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DTE Energy Foundation Partners with Sanilac County, ReLeaf Michigan to plant Trees

Recently, the DTE Energy Foundation launched a $250,000 expanded tree planting program, which kicked off on Arbor Day with a series of planting initiatives throughout the 11 counties in their electric service territory.  DTE continued its tree planting activities on May 21, by partnering with Sanilac County, as well as nonprofit partner, ReLeaf Michigan, to plant eight- to 10-foot trees at Sanilac County’s Evergreen Park for generations to come.

Two Northwood Maples and three Fall Fiesta Sugar Maples were planted in an area scheduled to house a children’s playground and gazebo for various events.  “The trees, which will grow to be 50 – 75 feet tall will provide much needed relief from the sun as it is always 10 degrees cooler in the shade,” said Melinda Jones, Executive Director of ReLeaf Michigan.  The trees were purchased from Hilltop Nursery in Bad Axe as ReLeaf Michigan tries to support local businesses whenever possible.  Kathy Dorman, Sanilac County Administrator, and Trudy Nicol, Sanilac County Treasurer were present for the planting.  Ms. Dorman thanked Ron Chriss, DTE Regional Manager for the donation of trees.  Ron Chriss stressed the importance to the environment of planting trees and stated that the trees selected were “an excellent example of choosing the right type of trees for the right location”.  Roger Ballard, Board Chair of Sanilac County Parks, Mike Brunke, Park Manager, DTE CareCorp members, and volunteers from Kappen Tree Service assisted in the planting with ReLeaf Michigan.  ReLeaf Michigan is a statewide non-profit tree organization which since 1987 has worked with over 350 communities throughout Michigan to plant now over 29,000 large size trees. 

Throughout the course of the remaining plantings across southeast Michigan, which will be complete by the beginning of June, more than 100 volunteers will assist with the events, and help educate the public about the benefit of trees and planting far enough from power lines.

The tree plantings were planned in conjunction with the DTE Energy Foundation’s tree-planting grant program, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s Urban and Community Forestry program.  The Foundation is investing $175,000 in matching grants of up to $4,000 each, to be awarded to local units of government, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and schools within DTE’s service territory through an application process (

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