U-Haul and our customers are sowing more than trees. Since 2007 our partnership with The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero® program has offered customers an opportunity to donate $3, $5 or $10 at checkout to plant trees and help offset their moving-related emissions. 100% of customer contributions and U-Haul matched funds are forwarded to the Go Zero program. To date, more than one million U-Haul customers have elected to support Go Zero, raising funds to plant 400,000 native trees on behalf of Go Zero and national wildlife refuges.
Cities need trees too
Supporting national forests is important, but cities need trees too. In 2013 U-Haul and The Conservation Fund expanded the Go Zero partnership to include urban park restoration and green economic development. After careful consideration, the first urban project under the program was in Detroit, Michigan. Leveraging funds with the expertise and coordination efforts of a highly regarded local partner, The Greening of Detroit, 1,600 trees were planted in Detroit’s Rouge Park. Rouge Park is the only remaining riparian forest in Detroit and is home to a variety of wildlife and native prairie land. Four miles of the Rouge River makes its way through the park, encompassing 48 municipalities, and directly affecting approximately 1.5 million individuals.
Park restoration activities in Detroit were complemented by the Growing Detroit’s Green Economy Fund, established by U-Haul and The Conservation Fund, to provide small grants to microenterprises and organizations whose business models are tied directly to the sustainable use of natural resources, with a preference for urban agriculture, community gardens, and urban forestry. The Greening of Detroit’s Urban Agricultural Adult Apprenticeship program was the first recipient of the Green Economy Fund. Apprenticeship participants received training on the principles of urban organic farming as they helped to manage Greening’s urban farm sites and contributed to other growing programs. This formal education with hands-on farm work and community service projects allowed participants to learn vital skills needed to run their own successful farms within the city while simultaneously strengthening Detroit’s food system.
Parks with Purpose
With support from our generous customers, the Detroit Rouge River project will be the first of many Parks with Purpose projects that U-Haul collaborates with The Conservation Fund. These projects allow under-served communities to reap many long-term benefits from the seeds sown in trees, knowledge and experience. Learn more about the Detroit Rouge River project and other Parks with Purpose projects at uhaul.com and conservationfund.org.
Where would you like to see the next urban planting project?