With the help of some dedicated volunteers, the areas’ first Microforest was planted at the Celery Fields on Saturday, October 31st. Carefully orchestrated with Covid-19 protocols including masks and social distancing, the volunteers worked in shifts to plant the small trees, bushes and ground cover that will become the Microforest. A canopy layer of larger trees was professionally installed a few days before the volunteer event.

You’ll remember from our earlier articles on the project that Microforests are unique with their small, dense plantings that grow 100 times faster, become 30 percent denser and 100 times more biodiverse than conventional forests. The objective of this one third acre Microforest is to help absorb and filter stormwater from the site and provide habitat that will support species of birds, mammals and pollinators that no longer live here because of the ongoing urban development in the region. The Microforest also takes in and sequesters significant amounts of carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and demonstrating that afforestation is an important strategy to help mitigate climate change.

Some of the plantings in the Microforest include Live Oak, Southern Magnolia, Red Bay, Yaupon Hollie and Sugarberry.

This innovative environmental project was developed by the Sarasota Urban ReForesters (SURF), an active partnership with the Florida Veterans For Common Sense Foundation, the Sarasota Bay Rotary Club, the Florida Native Plant Society and START in cooperation with the Audubon Society and the Sarasota County Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST).

The next time you visit the Celery Fields you’ll find the Microforest just west of the large mound near the parking lot. It has been designed with a center pathway that as the forest matures and grows will provide a sheltered entrance to the Microforest for contemplation and a close-up view of nature in action.

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