LAKELAND, Fla. – Lou Shepherd, Sr. Forester- Even a pandemic cannot curtail the giving spirit and strengthening of Polk county communities. At least when you are sheltering in place, you can go outside and enjoy the trees.
This fall, both the City of Ft. Meade and the Town of Lake Hamilton received tree planting assistance grants offered by the USDA Forest Service, and implemented by the Florida Forest Service under their Urban and Community Forestry program to improve tree canopy, biodiversity and resiliency.
Ft. Meade will concentrate on increasing tree canopy in their parks. Lake Hamilton plans to plant trees for park improvement and public areas associated with its redesigned police station.
The Town of Dundee is one of a growing number of Polk county municipalities receiving special recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA . Dundee’s efforts highlight its community-wide effort to improve our natural environment.
It is widely known trees provide food, protection, and homes for many mammals and birds. Trees make oxygen we need to breath. A good tree canopy also has proven positive impacts on mental health and fitness. It creates feelings of relaxation and well-being by reducing stress while encouraging outdoor activity.
These municipalities recognize community forestry makes a difference in our lives. Growing a healthy municipal forest located where we live, and work is essential to smart growth and sustainability.