Pelican Island Audubon Society, in partnership with the Environmental Learning Center and Every Dream has a Price, has planted six trees (Southern Red Cedar, Buttonwood, and four Live Oak trees) at two homeless shelters in Gifford. This is the first planting of a new project, ‘Trees for Life,’ to plant 100,000 native and fruit trees in Indian River County in 10 to 15 years. Our initial goal is to plant 5,000 in the next two years.
Why plant trees? Our planet and our county are in dire environmental trouble, our planet from global warming, and our county from toxic algae and pollution damage impacting our economy and health.
Our Trees for Life project, a broad community partnership with 22 organizations including the County’s Health Dept. and Extension Service, will restore native tree coverage to reforest and re-green our neighborhoods, reinvigorate street trees and parks, and transform local landscapes from predominantly grass and lawns to native vegetation. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, cool cities by 6-8 degrees, and clean surface waters and save homeowners money. “If everyone in the world (8 billion!) planted one tree, we could significantly reduce climate change. Let’s start in our yard!” according to PIAS President Dr. Richard Baker.
Pelican Island Audubon has 100 Live Oak Trees ready to plant. Trees will be free, but to get one, residents must take a brief course on how to plant, water, and care for a tree and sign a contract to look after it for one year. A GPS map with the location showing for each tree planted will show our progress. “If every adult in our county planted one tree, we’d surpass our goal and benefit our County. It is essential that we work together to improve our health and quality of life,” Dr. Baker said.
For residents interested in planting a tree, they should contact Pelican Island Audubon Society, 772-567-3520 or email piaudubon@yahoo. com.