This past week, the Greening of Detroit
and Osborn Neighborhood Alliance
have partnered together to repurpose four vacant lots into an Outdoor Education Center. The project was made possible through funding by Bank of America and American Forests.
The Outdoor Education Center is now located at the corner of Mapleridge and Schoenherr streets in the Osborn neighborhood on the city's eastside. From May 4 through May 7, volunteers from the aforementioned organizations as well as from the neighborhood and its schools have worked to install the natural ecosystems that make up the Outdoor Education Center and its grounds.
The education center presents a number of opportunities for Osborn and its residents. "The project allows residents to use the land in a productive way, giving them a place to congregate, play, and use," says Tiffany Douglas, market manager for Bank of America.
It also provides learning opportunities to neighborhood youth. The Greening of Detroit is offering up to 20 environmental education courses at the center in coordination with Detroit Public Schools.
It will also hopefully spark the imagination of area youth as they decide on possible career paths.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service both recognize that there's an under-representation of minorities among their ranks," says Dean Hay, The Greening of Detroit's director of green infrastructure. "That under-representation has a lot to do with minority children's lack of access to outdoor and wildlife activities. The outdoor center will get them involved with hands-on experience."
In addition to education programming, the grounds will provide rest and recreation opportunities for the neighborhood, including the installation of playscapes, benches, shade trees, and plants with edible fruits.
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