Between August 2014 and May 2017, Dr. Carmichael (founder of Fair Forests) helped the non-profit organization The Greening of Detroit to understand why 25% of Detroit residents eligible to receive a free street tree between 2011-2014 chose to decline this offer. Dr. Carmichael analyzed existing data on residents’ responses to tree planting collected by The Greening of Detroit and subsequently crafted and implemented a research project to understand the root cause of these “no-tree requests” through in-depth interviews and focus groups with both residents and the organization’s staff. The results showed that African American residents resisted this program due to a lack of decision-making involvement in the tree-planting process--from species selection to planting locations and maintenance protocols. A history of marginalization from environmental decision-making in the city contributed to residents’ desire for greater involvement in the street tree-planting program. Recommendations for programmatic changes were presented in-person to The Greening of Detroit’s staff and later published in two academic journal articles and a research brief for other organizations to learn from (see Resources page).
From February-June 2013, Dr. Carmichael (founder of Fair Forests) conducted interviews with 20 key staff at 17 organizations and companies that could potentially partner with Oakland County Parks and Recreation to develop an urban outdoor recreation center. This study identified positive outcomes each partner anticipated from participating in this collaborative venture, and ways that each organization could contribute to the recreation center’s success. For example, several organizations could provide access to training and equipment for outdoor activities but expressed the need to better engage diverse groups in outdoor activities. Groups that serve children from low-income families were excited at the prospect of a recreation center nearby, but required partners that could help cover costs to participate. Recommendations to enhance collaborative outcomes were presented at conferences and published in an academic journal article and a report for Oakland County Parks and Recreation (see Resources page).
The Minnesota STSC is the largest annual state urban forestry conference in the country, attended by over 1,300 participants in 2019. In March 2019, Dr. Carmichael gave two presentations at the short course to describe findings from her research in Detroit, Michigan on barriers to engaging underrepresented city residents in urban tree-planting programs.
These presentations included interactive elements that guided participants through a series of questions and dialogue to reflect on their work and identify opportunities to improve engagement of diverse groups in their urban forestry and greening efforts. Participants also walked away with an understanding of how to measure the effectiveness of their outreach efforts with residents of a range of socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.
From August 2017 to July 2019, Dr. Carmichael (founder of Fair Forests) interviewed residents of varying income levels, ages, and racial backgrounds in three U.S. localities to understand the health impacts they have experienced due to climate change, including extreme events like increased wildfires and flooding from more heavy rainfall. These communities included Trinity County, California; Waterbury, Vermont; and Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Carmichael has presented the results to public health professionals across the country to mobilize greater action to reduce the health impacts of climate change, particularly among those who are most impacted due to their income, race, or existing health conditions. Deliverables also included two academic journal articles and Executive Summaries of results (see Resources page). This research was also covered in CityLab: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-18/why-flood-victims-blame-the-city-not-the-climate
In May 2019, Dr. Carmichael (founder of Fair Forests), trained 15 grassroots organization leaders in the metropolitan Washington DC area in key concepts and methods to measure their success in advancing environmental justice. Through presentations and facilitated activities and dialogue, this workshop increased capacity of grassroots organizations to effectively communicate their impact to funders and secure a reliable stream of funding to sustain their work to achieve social and environmental outcomes in underrepresented communities.
"American Forests is proud to have followed through on many of Dr. Christine Carmichael’s thoughtful recommendations from her study through our place-based partnerships work and through Vibrant Cities Lab, our online tool for planning resilient urban forests."
--Sarah Anderson, Senior Manager of Tree Equity Programs, American Forests
"Dr. Carmichael hit a home run with her presentations at the 2019 Minnesota Shade Tree Short Course! Maybe two or three home runs. Her evaluation score was 3.53/4.0, an atmosphere rarely entered by any of our session speakers."
--Gary Johnson, Chair, Minnesota Shade Tree Short Course
"At ecoLatinos, we have had the good fortune of attending one of Dr. Carmichael's trainings and to have received her professional support in grant writing and training development. She listens and shares knowledgeable input. Dr. Carmichael is a great asset. We are lucky to work with her."
--Ruby Stemmle, CEO, ecoLatinos
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