Community Forestry Profile: Dundee, MI

There are many communities across Michigan who are working to replant trees lost to disease or storm damage. Dundee is one of those communities. June 6th, 2010 a tornado hit Dundee wiping out 1,500 street trees alone. Local school grounds lost 90 trees and shrubs. Since the tornado damage the Dundee Area Rotary has been working to raise funds to replant trees. This past Octobor, youth with Dundee Interact and Summerfield Schools, Rotary members from Dundee and Bissfield, and local residents planted 46 trees.

Trees were planted at Rawson Place, a retirement community and residential property, area residents were given the option to have a tree replaced after the storm. Over the past few years, Rawson Place residents helplessly watched the number of trees shrink in their own back yard.

“We removed 42 trees a couple years ago because of (emerald) ash borer, and the tornado (on June 6) took over 50 trees. So we’ve lost more than 92 trees in the last couple years. Our land is pretty bare right now,” said Sandy Benore, director of Rawson place.

“We need to replace as many trees as we can, because we are known as a Tree City USA” said Dundee Village Manager Patrick Burtch.

The Tree City USA® program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 135 million Americans call home. The many benefits of being a Tree City include creating a framework for action, education, a positive public image, and citizen pride.

Through many local donations and grants and matching funds Dundee is planning a Spring project in 2011 to further assist in the loss of so many trees that dreadful day.  Recently, Dundee has witnessed the after effects of a severe ice storm, causing the loss of even more trees. Neither the tornador nor the ice storm has stopped the Dundee Commuity from continuing its efforts to increase their urban forest. This is truly a great example of a community working together to create a greener future.

The Dundee Area Rotary Club, which formed about two years ago, is pleased with the community response to the fundraiser. “This is our first big service project,” Ms. Phillips said. “So we’re very happy to be helping everyone who applied for a tree.”

Marie Sowa, president of Dundee Rotary, also was pleased with the project’s success. “This is our first homegrown community project. Rotary’s motto is ‘Service Above Self’ and that’s what we’re all about. And that’s what this project is all about,” she told Roatry members.

It is communities like Dundee that the Go Green Youth Challenge aims to benefit. Through inspiring youth to become involved in community development and raising awareness about the importance of trees, the Go Green Youth Challenge will grow into a tree planting movement.

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