Between 2018 and 2021, former EIC Director David Susko and Program Assistant Dale Browne were instrumental in the design and installation of school gardens at 16 public schools in Dearborn as part of the D-SHINES Project. The D-SHINES (Dearborn SHINES for Healthy Kids!) project was a collaboration between Wayne State University, UM-Dearborn, Healthy Dearborn, ACCESS, and the National Kidney Foundation. It was supported by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.
The goal was to provide in-place experiential learning on topics like nutrition and ecology. While researchers at Wayne State University developed grade-appropriate curriculum and after-school resources, the EIC coordinated the building of vegetable and pollinator gardens surrounded by outdoor classroom spaces, provided short lessons on gardening basics, and organized volunteer days to build and maintain these spaces.
In 2022, D-SHINES partnered with the PolliNation Project to install insect hotels at these same schools to include education and experience with native pollinators. Currently, Dearborn Public Schools have taken the D-SHINES project a step further with the Dearborn Green Schoolyards initiative, "to continue to conserve environmental resources and to educate students and the community through nature-based learning