Words by Smiley Team
Sometimes a catastrophe can completely change how a place looks, acts, and feels. This much is true for Panama City, Florida, where, in 2018, over 80% of the city's trees were wiped out by Hurricane Michael.
ReTreePC, a community organization in Panama City, is looking to help return much of that greenery to the city.
The tree canopy in Panama City was something the city was known for, and following the loss of those trees, the city has experienced a lot more flooding due to the lack of protection. The city, along with ReTreePC, is planning to recuperate over the next three years to make up for the loss.
The plan began with a $30,000 Urban Forestry grant approved by Panama City Commission meeting commissioners plus a $40,000 grant from the USDA. The goal is to replant over 100,000 trees by 2025, supported by community members, young and old, around the city.
“We want trees to help reduce greenhouse emissions and to increase energy savings for our citizens and our community,” Sean Depalma, Director of Quality of Life for the City of Panama City, told WJHG. “But in addition to that, we want trees specifically that mitigate water to help us with the type of flooding and erosion control within the city.”
The organization has given out tens of thousands of trees to community members since 2019, and Panama city is consistently planting trees on city property, making a note to only replant trees native to the area.
Another note of the push to re-tree Panama City is that the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit focused on planting trees, has redesignated Panama City as a Tree City, highlighting an abundance of canopy cover and cleaner air.
ReTreePC is an example of a community coming together and trying to improve their community, especially following a natural disaster.
DONATE: In the last 50 years, Arbor Day Foundation has planted and distributed nearly 500 million trees. Help them continue their mission.
VOLUNTEER: Want to help? Get involved and volunteer with ReTreePC.