Donor and Friends of Florida State Forests, Inc. Give Back Following Hurricane Hermine!

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PlantMeGreen.com owners Richard and Kim Roccanti,, donors of the trees, stand with the first free tree recipient, along with Doug Ott, Friends of Florida State Forests Coordinator.

PlantMeGreen.com owners Richard and Kim Roccanti (at left), who donated the trees, stand with our first free tree recipient, along with Doug Ott, Friends of Florida State Forests Coordinator. At right, a couple receives their free “Birds of Florida State Forests” poster, as over 250 were handed out.

On Sept. 10th, the Friends of Florida State Forests Program Coordinator, along with Tallahassee Forestry Center staff were among 117 organizations participating at the 5th Annual Tallahassee Science Festival.  Held next to the historic row of cottages at Lake Ella, a crowd of over 5,000 visitors enjoyed a hands-on STEM experience. The event encouraged youth to engage in a broad spectrum of learning and put a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Education resources were also provided to parents.

After Hurricane Hermine, and in celebrating the 80th Anniversary of our Florida State Forests, the Friends program decided to give trees/shrubs that were donated to attendees at this Science Festival who lost a tree during the storm. Many came to the booth and just said “thank you,” and were touched as they saw families and many seniors pick up their tree putting smiles on many faces.  Some of the plants included Shumard Oak, Live Oak, Tulip Poplar, and Yaupon Holly, and others.  In addition, hundreds lined up to receive their free “Birds of the Florida State Forests” poster to use in classrooms, offices or their homes.  Tallahassee Forestry Center Mitigation Specialist Todd Schroeder, showed kids how different types of fuels burn and spoke about the role these natural fuels play in starting and sustaining a wildfire. Forest Ranger Rickey Redding, invited kids to sit inside the mini dozer he created providing parents with numerous photo opportunities throughout the day.  Tom Gilpin, Senior Forester at Bear Creek Educational Forest, promoted educational programs by assisting children with hands-on activities incorporating nature and art, with his “Nutty Squirrel Art Gallery.”

Some upcoming events planned promoting our Friends program during  our 80th anniversary include:

  • Munson Heritage Festival / Blackwater River State Forest (October 8th & 9th)
  • Welaka State Forest Fall Festival (October 29th)

The Friends of Florida State Forests is a direct-support organization of the Florida Forest Service dedicated to ensuring Florida’s state forests are available for future generations to enjoy. Contributions to our program can be made to a specific forest near you in the areas such as recreation, reforestation, forest restoration, exotic plant removal, equipment donations, and other forest needs. Some membership levels include categories where a portion of dues can be directed towards operations, recreation, reforestation and ecology.  Donations also can be made to a specific forest of your choice. If you would like to learn more about our program, have fundraising ideas or want to utilize the Friends program to help your forest, please contact Doug.Ott@FreshFromFlorida.com or visit www.floridastateforests.org.

With your help, we can make the forests better for everyone!

Doug Ott sharing to attendees about the trees, posters, and more available at the FFS and Friends booths.

Doug Ott sharing to attendees about the trees, posters, and more available at the FFS and Friends booths.