree planting with four Great Lakes governors. Over the next decade, the group will work with the region’s eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, federal governments, corporations, cities and other institutions to plant 250 million trees, according to a press release. Tree planting creates many benefits including carbon storage, water quality improvements, providing habitat for other plants and wildlife, recreational access and improved health outcomes.
“We truly appreciate this partnership with SEAS and the University of Michigan to plant trees that will benefit the community for years to come,” said Piskur. “Great Lakes Green Events is helping to make more sustainable conferences and events in cities and on campuses across the region. Thanks to SEAS for leading the way!”