Community plants 1,000 trees at Lake Apopka North Shore

MAITLAND, Fla., June 27, 2016 — More than 50 community volunteers helped plant 1,000 bald cypress trees at the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Lake Apopka North Shore the weekend of June 25. Cherry Lake Tree Farm in Groveland worked with local nonprofit Keep Lake Beautiful to donate the trees and help raise awareness about the importance of the area’s natural systems.

“In addition to providing food for wildlife and nesting habitats, these trees will provide shade for visitors for many years to come,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We are grateful for an opportunity to partner with the community on a project that celebrates our shared recognition of the value of this unique land.”

“We were proud to participate in this event as part of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup, with the goal of building a sense of community pride and stewardship,” said Brian Sheahan, Lake County Community and Compliance Director, who oversees Keep Lake Beautiful. “Together with our partners, we hope that our efforts will provide environmental benefits for many generations.”

“Bald Cypress are keystone species for our ecosystem and play an important role in maintaining the health and balance of these ecosystems,” said Timothee Sallin, President of Cherry Lake Tree Farm. “By planting 1,000 trees at Lake Apopka, we were able to make a lasting contribution to our environment both today and for generations to come.”

Participants worked with district staff to install the cypress trees in one of four pre-selected areas within the Lake Apopka North Shore.

Once home to several farms in the 1940s, the nearly 20,00 acres along Lake Apopka’s northern shore were acquired by the district in a push to restore water quality and fish and wildlife habitat within the lake.