DETROIT – A nonprofit working to improve the environment and Detroit community by planting trees has joined forces with NBC’s Today Show to set a new world record this Earth Day.
Greening of Detroit has been investing in the Detroit area for years, focusing on “enhancing the quality of life for Detroiters by planting trees, providing job training and involving our youth in the education of the natural environment.” For Earth Day this year, the nonprofit teamed up with sponsors and volunteers to plant 80 trees at Corrigan Park on Detroit’s east side.
“Climate change is upon is, so it’s very important to plant trees, preserve our greenspace, and continue planting throughout the city,” said Monica Tabares, vice president of Greening of Detroit.
But the fun didn’t stop there: Members of the nonprofit on Friday morning joined people from all over the U.S. to set a new world record for the most people watering plants simultaneously, across multiple venues. Led by the team at the Today Show, a total of 799 people from NBC affiliate cities like Detroit, Austin, Cleveland, Roanoke and San Francisco had their own watering can and plant to tend to, and everyone watered that plant for 20 seconds concurrently.
A Guinness World Record adjudicator was on site, scrutinizing the process and then awarding a certificate to the Today Show. Now, all 799 people are considered Guinness World Record holders!
You can watch the record-setting plant-watering below.
“The more trees we can get into the ground, the more clean air we have, it helps with water quality, with soil quality, aesthetics, beautification, property value,” Lionel Bradford, president of Greening of Detroit, told Local 4.
The scarcity of trees in Detroit is one of the reasons why Greening of Detroit exists. President Bradford says Detroit used to be considered the “Paris of the Midwest” because of the area’s tree canopy.
“But, between 1950 and 1980, Detroit lost over a half million trees due to disease, neglect, urbanization, you name it,” Bradford said.
To make up for the lost trees, Greening of Detroit plants about 2,000 every year. The nonprofit is also focused on planting seeds for the future.
“We’ve been planting trees since 1989. Since our inception, we’ve planted over 133,000 trees throughout the city,” Bradford said. “What that afforded us was an opportunity to train people to do this type of work. And so, we started doing workforce development training for adults who have barriers to employment in Detroit.
“Here, you have folks returning home from prison or incarceration, (and now) they’re able to feed their families after they come through our training program.”