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Founded by J. Sterling Morton, a nature loving pioneer, National Arbor Day was first observed in Nebraska in 1872. It is said that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day. This year’s celebration on April 28 will promote the importance of trees, their impact on our lives and an overall sense of caring for the environment. Individuals are encouraged to plant trees on this day, and many communities get together to plan events celebrating the holiday. Keep reading to find out how Publix celebrates National Arbor Day all year long.

 

Publix and the Arbor Day Foundation

The beauty of our nation’s trees and forests don’t just serve as majestic landscapes. Watersheds found in our forests are the largest suppliers of drinking water to more than 180 million people across the country. However, many of these watersheds are in danger from drought and disease.* To help combat the deterioration of watersheds in Publix’s home state of Florida, we are supporting the Arbor Day Foundation’s efforts to clean and restore the Ocklawaha River Watershed in Alachua, Marion and Lake counties in Florida.  Little Orange Creek and the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin are home to wetland fish and wildlife, and due to a loss of vegetation and a lack of natural filtration, the quality of water has declined. As a result, the fish and wildlife that depend on the watershed have suffered as well.

Publix and the Arbor Day  Foundation have committed to planting more than 100,000 trees along the watershed to protect and restore these critical waterways. The planted trees will help prevent harmful run-off and provide natural filtration and storage for water. This absorption and filtering of water will increase groundwater as clean water feeds into aquifers that can be accessed hundreds of miles away.

Additionally, this project preserves critical habitats for a variety of wildlife and aquatic species, as well as expands conservation lands in the state of Florida.

To date, 105,000 Longleaf Pine trees have been planted on 198 acres of land thanks to these efforts.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the impact of this project over the next half century will result in the elimination of more than 34,000 tons of carbon dioxide and over 1,900 tons of air pollution. How awesome is that?

 

Fun Fact:

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of our reusable bags is used to support Publix sustainability projects such as these.

We want to help protect critical waterways, and restoration projects like helping the Ocklawaha River Watershed is only the first step. Planting trees is a key aspect in the success of these sustainability projects. Stay tuned for additional blog posts on the importance of trees in our everyday lives and what we’re doing to assist in the preservation of our nation’s forests.

*Source: Arbor Day Foundation

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