From the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service announce today the planting of more than 2 million new trees on more than 3,000 acres of state forests this year. The Florida Forest Service also reminds citizens about the importance of trees in recognition of Florida’s Arbor Day, which is being celebrated tomorrow with events, tree plantings, seedling giveaways and more.
“We are fortunate that Florida has an abundance and large variety of trees across the state, but we shouldn’t take our trees for granted,” Commissioner Putnam said. “We are excited to announce that we will be planting 2 million trees this year as we continue to educate Floridians about the importance of our natural resources.”
Florida’s Arbor Day is always celebrated on the third Friday in January, making Florida the first state celebration in the country. The Arbor Day Foundation recently donated more than $100,500 to replant more than 500,000 trees in Florida this year, bringing the statewide total to 2.1 million. Since 2009, the Arbor Day Foundation has contributed approximately $610,000 toward reforestation efforts on Florida state forests. Since 2001, the Florida Forest Service has reforested more than 52,000 acres.
“Arbor Day is all about celebrating the countless ways trees benefit our lives,” said State Forester Jim Karels. “Trees moderate temperature extremes, reduce storm water runoff, absorb air pollutants and create a more pleasant environment.”
Several citizen groups, local governments and non-profit organizations are working together to plant more trees in areas of the state where they are in decline. For example, the City of Miami has set a goal of planting 10,000 trees each year for the next 10 years.
Florida communities can take advantage of favorable weather for tree planting during this time of year. Some communities combine their Arbor Day celebrations with other events, such as local seafood festivals or craft fairs.
Florida Forest Service foresters participate in these efforts throughout the state by helping with tree planting projects, tree seedling giveaways and forestry education events. To participate in a local event, contact your local Florida Forest Service field unit office. To learn more about how you can contribute to reforestation efforts in Florida, visit the Friends of Florida State Forests at www.FloridaStateForests.org.
The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. For more information about the Florida Forest Service, go to www.FloridaForestService.com.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.