The Arbor Day Foundation and Publix announced an expanded collaboration to help restore Florida’s water ways with additional tree plantings in the Little Orange Creek Preserve and the Withlacoochee River Watershed, building on the inaugural watershed partnership which had focused on the cleaning and restoration of the Ocklawaha River Watershed in Alachua, Marion and Lake Counties in Florida.
The combined projects made possible by the generous support of Publix have planted more than 230,000 trees throughout the counties in Florida, encompassing more than 300 acres of land. Because of the success of the plantings Publix is helping restore water bodies deemed impaired by the Environmental Protection Agency, providing critical habitat for a variety of wildlife and aquatic species as well as expanding important conservation lands in the state of Florida.
“Publix’s continued commitment to the watersheds of Florida illustrate how positive and large an impact that can be accomplished through the planting of trees,” said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation, president. “We salute Publix and their leadership in the use of tree planting to help restore water quality to the state of Florida and hope these projects inspire others to follow suit.”
The initial impact of these two additional projects will benefit the region over the next half-a-century and will result in the restoration of two cleared former plantation sites which will restore natural water flow, creating a high-quality wetland habitat with in the Little Orange Creek system. Additionally, the plantings will reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the Withlacoochee river which will continue to restore fresh groundwater quality.
“Reducing our water use through process improvements at our retail and support locations is an important way to minimize our impact on natural resources,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media and community relations. “Balancing our consumption through strategic collaborations that protect and restore watersheds is another way to make an impactful difference. We are excited about our expanded work with the Arbor Day Foundation as we continue to work together towards strengthening the sustainability of our water sources.”
Publix also encourages their customers to join their journey of sustainable efforts through the purchase of designated Publix reusable bags. A portion of the proceeds from sales of these reusable bags are used to support sustainability projects throughout their operating area.
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. During the last 44 years, more than 250 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Their vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
Publix is privately owned and operated by its more than 190,000 employees, with 2016 sales of $34 billion. Currently, Publix has 1,171 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The company has been named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for 21 consecutive years. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized among the top in the grocery business.