Venice Urban Forest receives State Forest Prize
The Venice Urban Forest won the title of Outstanding Project under the “2020 Friends of Our Urban Forest Awards” sponsored by the Florida Urban Forestry Council and the Florida Forest Service.
The award was accepted by Venice Area Beautification Inc. on May 25 in recognition of a public project that demonstrates tree preservation, tree planting, tree care, and environmentally sound planning or design.
The award was presented by John Rohan, executive committee member of the Florida Urban Forestry Council, to Greg Vine, president of Venice Urban Forest; Phil Ellis, project coordinator; and Carol Delehanty, arborist. Volunteers who work in the urban forest of Venice were also present at a ceremony at the town hall.
The Florida Urban Forestry Council is a state-wide nonprofit organization with a diverse number of municipalities, arborists, utility foresters, community forest council members, tree advocates, volunteers, horticulturalists, landscape professionals and interested citizens who care about trees in their communities. The Friends of Our Urban Forest Awards program recognizes the achievements of organizations and individuals in their efforts to manage urban forests in their communities.
The Venice Urban Forest project aims to cultivate hundreds and ultimately thousands of understory trees and plants to provide food and shelter for birds and animals. Cooling, carbon sequestration, oxygen production, and stormwater uptake are also benefits. Only native Florida trees and shrubs are planted so that the forest provides habitat specifically for migratory songbirds and native wildlife.
The nearly 3 km stretch of land that was once used as a railway line runs from East Venice Avenue to Center Road. Over 1,200 trees have been planted since April 2018 in addition to over 36 different species of native plants. The ongoing effort attracts diverse wildlife, including a wide variety of birds. The latest bird count by the Venice Audubon Society has found more than 60 species, including migratory songbirds.