Spring is a time for planting: both trees and important ideas!
Growing Climate Solutions has been doing both in April and May. Prior to Earth Day, we hosted two speakers. Dr. Catherine Toms, who discussed health issues related to a warming climate, and Cynthia Williams, who spoke about Ford Motor Company’s entry into the electric vehicle market. Both framed their presentations in the context of a period of transition, where staying alert and adaptable to unexpected events, heat waves, and/or market shifts has proven challenging, but where there is also an opportunity to reposition.
Earth Day was celebrated by our partners and supporters throughout the region. The SWFL RESET Center hosted an event featuring art, film, and the music of the Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra. Saturday, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida hosted an event on campus that attracted over 2000 visitors; it was a great way for families to learn about the Conservancy’s ongoing activities over the past couple of years and to see campus improvements including the renovated Discovery Center. Growing Climate Solutions’ Bridget Washburn was in downtown Naples’ Cambier Park talking and giving away Slash Pine saplings at an Earth Day event organized by Collier Waterkeepers. Our newest partner, Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church organized Earth Day craft activities for their children and youth programs, including animals made from recycled materials, seed cards for planting, and worm and dirt desserts.
Understanding the integrated relationship of the carbon cycle to plant productivity, food and the decomposition of organic materials into healthy soil is fundamental to sustainable living. The youth ‘Creation Care’ lessons presented at Vanderbilt Presbyterian support this learning and our goal of encouraging waste reduction and composting. May 29 was National Composting Day which Growing Climate Solutions promoted by hosting Mr. Randal Penn’s “Let’s Make Black Gold” presentation as the last of this season’s Y&HOW Workshops. If you missed the event, a recording can be viewed on our Resource Page. We encourage our readership to experiment with composting techniques or to consider compost pick-up services offered by Naples Compost, one of our partners. For additional motivation, read the composting article in Florida Weekly due out this week.
On April 29th, National Arbor Day gave reason for organizations and communities across the country to acknowledge the essential nature of trees. Trees support a diverse array of wildlife that makes Southwest Florida an ecological paradise and provide shade canopy that will keep our community cooler in the years ahead. Tree planting activities coordinated by Growing Climate Solutions, with support from Robbie’s Tree Fund and Cheney Landscaping, serve as on-the-ground teaching opportunities to address the role of natural assets in fostering climate resilience. In May, Growing Climate Solutions organized a reforestation project on land acquired with Conservation Collier funds, in collaboration with Seacrest Country Day School, Conservation Collier Program staff, and Robbie’s Trees Fund. Volunteers planted a total of 75 Slash Pine which, at maturity, are expected to absorb 2,700 pounds of CO2 annually. From a global perspective, the sequestration aspect may appear small, but collectively these actions add up, and the appreciation for trees gained by hands-on experience leaves a lasting impact.