Trees to be planted today at Nathan Benderson Park

Bald Cypress and Florida Red Flame Maple trees were planted at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida on November 30, 2018, as part of an initiative that intends to plant trees for 1,000 years of benefit. Indigenous Florida grasses are also being planted by Sarasota County Public Works personnel, who will be at the park for an event earlier in the day. Aquatic plants that float on the water will be placed, including duck potato and pickerel plants.

“We’re grateful to partner with the public works department in the much-needed addition of trees at Nathan Benderson Park,” said Bob Whitford, the park’s Director of Operations and Facilities. “The planting area will serve as a Florida-native educational nature area for years to come.” The 125 trees, the grasses and the aquatics are donated by Cherrylake in Groveland, Lake County, which champions “1,000 Trees for 1,000 Years.” This initiative partners with nonprofits throughout the United States to donate and plant trees in protected conservation areas to help build ecosystems. Knowing that many of these trees will live to benefit the earth for the next 1,000 years to come, Cherrylake says the simple act of planting a tree today is connecting us to a better future.

“We want to inspire communities to plant trees,” said Timothee Sallin, the President of Cherrylake, “but to get people thinking about the future.” Sallin said Bald Cypress trees have a life expectancy of thousands of years. “They have an important role in cleaning water,” he said, explaining that they do so by drawing water through their roots. The Bald Cypress trees are native to Florida and grow quickly. Sallin called them a “keystone species,” central to the stability and structure of the ecosystem. The trees and plants donated to Nathan Benderson Park will form a fully functional landscape, he said.

About 30 members of the public work staff will be planting, according to County Engineer Spencer Anderson.“We’re excited about the opportunity to install new trees that will grow to support the county’s urban canopy,” he said, “providing shade, habitat and environmental benefits for the public.”