The Detroit Conservation Leadership Corps (DCLC) is a partnership program operated by the Student Conservation Association, The Greening of Detroit, and Johnson Controls. 2009 was the second year of the partnership and the program was able to employ 110 crew members and 22 crew leaders.
Funding for the program is provided by Johnson Controls, the founding sponsor, with additional support provided by: Chase, Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative, Walmart Foundation, SAP America, Masco, and Cintas.
The Detroit Conservation Leadership Corps are crews of high-school students who spend six weeks during the summer completing vital conservation projects to preserve Detroit’s urban tree population and improve access to and preservation of Detroit parks. During the program, members complete hands-on conservation projects, build job skills, develop a strong work ethic and gain a personal sense of stewardship for the environment. But most importantly, the young people develop into leaders and leave with a sense of accomplishment and pride for their communities. 2009 also saw the launch of the CLC internship program for returning crew members who took the next step in leadership and conservation.
The 2009 DCLC program collaborated with the Detroit Recreation Department, Michigan Mountain Bike Association, Friends of the Rouge, Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Friends of Detroit/Tri-County, and others to complete all the hands on projects throughout the summer. DCLC crews have worked in public parks such as: Belle Isle, Rouge Park, Conner Playfield, Patton Park, and more. Significant accomplishments of the DCLC were:
- Built ¼ mile of new trail and improved 2½ miles of existing trail in Rouge Park constructing drainage dips, retaining walls, trail borders, native timber benches, and a turnpike.
- Planted 449 new trees and regularly watered and pruned over 1,000 young trees.
- Logged over 21,000 hours of work dedicated to improving Detroit’s green spaces.
- Restored habitat by removing invasive plant species in multiple parks such as Phragmites, Garlic Mustard, White Clover, and Buckthorn.
- Built multiple outdoor learning spaces including a greenhouse at Burton International Elementary and an outdoor classroom at Barbara Jordan Elementary.
- Provided energy education and weatherization services to 74 low-income households.
“The try-outs seem like so long ago. There were so many people and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it, but it has been worth it.”
Crew Member Debora Vannoy