Keep Genesee County Beautiful (KGCB) in Flint, Michigan, is using a $5,000 Keep America Beautiful/UPS Community Tree & Recovery Tree Planting Grant to plant 35 native trees in five Flint parks. The rejuvenation of Flint’s park system will enable greater social activism and engagement, generate renewed interest in City residency, and strengthen environmental and public health.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s grant is one of 31 Keep America Beautiful affiliate projects across the county that are being funded by The UPS Foundation to help reduce levels of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions through strategic plantings; emphasize the importance of native trees; or plant fruit trees to produce fruit for local consumption. Post-Recovery Tree Planting grants are given to affiliates whose communities have lost a significant number of trees as a result of natural disasters.

This project is anticipated to impact the community in multiple ways. First, completion will strengthen the connection between the residents of the City of Flint and its local parks. Working with the Genesee County Parks & Recreation Commission, KGCB will increase the green space in local parks to help heighten the well-being of these areas.

In addition, people see trees as an environmental indicator of a community’s health and they also attract quality outdoor programming opportunities that engage citizens. As a result, areas with tree plantings have reduced crime rates and increased property values.

Finally, this project will serve to fulfill the requirements of being a Tree City USA, a credential developed by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This accreditation helps to bring a positive light back to Flint and again shows the community that good things are happening.