By: Brad Buck
As Florida Arbor Day approaches on Jan. 20, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and research faculty are holding special commemorations and studying how to ensure trees help our environment and economy.
“Arbor Day is a great time for everyone to be reminded of the importance of trees and forests in their everyday lives and to contribute to the approximately 70 million trees that are planted each year in Florida for reforestation,” said Tim Martin, professor and co-interim director of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation.
“Wood harvested from Florida’s forests is the largest agricultural commodity in the state,” Martin said. “But these forests provide much more than just paper and boards. Clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity are a just a few of the important benefits that forests provide for us all.”
In fact, UF/IFAS researchers have calculated that a typical acre of Florida forest provides more than $5,000 of services to the state’s residents each year, with just 7 percent of that value from timber, he said.
In honor of Arbor Day, several UF/IFAS Extension county offices statewide are planning celebrations. Here are some:
• From 10 a.m. to noon, Jan. 18, learn the history of Arbor Day, how to correctly plant trees and the benefits of planting trees at the UF/IFAS Extension Duval County office. Also, discover some of the best trees for northeast Florida. Call Sarah at 904-255-7450 to register. The cost is $5. Seedlings of Basswood, Blackgum, redbud and fringe trees will be provided.
• The Lake Soil & Water Conservation District is giving away bare-root tree seedlings at 11 a.m. Jan. 19, at the UF/IFAS Extension Lake County Discovery Gardens Classroom, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares, Florida. Available trees will include Dahoon Holly, Chickasaw Plum, Redbud, Green Ash and Slash Pine.
• UF/IFAS Extension Walton County Master Gardeners will hold their annual tree sale at the county fairgrounds, from 9 a.m. to noon, Jan. 21, at 790 N. 9th St. (Highway 83) in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Fruit, shade and ornamental trees will be available at bargain prices. In addition, shrubs, vines and berry plants will be sold. A list of plants which will be offered is available on the web site http://walton.ifas.ufl.edu.
• UF/IFAS Extension Polk County is working with the city of Winter Haven on a Florida Arbor Day Celebration. The event will be at Central Park in Winter Haven, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 18.
To find out more about Arbor Day activities in your area, click on: http://bit.ly/1Q8wguw.
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