Microforest Created by Students, Veterans and Civic Organizations Ready for Planting

The Giving Coast

The forest site at Stoneybrook, prepped and ready for planting. Courtesy of Suncoast Science Center

Twenty student volunteers from the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab Student Community Innovation Project (SCIP) partnered with Sarasota Urban ReForesters (SURF) and Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund to design, implement, and promote a microforest that is made up of 1,100 trees. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the location of the planting has shifted from its original location at Nathan Benderson Park to Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club. “Stoneybrook is highly respected for its commitment to the environment and engagement of residents and stakeholders in everything from bird walks to learning tours about the community's multifaceted environmental stewardship program," said Charles Reith, SURF and Florida Veterans representative. 

This microforest project was designed to help initiate sustainable changes in Sarasota County and educate the general populace to make more sustainable and environmentally friendly decisions in their daily lives. Once matured, the microforest will transfer substantial amounts of carbon from the atmosphere into the soil and filter water. It is a unique tool to mitigate climate change and red tide crises. The project simultaneously provided a real-world experience for local students to bring an innovative idea from start to finish, building technical and life skills that will help them in their future pursuits. 

To engage the community with the project, SURF hosted its first volunteer day on July 17 with over 50 volunteers in attendance. The goal of the event was to create a mulched layer of the microforest that will create a dark and moist environment to block weeds and cultivate a community of beneficial microbes. The next step of the project is to begin the tree planting process. Microforests require dense planting to perform most efficiently so SURF aims to plant over 1,100 trees at the microforest site. The help of willing volunteers is a necessity. To lend a helping hand on the tree planting day on Saturday, November 6, sign up at http://bit.ly/surfplantingNo experience is required, and training will be provided on the morning of the event.  

The microforest project at Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club is made possible with the support of Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc., Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Elizabeth Moore, Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START), Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay, and The Floyd C. Johnson and Flo Singer Johnson Foundation. Follow along the project’s progress @surfmicroforest on Facebook and Instagram.

The forest site at Stoneybrook, prepped and ready for planting. Courtesy of Suncoast Science Center

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