Arbor Day Foundation and Publix Partner to Protect the Natural Waters of Florida
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Publix plants 125,000 trees in 2020 to protect and restore critical waterways
Lincoln, Neb. (April 16, 2020) – In early 2020, the Arbor Day Foundation and Publix partnered to plant 125,000 trees in Florida's Withlacoochee State Forest and Little Orange Creek, helping to restore impaired waterways and critical wildlife habitats. These efforts are the continuation of a four-year partnership between Publix and the Arbor Day Foundation. Since 2016, Publix has generously supported the planting of more than 480,000 trees encompassing 710 acres of land in collaboration with the Foundation.
"Over the course of four years, Publix has demonstrated how a continued commitment to tree planting can benefit an entire region in the long-term, creating thriving environments for people and wildlife," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "We are grateful for their continued partnership and its immense impact on Florida's watersheds."
Reforestation efforts will support watershed and ecosystem restoration in two key regions of Florida. Nutrient pollution in Little Orange Creek, one of the many impaired waterways in the Ocklawaha River watershed, has led to oxygen depletion and aquatic habitat smothering. Planting native longleaf pines will help mitigate pollution, as well as improve water filtration and protect the natural habitats of land and aquatic wildlife. Withlacoochee State Forest is facing the impacts of land misuse dating as far back as the 1800s. Tree planting efforts are underway to convert the area to its natural ecosystem. This project will support watershed health as well as restore ecosystems for wildlife including gopher tortoises, Sherman's fox squirrels, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and bobwhite quails.
"When you start learning about watersheds and what they do, you discover how foundational they are to our quality of life because almost every area of land is a watershed, especially in Florida," said Publix Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programs Michael Hewett. "Part of our mission at Publix is to be responsible citizens in our communities. By working with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in key watersheds, we're doing good together by restoring areas that work as natural filters for the water we all drink and use every day."
Proceeds from sales of Publix-branded reusable bags are used to support sustainability projects throughout their operating area. For more information about Publix's sustainability efforts, visit sustainability.publix.com.
About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Their vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
Publix, the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. with more than 200,000 associates, currently operates 1,242 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Publix is privately owned with 2019 sales of $38.1 billion. For 23 consecutive years, the company has been recognized by Fortune as a great place to work. In addition, Publix's dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized among the top in the grocery business. For more information, visit the company's website, corporate.publix.com.