4. Solving Urban Environmental Challenges

As an industrial region, southeastern Michigan faces a barrage of difficult environmental challenges: soil and water contamination, air pollution and its consequences for public health, and suburban sprawl.

In southwestern Detroit, students and faculty work closely with community groups in an effort to map and learn about toxic materials found in neighborhoods and playgrounds. In nearby urban brownfields, University of Michigan-Dearborn faculty and students are researching and testing native Michigan plants that extract harmful substances from the soil.

In addition, the university is a leading participant in the Rouge Gateway Partnership, a coalition of industry, municipalities, and educational and cultural institutions that are revitalizing the Rouge River and its watershed. Cleaner water, the return of fish and wildlife, and sustainable development along the Rouge banks are among the most visible results.

By teaching young people about environmental issues, what is being done and how they can make a difference, UM-Dearborn is laying the groundwork for a cleaner and healthier world for future generations. The Environmental Interpretive Center hosts visits by more than 20,000 school children every year.