Field Temple

An effort to see every field as a sacred space and every forest as a place of healing.




Volunteer + Professional









With a dream to bring the healing nature of meditation to the community, Field Temple installed the Forest Patcher Lot Design to turn a blighted overgrown forest patch into a beautiful public space. Using the lot design as a guideline, they created a healthier natural space that provides the community with both field and forest for public use.

Lot Type
Forest Patch
Special Lot Condition
Double Lot
Project Name
Field Temple

Field Temple

An effort to see every field as a sacred space and every forest as a place of healing.


Field Temple



Project Timeline


Project Leader(s):

Sarah Pizzimenti


Volunteer + Professional

Who Else Was Involved:

Arboretum Detroit, neighbors and friends, other members of Field Temple and the family across the street.

Lot Design:

Forest Patcher

Lot Type

Forest Patch

Lot Size

Single Lot

Lot Address

5333 Elmwood

Describe the overall process for transforming your lot.

There was a lot of clean-up, the woods had been used a dumping spot. There was garbage, furniture and concrete that needed to be removed. After the removal we trimmed trees and put down woodchips, created paths, and planted lower canopy trees and native plants. We created and brought in a watering truck, it was a trailer with a big water tote on top that we could fill with a hose and bring to the site. We filled buckets from the truck on site to water the trees and plants individually, then we used something similar to a fire hose (flexible PVC) to water more easily.

Did you customize your lot design? If so, how?

Yes, we added boulders and pathways that were a custom part of the design. But the lot design itself is very open to interpretation, more so than the other FG lot designs.

Is your current project part of a larger plan, goal, or initiative within your community?


Purpose of the Project:

Beautification and clean-up and creating a public space to enjoy

Lessons Learned
Land Acquisition

One lot was bought from a private owner and one lot was bought through the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

Skill Building

I know now how to drive a tractor. I used a trencher for the first time in my life, I don’t encourage anyone to ever use one, it is super hard to use. I learned a lot about new plants and types of trees. I learned about renting dumpsters. The skill of letting people know when you need help, how to engage other people in the process.

Community Engagement

We went to community meetings, both the EFW community meetings and the larger community meetings at Sweet Kingdom Church. We flyered to let the community know about work days and we did the same thing for invitations for parties. We have plans for more signage, there is a walking meditation sign up and the tree identification signs will go up in the spring. There will be public meditation classes that will take place on the land.


There was Chapman Forestry Foundation grant that helped with covering the cost of trees. We also had a party and a Facebook fundraiser to raise money to build a straw bale structure.


So many lessons learned… people need to be really careful about dumpsters, it turned into a huge chasm or money pit. If you go over the allowed weight, they charge you per pound, if its too muddy they charge you for their trip, and they can’t pick up it because of ground or weather conditions, you get charged for having it for extra time. They may or may not place it where you want it and they aren’t good at taking responsibility for their behavior. I think the City should provide the dumpsters because the illegal dumping happened when it was City land and it is really to the benefit of the city to get this land cleaned up. I think the City could offer it as a service: dumpsters for people trying to get land cleaned up. I think it would be great if there could be watering trucks that were filled by gutters/downspouts from large buildings – where totes could be filled from runoff and it could travel to people needing water for their land-based projects. Built into system for land-based project implementation, a couple water totes/trucks.

What was challenging about this process, and how did you adapt?

It was really hard to get the forest floor cleaned up, even after we got the bulk of it cleaned up, it seemed that there was still stuff coming out of the ground – clothes, glass, etc. we adapted by using the massive amount of wood chips that the electric company created during power line tree trimming, and put about a foot of wood chips down.

It was super hard to get the trash out of there, a lot of it was concrete and it was heavy and gross and a lot of it. We adapted by bringing in machines, we were fortunate to have access to heavy machines through neighbors and friends. We used two 40’ dumpsters and one 15’ concrete dumpster in total.

What is the maintenance plan for this project after its first year?

Keep maintaining it. We use the space, so we continue to maintain it so it is a usable and beautiful space. It is maintained by the community and the members of Field Temple. Until we have a structure that is capturing stormwater, we will continue to use the water truck system. We water neighbor projects together so having a schedule is helpful along with shared responsibility.