Magazine article American Forests

Ian Leahy, Director of Urban Forests Programs

Magazine article American Forests

Ian Leahy, Director of Urban Forests Programs

Article excerpt

FOR ALL THE EXCITING URBAN greening projects I get to be involved in across the country, there's nothing quite like coming home. Metro Detroit not only forged me but also my passion for urban sustainability. I grew up watching the city's well-documented collapse as well as suburban growth sprawl over farms and forests. I simply knew at the time that we were missing something.

With this project, made possible by our partnership with Bank of America and just down the street from the vacant lot where my grandfather's jewelry business once stood, I was able to give a little something back to the city that has given me so much. It was not American Forests' first investment in Detroit, nor will it be our last, but it is our most transformational so far.

The Greening of Detroit had a void of outdoor education space on the city's east side, so an extensive analysis was done to find the perfect confluence of need and opportunity. Within walking distance of multiple schools and a library, the perfect location turned out to be in the Osborn neighborhood, which has been working through the process of stabilizing and rebuilding itself. …

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