Getting to the Green: The Beautification of our Detroit-Hamtramck Plant

Getting to the Green: The Beautification of our Detroit-Hamtramck Plant

With some urging from a Hamtramck resident, GM and the Greening of Detroit set out to plant new trees to replace those destroyed by the emerald ash borer.

Greening of Detroit and GM volunteers work to replace trees destroyed by emerald ash borer.

Volunteers from GM and Greening of Detroit pose with the trees they planted to replace those destroyed by emerald ash borer.

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Friday, December 5, 2014 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: GM Resource Preservation


For the past 11 years, Hamtramck, Mich. resident Rebecca Savage has passed the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant on her way to work downtown. A few years ago, she began to notice the trees that once grew out of small lots along the sidewalk had begun to disappear.

Savage, a historic preservation lead at Kraemer Design Group and a proud member of the Hamtramck community, wanted to do something about it, so she expressed her concern for the disappearing trees to members of GM’s environmental team at the plant.

The Detroit-Hamtramck facility was once surrounded by trees. But when the emerald ash borer invaded Michigan in 2002, this facility, along with many other Michigan businesses and neighborhoods, had to remove ash trees to prevent the spread of this destructive exotic beetle.

Savage’s concern was shared with Pamela Jamieson, an environmental engineer at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility. Jamieson reached out to The Greening of Detroit, a non-profit agency devoted to improving Detroit’s ecosystem. Jamieson and other GM employees have volunteered with the Greening of the Detroit over the years, and she hoped this was a project the group might also support.

To Jamieson’s surprise, the Greening of Detroit had a grant set up specifically for the replacement of ash trees, and the partners got to work.

Jamieson worked with Sal Hensen of the Greening of Detroit to execute the project. Eighty volunteers on two different days helped plant 75 new trees at the facility.

Typically, when construction at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly requires the removal of trees, all of the lost trees are replaced.  But since the emerald ash borer had presented a unique case, a plan had never been established to replace the affected trees.

The space designated for the trees presented a different problem. The tree pits are surrounded by concrete and the team wanted to be sure the new trees would withstand the elements. The Greening of Detroit chose new trees, including the Accolade Elm, Tulip Tree, Eastern Hackberry, Ironwood, Frontier Elm, Bur Oak and male Ginko tree, based on these factors. The project was completed this fall.

“Volunteers from hourly and salaried divisions of Detroit-Hamtramck as well as our business partners from Aramark, MPS, PPG and Ideal, helped to beautify the community where we all work,” said Jamieson. “This experience also proved that teamwork and relationships inside the business and in the community are vital to everything we do at GM.”


CATEGORY: Environment