U-Haul, The Conservation Fund And The Greening Of Detroit Unveil Major Effort To Plant Trees And Strengthen Detroit’s Green Economy

September 26, 2013

Restore the Rouge logo
Donations from The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® Program to Help “Restore the Rouge”and Provide Financing to Green Entrepreneurs

Detroit, Mich. — U-Haul and The Conservation Fund  believe in Detroit’s green future and they are teaming up with one of the city’s leading nonprofits, The Greening of Detroit, to make it happen.

Donations from U-Haul and its customers to The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program will support the planting of 1,600 trees at Rouge Park, led by The Greening of Detroit, and the establishment of the Growing Detroit’s Green Economy Fund, a grant program aimed at supporting green entrepreneurs, administered by The Conservation Fund.

Already more than 800,000 U-Haul customers have donated to The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program to plant 306,000 trees across 1,017 acres of forest— that is the size of 915 football fields or about the same size as Rouge Park. 

U-Haul recently purchased and revitalized a historic seven-story NBC-Nabisco Building at 899 West Baltimore Avenue in New Center.  The U-Haul Moving and Storage of New Center opened for business in August 2013, and efforts to expand Go Zero donations to “Restore the Rouge” and build a greener economy within Detroit were unveiled today.

“Being able to jump-start the revitalization of Rouge Park with this tree-planting is just another way in which U-Haul gives back through sustainable practices,” stated David Ruff, President, U-Haul Company of Detroit.  “Providing a place for families to spend their time in the community is a need for the city, and I believe Rouge Park will be a place for families to make memories for years to come.”  

The Greening of Detroit will use Go Zero donations to facilitate five tree-planting events at Rouge Park over the next 18 months.  Their small staff of forestry experts will be joined by an army of volunteers to restore two acres with 1,600 trees at Rouge Park along the Rouge River near W. Warren Avenue. 

“We appreciate the commitment of U-Haul and The Conservation Fund to restoring this unique part of Detroit’s urban forest,” said Rebecca Salminen Witt, President of The Greening of Detroit.  “This ecosystem provides our city with multiple environmental, economic and social benefits. Rouge Park plays an important role in the overall health of our community.”

In addition to planting trees, donations from U-Haul and its customers to The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program will help strengthen and grow the city’s green economy.  The Conservation Fund will provide grants to organizations whose business models promote the sustainable use of natural resources (with a preference for urban agriculture, community gardens and urban forestry).  Since 2011, the Fund has invested $60,000 in Michigan farmers markets and provided another $70,000 in loans to green microenterprises via its ShadeFund program.

“We know that U-Haul and its customers care deeply about giving back to the environment and strengthening the green economy,” said The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero Director, Jena Thompson Meredith, “but it’s not enough to plant trees and walk away.  Now is the time to channel the momentum we’ve built nationally and use those donations to help restore iconic places like Rouge Park, and at the same time, invest in the very best green entrepreneurs who can grow Detroit’s economy and keep it thriving.”

Since U-Haul made its first pledge to restore the tree canopy in Rouge Park, momentum has grown.  For the first planting event at Rouge Park this weekend, CSX is donating 75 trees via its Trees for Tracks program and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is contributing an additional 75 trees. Quicken Loans is providing much of the volunteer labor for this event, as part of The Greening’s annual Green Thumb Volunteer Challenge.

Each year, The Greening of Detroit plants approximately 6,000-7,000 trees throughout the city.  More than 81,000 have been planted since the organization’s inception in 1989.

Rouge Park restoration activities will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 28th. Volunteers will gather at Outer Drive north of Warren Avenue near the park entrance.  


About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.

About The Greening of Detroit

The Greening of Detroit is a long-standing nonprofit organization committed to inspiring sustainable growth of a healthy urban community through trees, green spaces, food, education, training and job opportunities.

About U-Haul

U-Haul was founded by a Navy veteran who grew up during the Great Depression. Tires and gas were still rationed or in short supply during the late 1940s when U-Haul began serving U.S. customers. Today, that background is central to the U-Haul Sustainability Program: “Serving the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  Our commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle includes fuel-efficient moving vans, neighborhood proximity, moving box reuse, moving pads made from discarded material and packing peanuts that are 100% biodegradable.  Learn more about these facts and others at uhaul.com/sustainability.

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the choice for the do-it-yourself mover. U-Haul customers' patronage has enabled the Company to maintain the largest rental fleet in the do-it-yourself moving industry which includes trucks, trailers and towing devices. U-Haul also offers self-storage throughout North America. The Company provides industry leading moving and storage boxes and an extended line of packing supplies to protect customer possessions. U-Haul is the consumer’s number one choice as the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket. The Company supplies alternative-fuel for vehicles and backyard grills as one of the nation’s largest retailers of propane.

Press Release Contacts

Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org

Joanne Fried | U-Haul | Joanne_Fried@uhaul.com 

Trish Hubbell | The Greening of Detroit | trish@greeningofdetroit.com


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