Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sarasota County Urban Forestry Program Receives Recognition

From Sarasota County News:

Sarasota County Named Outstanding Urban Forestry Program

For the second consecutive year, the Sarasota County Urban Forestry program has received a top statewide award. Today, it was named Outstanding Urban Forestry Program at the statewide Trees Florida conference in Palm Harbor.

Last year, the county received the Tree City of the Year Award at the annual conference. Both awards were presented to Urban Forestry Manager Demetra McBride by Trees Florida, a coalition of representatives from the Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, the Florida Urban Forestry Council, the Florida Division of Forestry and the University of Florida Extension.

The Trees Florida 2007 awards are presented for outstanding efforts to plan, plant and protect urban and community forests throughout Florida. The Urban Forestry division of Public Works was particularly recognized for its outstanding people, projects, techniques, education and outreach and management of natural resources with special regard for Floridas urban forests.

In presenting the award at todays luncheon, Trees Florida Chairman Michael Conner said that Sarasota Countys green infrastructure programs focusing on the use of the urban forest as a bio-utility was the decisive factor in selecting the county program for the statewide honor.

"In 2005, the Sarasota County Commission directed the Urban Forestry Program to expand its management plan beyond mere aesthetic use of the community's forest," McBride noted. "The Forestry Program employs a small, committed group of skilled and talented arborists, who have distinguished this program since 1988. This award recognizes the vision of the county's leadership, and our hard work and ingenuity, to promote and manage the urban forest as a utility and as an essential element of sustainable growth."

Previous, recent Outstanding Urban Forestry Program award recipients included the cities of Plantation, Hollywood and Marco Island.

The Sarasota County Urban Forestry division is the steward for the countys urban forest, representing trees found in the wild, in parks, on beaches, in the county rights of way, medians and thoroughfares, and along waterways and canopy roads. The division manages about 54,000 trees throughout the county, including more than 113 street tree and neighborhood street tree projects and 64 certified canopy roads.

For more information about the Urban Forestry division, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 or visit

Sarasota County's urban forestry program is also mentioned prominently in the latest issue of the National League of Cities publication "Nation Cities Weekly".

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