Genesee Co. students plant 300 trees in Flint for Earth Day

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 9:17 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – Some Genesee County students planted 300 trees along Gilkey Creek in Flint to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday.

The event was part of a watershed restoration project with the Flint River Watershed Coalition.

“Their work is gonna pay off for years to come because these trees, well, ultimately every tree that takes and grows here will help mitigate stormwater runoff, will contribute to protecting the overall water surface quality in the area,” said Jennifer Raymond, the executive director of the Flint River Watershed Coalition.

The coalition, in partnership with the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District, hosted the event as the first step in their project to plant 5,000 trees over the next three years to help repair local waterways.

Raymond said they planted the trees to help hold back sediment, prevent erosion, and help filter polluted stormwater runoff.

“Stormwater runoff management, and especially through trees and forestry, bio-retention, is a huge support for surface water quality management,” she said. “The value this type of planting offers in looking at specific pollutants, or in specific polluters is that this would reduce the overall pollutant load in the area.”

The coalition said stormwater can carry pollutants such as fertilizers or industrial contaminants into our waterways, and that tree canopies can reduce runoff by blocking 10 to 40 percent of rainfall.

“Water is life, and when we protect our environment, we are protecting ourselves and taking care of ourselves as a community,” Raymond said.

The Flint River Watershed Coalition is one of several watersheds across the state planting trees through a grant from the Department of Natural Resources called “Forest to Mi Faucet.”

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