Orange County Recognized Nationally for Tree Growth and Green Education Efforts
This year, the Arbor Day Foundation has twice recognized Orange County for its efforts to make Central Florida among the nation’s greenest regions.
In April, the Foundation again named Orange County a Tree City USA. The annual recognition celebrates municipalities across the country for tree growth and educating their communities about the advantages of trees. Orange County has been recognized as a Tree City USA municipality for 16 consecutive years, one of the longest active streaks in the nation.
Also, and for the first time, Orange County was granted the Tree City USA Growth Award in July. The honor recognizes Tree City USA municipalities that have demonstrated the nation’s highest degree of commitment to tree growth and educational efforts.
“Trees can make Florida homes up to 20-percent cooler in the summer months,” explained Kevin Camm, director of UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, “Annually, one tree produces 260lbs of oxygen, and one acre of trees removes 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide from the air we breathe. The positive impact of trees on Central Florida is unquestioned.”
A division of the Community and Family Services Department, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County annually spearheads the County’s efforts to meet the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA requirements. It also offers local citizens tree-related classroom courses, personal tutorials and other educational events throughout the year.
Held seasonally, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County holds Adopt-a-Tree events in communities throughout Orange County. Last year, 1,162 Florida-friendly trees were provided to homeowners, and the County coordinated the planting of more than 2,500 trees on public lands.
To help create the next generation of environmental stewards, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County also spearheads the County’s 4-H Youth Development Program. Focusing on children ages 5-18, the program uses an experiential learning approach to develop citizenship, leadership and a range of life skills. Last year, members of the County’s 4-H program volunteered more than 5,000 hours of community service and competed in several state and regional competitions.
“We strive to make Orange County the epitome of a Tree City USA,” said Camm. “It’s at the heart of everything we do at UF/IFAS Extension Orange County – to make this region a better sustainable place to live and work.”