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  • Writer's pictureYouth Energy Squad

How Trees Can Help Prevent Flooding


For many in Detroit, flooding is a common experience. As the city of Detroit’s website puts it, “Detroit regularly faces the hazards of flooding. Flooding can happen anytime from the spring through the fall—even winter if warmer than usual temperatures lead to rain rather than snowfall.” Flooding commonly occurs when there is too much precipitation for the stormwater system to handle, causing storm drains to overflow, or sewage to back up into people's homes. Heavy rain or snowmelt can also cause flooding by raising the water level of rivers, and other bodies of water. Flooding is never ideal, but in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, flooding now poses an increased public health risk. In this activity, we will take a look at flooding in Detroit, and the role trees can play in preventing floods.


Goals: Age Group: 6-12

  • Learn about ways trees can help with flooding

  • Critically think about the causes and impacts of flooding in Detroit

Supplies: Time: 30-40 minutes

  • Computer / Internet Access

  • Paper and writing utensil



Take some time to read the following two articles.

Then watch this short video showing the difference between how water goes through soil with and without trees.

When you are done, take some time to read and answer the reference questions below.


Reflection Questions

  • Have you experienced flooding before? Think about your home, and your community.

  • In what ways can trees reduce the severity of flooding? Make a list using paper and a writing utensil.

  • Have you ever seen flooding around a storm drain? Why might this happen, and how could trees help with this?

  • Why will rainwater reach a river or drain faster when it rains on concrete vs a yard with trees?

  • Besides reducing the amount and speed that water gets into waterways, how else could trees help with the quality of water?

  • Do you feel like more trees around areas that flood is realistic in Detroit? Why or why not?

To learn more about how trees impact both our health and the environment check out our activity on the importance of trees:

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