Enhance Detroit’s Green Space, and Your Wellbeing, at the Same Time

Timberland is inviting the community and attendees of SB’19 Detroit to pull on their boots and get their hands dirty on Monday, June 3, as we work to enhance the Lincoln Street Art Park, an outdoor community learning space created by local nonprofit Green Living Science. Click here to register!

Since 2016, Timberland has activated employees, consumers, business partners and community members to green urban spaces. Why would a global footwear and apparel company decide to pull on its boots and dig in the dirt down the block? At the heart of the Timberland brand is the core belief that a greener future is a better future. We work hard to make our products responsibly, protect the outdoors, and serve our communities around the globe. We are also an outdoor lifestyle brand that wants to meet the needs of our consumers.

These days, most of our consumers live in cities, and their notion of the outdoors has changed. No longer does an outdoor adventure require escaping the city to hike forest trails or climb a mountain. Today’s outdoor adventure could be to explore a new open-air market in a different neighborhood, to walk to a favorite café and enjoy the spring weather, or simply to step outside and into the elements.

Whatever the outdoors means to you, Timberland wants you to enjoy more of it. If you live in a city, urban green spaces make that easier. They also bring a host of other benefits for individuals and communities.

Urban green spaces can not only provide places for people to grow their own food, but they can also strengthen the community and increase stability. They help develop community leaders as neighbors step up and get organized to protect and maintain their shared green space. And they can improve community safety as people spend time in the space and get to know — and look out for — one another.

Green spaces also benefit personal wellbeing. The next time you’re in the presence of a tree, take a moment to admire its leaves and branches and breathe the cleaner air in its midst. Then, notice your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level — all of which, studies show, decrease when we’re in the presence of trees, green spaces and nature. In fact, the Japanese practice of forest bathing (shinrin-yoki), which gets people into the presence of trees, has been part of a national health program since 1982.

For years, Timberland has worked to protect the outdoors through our global tree-planting efforts, most notably in Haiti, China and the Dominican Republic. While our US consumers appreciated our efforts, we heard from them that they’d love to see us do something closer to home.

In 2016, Timberland made a five-year, five-city commitment to double its retail footprint by creating or restoring green spaces in those same cities. For our first project, we convened 100 volunteers for two days of service (in June and September) in the Mott Haven community of the Bronx to transform a vacant lot into a thriving community garden and gathering space. In 2017, volunteers in Philadelphia helped to green an abandoned elevated rail track which opened to the public in 2018 as a new park. Last year, we upped our game and hosted greening events in three cities: Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

After hitting our five-city commitment two years early — planting 130,000 square feet of urban space in the process — we set our sights on a new goal: to create or restore 500,000 square feet of green space in US cities by 2023. This has the potential to bring significant environmental benefits (cleaner air, improved drainage, reduced ground temperatures, and more), as well as positive social impacts to our communities. This year, Timberland will revisit New York, Philadelphia and LA, and expand into new cities, including Detroit.

Lincoln Street Art Park | Image credit: Green Living Science

To experience the difference urban greening makes, Timberland and Green Living Science (GLS) — a local nonprofit that aims to transform Detroit by teaching about waste and recycling — invite you to join us for a service experience on Monday, June 3 from 9:00 am–2:30 pm. Be one of 60 volunteers who will give back to Detroit and enhance the Lincoln Street Art Park, GLS’s outdoor community learning space. The park boasts a 40’ recycled shipping container which serves as a classroom for school groups (pre-K to high school) and educates kids about recycling and environmental responsibility through hands-on experiences.

"Green Living Science is excited to partner with Timberland, and add more green space and green infrastructure to the Lincoln Street Art Park," said Natalie Jakub, Executive Director of GLS. "The Lincoln Street Art Park is an evolving art project where the broader community comes to engage and explore. Adding more greenery to this space will elevate the level of environmental education that students and families receive when they visit the space to help us achieve a broader goal of creating a greener Detroit!"

On June 3, volunteers can choose from a variety of tasks to:

  • Prepare a green roof for installation on the shipping container classroom

  • Clean, plant, green and mulch the park

  • Paint a nature-themed mural with local street artist fel3000ft:

Urban green spaces strengthen communities and so does community service. Volunteer to join us and transform the Lincoln Street Art Park on June 3. By doing so, not only will you give something back to Detroit, but you will also get to know your fellow volunteers and enhance your overall conference experience.

"The City of Detroit Office of Sustainability recognizes that trees and green spaces provide real health benefits and protect residents from environmental harms like pollution and heat islands," said Joel Howrani Heeres, Director of the City of Detroit Office of Sustainability. "Over the next five years, we are making a concerted effort to increase both in areas of the city where residents are more vulnerable to these challenges; we can only achieve our ambitious goal through robust public–private partnerships such as this one."

Please join Green Living Science and Timberland as we step outside, work together and make it better on June 3. Click here for more information about the event and to register. We look forward to seeing you there!


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