press releases

A Celebration for The Greening of Detroit’s 20th Anniversary

Detroit, MI — September 15, 2009

Iron Chef Michael Symon and a few of his famous friends are gathering together on September 17, 2009, to kick-off a year-long celebration honoring The Greening of Detroit. With major underwriting provided by Esurance and the DTE Energy Foundation, The Greening of Detroit 20th Anniversary Gala fundraiser will be one of a number of exciting events The Greening has planned for 2009–2010.

Chef Symon, owner of Detroit's Roast restaurant at the Book Cadillac Hotel, has graciously opened his doors to host the gala and has invited world-renowned celebrity chefs Traci Des Jardins, Mary Sue Milliken, Marc Vetri, and Takashi Yagihashi to join him in preparing a rare feast featuring locally grown and raised food. Symon is a regular on the Food Network and a winner of the network's Iron Chef competition.

"We're so proud to support The Greening's 20th anniversary celebration. Although we're an online auto insurance company, we understand the importance of creating sustainable spaces in the communities where our policyholders live and work. From planting trees to growing local foods to fostering environmental stewardship in adults and children, our work with The Greening of Detroit continues to be a recipe for success," stated Joann Lee, Esurance's community relations manager.

Karla Hall, vice president of the DTE Energy Foundation noted, "The DTE Energy Foundation is deeply committed to protecting the environment, which is why we believe so strongly in The Greening of Detroit. Over the past 20 years, it truly has made our community a cleaner, greener place. We've been a steadfast supporter of The Greening of Detroit from the beginning and we are very pleased to sponsor the gala celebration of this important milestone."

Local spirits and Michigan beer and wine from Black Star Farms, Brys Estate, L. Mawby, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, and Psenkova will also be featured, and entertainment will be provided by The Royal Garden Trio. For more information regarding the 20th Anniversary Celebration visit or become a fan of The Greening on Facebook.

Additional sponsors of The Greening of Detroit's 20th Anniversary Celebration include Team Detroit, Avanti Press, Inc., Tepel Brothers Printing and Royal Envelope LTD.

Event Honorary Co-Chairs include The Greening's past and current chairs: Elizabeth Gordon Sachs, E. Eleanor Marsh, Lois J. Warden, James M. Connelly, and Reuben Munday.

"We invite everyone to join us for a fun evening as we celebrate the use of locally grown food and recognize The Greening's progress toward a brighter, greener future," said The Greening of Detroit's President, Rebecca Salminen Witt. "Through this celebration, The Greening of Detroit hopes to raise much needed support to continue its work of reforesting Detroit, providing needed green spaces, including reclaimed vacant lots and community gardens and educating children about the environment."

This year-long celebration will bring together community partners, key leaders, farmers, tree enthusiasts, environmentalists, and foodies from throughout the nation to commemorate The Greening's innovative work while supporting groundbreaking projects focused on building a greener, healthier, and more sustainable urban environment throughout Detroit.

Throughout 2009–2010, The Greening will host monthly events highlighting tree planting efforts, including:

  • The full reforestation of Jefferson Avenue from Alter Road all the way to Downtown Detroit
  • Educational symposiums focusing on "place-based" education practices
  • And the opening of The Greening's new Market Garden at the Eastern Market and Meyer's Nursery in Rouge Park

The 20th Anniversary celebration will end with a closing event on September 25, 2010, at Eastern Market.

The Greening of Detroit works to grow a "greener" Detroit through planting and educational programs, environmental leadership, advocacy, and building community capacity.

About Esurance®

Esurance, a subsidiary of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM), provides personal car insurance direct to consumers online and through select online agents. Because of Esurance's virtually paperless online customer experience, Esurance car insurance customers have saved thousands of trees since the company's inception. As of the end of the first quarter 2009, Esurance has also helped plant and maintain over 76,000 trees by supporting a variety of urban reforestation programs. Esurance is also committed to safeguarding the environment through its own operational practices, including a fleet of hybrid claims vehicles and investment in renewable energy sources to offset the electricity used in each of its permanent office locations. For more information about Esurance's green initiatives, visit


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