Happy Earth Day, Oakland County!

Girl drawing earth with chalk on sidewalk

Happy Earth Day! Oakland County seeks to protect the environment, reduce carbon pollution, keep our water and lakes safe, and conserve natural resources. Earth Day should not just be celebrated on April 22 — it should be an everyday fight for the climate.

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter and Oakland County Environmental Sustainability Officer Erin Quetell recently sat down at the Oakland County International Airport, the first general aviation terminal in the United States to be LEED certified, to chat about:

  • What is happening on our county government campus to work toward a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, and county-wide by 2050.
  • What we can do every day to help our environment, our neighborhoods, and our communities.
  • How the environmental sustainability objectives connect with the other goals of the county.

Oakland County Environmental Sustainability Officer Erin Quetell

By appointing Erin Quetell as the county’s first Environmental Sustainability Officer, we’re starting to put our environmental sustainability commitment into measurable actions to combat the devastating effects of climate change.

Quetell brings a wealth of valuable experience to the role. She has served as the environmental sustainability planner for the City of Ferndale, where she was responsible for integrating the social, financial, and environmental sustainability perspectives and best practices into everyday city operations.

Some of her notable projects include the first city-owned solar array, full LED streetlight conversion, a stormwater infrastructure vulnerability assessment, downtown waste management plan, greenhouse gas emission inventory, and completing the Ferndale Moves mobility plan update.

She also implemented a variety of policies in the city including Electric Vehicle (EV) requirements for new development including multifamily and single-family homes, fleet management to transition to hybrid and electric fleet vehicles, creating a revolving energy fund, and urban tree protection and expansion.

Five-year Roadmap

Always and in all ways, Oakland County is moving forward. Working with our partners in the community, Oakland County listens, sets goals, measures performance, and works as a team to solve problems and deliver quality public services to residents, businesses, and communities. Environmental sustainability is one of those goals.

To measure progress toward our Environmental Sustainability goal, we will:

  • Protect Our Drinking Water, as measured by the number of water service lines that may contain lead.
  • Reduce County Government Emissions and Energy Use, as measured by the CO2 emissions from energy consumption.
  • Promote Cleaner Transportation Alternatives, as measured by the percentage of residents commuting to work other than in a single occupancy vehicle.

Click here to view the data associated with these objectives.

USGBC’s 2022 LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program

The U.S. Green Building Council, developers of the LEED green building rating system, has selected Oakland County as one of 15 cities and counties nationwide to participate in the 2022 LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program.

LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program
Courtesy of USGBC

This program brings together diverse local governments from around the country to support communities seeking LEED certification. The program provides networking opportunities, technical assistance, and access to educational resources.

“Ensuring our county government campus is operating in the most energy efficient and environmentally sound manner is the right thing to do and a top priority. Getting this LEED certification is one more important step toward our goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and contributing to a cleaner, healthier county for future generations.”

-Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter

Today, more than 130 cities and communities have achieved LEED certification. LEED provides a framework for local governments to address energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon. In addition to environmental factors, the rating system considers social and economic indicators, such as health, equity, education, and prosperity.

OAKSTEM Tree Planting Grant Program

An Earth Day tree planting in Royal Oak Township will help support stormwater management in the George W. Kuhn Drainage District (GWK) which serves 14 Oakland County communities, all of which have encountered significant flooding during heavy rains in recent years.

Oakland County will plant five trees donated by the Detroit Zoo in Mack-Rowe Park as part of the OAKSTEM tree planting grant program initiated by Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, and the Board of Commissioners in 2021.

OAKSTEM is a matching grant program for GWK communities in partnership with the Oakland County Department of Economic Development, Water Resources Commissioner, and Board of Commissioners which contributed $100,000, $50,000, and $50,000, respectively. Its purpose is to increase the tree canopy and decrease the surface area which is impervious to rain in communities that make up the GWK, which has among the highest percentage of impervious surface area in Oakland County.

Participate in an Earth Day Event Near You

Many Oakland County cities, villages, and townships are hosting Earth Day events to help ensure a safe, healthy and clean environment. Use our list to observe Earth Day and participate in an event near you, then continue to protect and preserve our environment each and every day.


Follow along with Oakland County on FacebookInstagramLinkedInPinterest, Twitter, and YouTube using #OaklandCounty, or visit our website for news and events year-round.

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