Alkebu-Lan Village (AKBV) is a longstanding community center in Detroit. With a 30-year history serving youth and their families, what began as a martial arts program teaching discipline and personal responsibility is now a sprawling facility with programs supporting technological literacy, physical fitness, academic success and food security. When employees at the nearby ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks (AMTB) facility reached out to AKBV to discuss how they could best connect and support the community across their fence line, AKBV leaders identified a community garden as a project in need of support.
With guidance from WHC and funded by WM Think Green and the DTE Foundation, employees of WM, General Motors, DTE and AMTB came together to plant 45 trees and 200 plugs on AKBV property, adjacent to the community garden. All plants were native species selected to provide habitat for local pollinators. The planting event was paired with a selection of informal environmental education activities, designed to build participants’ understanding of the importance of pollinators both ecologically and to food security at a large scale.
The successful pilot planting convening corporate, academic, nonprofit and community stakeholders resulted in additional funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to install green infrastructure across the neighborhood, including the planting of 500 additional trees. These funds will also enable WHC’s development of additional curricula, teaching AKBV’s youth program to monitor on-site pollinators, steward and maintain newly planted trees, and understand how the restored habitat provides ongoing value to local wildlife and the community.