A student-led sustainability-focused organization called the Detroit Biodiversity Network (DBN) has won a 2019 Ford College Community Challenge Award. The award was granted by the Ford Fund to allow the DBN to carry out and expand its Sustainable Landscape Collaborative program in partnership with a community-based non-profit organization called Detroit Future City (DFC).
The Ford Fund gave the DBN a one-year award of $25,000. The organization will use the money granted by the Ford Fund to upgrade greenhouses and train Wayne State University students from diverse backgrounds as DBN Fellows.
The training will see the students gain expertise in native plant propagation, sustainable landscape practices, green stormwater infrastructure design, and management. DBN Fellows will then work closely with community partners in the DFC Working with Lots program.
That program provides nearly $100,000 in grants annually to help Detroiters implement sustainable lot designs from the organization’s “Field Guide to Working with Lots” instructional book. The idea is for the DBN Fellows to assist the DFC grantees in growing native plants for their projects and providing site design, installation, and technical assistant to partners and volunteers.
Detroit is subject to chronic flooding; the college says that a green stormwater infrastructure, such as bioswales and rain gardens, can help minimize the risk of chronic disease in the area by diverting stormwater from the combined sewer system to decrease flooding. The school says that chronic flooding will only become worse due to the effects of global warming. The Ford Fund recently gave the Detroit Youth Choir members each $1,000 scholarships and gave the choir a Transit van to help them get around.