Land + Water WORKS Coalition End of Year Newsletter – December 2020

December 18, 2019

2019 Year End Bulletin

In 2019, the Land + Water WORKS Coalition (LWWC) expanded our efforts to include additional programming and new partnerships to engage more Detroiters in land and water stewardship activities. In this year-end wrap up, we will review how our Coalition continued to advance our collective vision of a healthy community and improve the quality of life for all city residents through innovative open space usage and green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) practices. To date, we have engaged over 27,000 residents.

As we look forward to our work in 2020, the LWWC is excited to get more Detroiters involved with the Green Culture Shift taking place in our city through even more educational opportunities and practical resources.

A Cohort That Works

Our LWWC is comprised of nine organizations and an active community organizer. Along with Detroit Future City (DFC), our Coalition partners include Greening of Detroit, Sierra Club, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Eastside Community Network, Friends of the Rouge, Keep Growing Detroit, MOSES, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, and our residential community organizer Janlynn Miller.

Together, we perform work throughout Detroit, focusing on stormwater management and sustainability projects that are funded by the generosity of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. 

Youth Education

This year, Greening of Detroit and Sierra Club developed a land and water stewardship curriculum designed to attract and educate younger populations. The topics covered are based on the information provided to our ambassador program participants. In September, they tested this curriculum in a focus group session where educators referenced even more best practices when engaging youth to improve the course. We expect to begin our youth-based practices in the spring of 2020.

Creative GSI Project

In September, DFC partnered with St. Suzanne Cody Rouge  Community Resource Center and the Detroit Training Center on a depaving opportunity in northwest Detroit. The goal was to remove 7500 sq ft of the existing parking lot to improve onsite stormwater processing and reduce their DWSD Drainage Fee. Deconstruction and the first round of seeding are complete.

Following the spring 2020 landscape installation, DFC will release a publication that breaks down the implementation process of this project.

Community Focused Initiative

In September, LWWC launched a pilot downspout disconnection program, in partnership with the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance and the St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center. Coalition members and ambassadors canvassed the community to encourage residents to combat local flooding by helping them to disconnect their downspouts. This project was coordinated by DFC, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Rouge. We are preparing to relaunch and expand this effort in the spring of 2020.

Local Beautification

In the fall, we proved, once again, the powerful impact of hands-on activities when engaging residents. LWWC partnered with Oak Grove AME Church and Cristo Rey High School to host workshops for this year’s Rain Garden Demonstration Planting Series. During these three-part sessions, nearly 80 Detroit residents learned the basics of land and water stewardship through the hands-on building of a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) Green Credit qualifying rain garden.

Publications

In September, DFC released A Detroit Property Owner’s Guide to Bioretention, a guide designed to educate commercial property owners on how to manage stormwater on non-residential properties and get DWSD drainage credit for it. Throughout the fall, DFC conducted a series of sold-out workshops engaging nearly 55 Detroit property owners. Based on popular demand, DFC will continue these workshops in 2020.

Ambassador Program

This year’s cohort was comprised of 20 dedicated nonprofit organizations and 10 resident advocates. Their engagement goal was to reach at least 10,000 Detroiters and facilitate quality interactions focused on land and water stewardship topics. To date, they’ve surpassed that benchmark by communicating with almost 14,000 people.
Top three nonprofit engagers:

  • Chandler Park Conservancy
  • Michigan Science Center with the Charles H. Wright Museum
  • EcoWorks
Top three residential engagers:

  • Angela Newsom (District 5)
  • Christina Ridella (District District 6)
  • Nealmetria Loper (District 7)

Unique Ideas

The Mini Grant Program provides an opportunity for all ambassadors to fund creative ideas that engage residents in an experiential manner, leading to a deeper understanding of the concepts of land and water stewardship. Over $28,000 was disbursed to fund this year’s work. Review two examples below.
Roots: Detroit
In November, Christian Ridella, Asia Hamilton, and Kristy Allen executed Roots: Detroit, an interactive gallery pop-up event that offered opportunities to learn new community sustainability strategies. Through beautiful artwork, delicious food, and exciting live music, over 80 residents and city visitors were engaged.
MECCA Development Corporation Workforce DevelopmentIn July, the 12-week MECCA Workforce Development project launched to focus on landscaping and GSI in District 4. This project equipped 35 participants with a useful skill set for employment within the residential building trade.

Thank You

The Land + Water WORKS Coalition goals would not be achievable without the dedication of our partners.

Alliance for the Great Lakes
Detroit Future City
Eastside Community Network
Ecoworks
Friends of the Rouge
Greening of Detroit
Keep Growing Detroit
MOSES
Sierra Club
Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision 
Janlynn Miller, City of Detroit Resident