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USDA Awards City of Port St. Lucie $1 Million to Expand Access to Shade by Planting Trees

Port St. Lucie - Tuesday October 31, 2023: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has awarded the City of Port St. Lucie $1 million to enhance PSL's urban forestry efforts. The grant is part of the $1 billion investment in the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

The City of Port St. Lucie will use the funds to expand and enhance its urban forestry program over the next four years by planting trees along transportation corridors, at key development sites, and on private property to increase urban canopy cover. The project will help Port St. Lucie reduce carbon emissions, increase resilience, cool temperatures, improve pedestrian opportunities, enhance public safety, and create other significant benefits from trees.

“At last year’s #IAMPSL Citizen Summit, residents told us one of their top priorities is to increase access to nature and preserves,” said Mayor Shannon Martin. “Through the implementation of this grant, we are excited to plant an unprecedented number of trees to grow our canopy and improve the health and well-being of our City.”

The grant focuses on areas of greatest need to expand the tree canopy and provide increased access to nature. Trees will serve as a buffer between transportation corridors and homes while providing multiple economic, environmental, and social benefits, such as cleaner air and water, cooler summer temperatures, and safer streets. Other benefits include removing pollutants, reducing runoff, dampening urban noise, and providing habitat for animals.

In addition, the City will be partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County to identify and select five youth each summer, to support urban tree watering and maintenance activities, educating and involving the next generation of environmental stewards.

“For over 30 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County has been at the forefront of youth development,” said Will Armstead, resident and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County. “Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens – through our partnership with the City of Port St. Lucie, we will be able to expose youth to new job skills and learn ways they can make a difference in their community through helping to grow our tree canopy.”

Port St. Lucie has a long history of promoting, preserving, and increasing the number of trees. The City of Port St. Lucie has earned the designation of Tree City USA for 18 years and received the Tree City USA Growth Award for 17 years, both sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation. In 2023, the Arbor Day Foundation formally recognized PSL with the 2023 Tree Cities of the World designation, joining 138 other cities worldwide.