Local 10 News hosts Green Street campaign with goal of planting 1 million trees in South Florida

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – This year, Local 10 News embarked on an exciting and new environmental campaign.

It’s called “Green Street” and it consists of planting native trees to transform South Florida communities.

More than 30 volunteers from the public and private sectors teamed up Thursday afternoon to plant native trees at Lake Stevens Park in northwest Miami-Dade as part of the countywide effort to plant a million trees all across Miami-Dade County.

“It’s huge because we as a county can’t do it alone,” said Gaby Lopez with Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation. “This is a really big undertaking and we need residents and community members.”

“It’s a million trees in the entire county, but we’re one community -- we’re going to reach this goal together,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Oliver Gilbert said.

None of it is possible without the generosity of Vera Cadillac, Buick, GMC.

“We’re just very happy to give back to the community and, at the same time, help the environment,” said Alex Crespo, with Vera Cadillac, Buick, GMC.

A total of 66 trees containing five difference species, including royal poincianas, bald cypress and pond apple, will now form part of the neighborhood ecosystem.

Local 10 News launched Green Street to transform barren areas into healthy and sustainable environments.

Lake Stevens Park has a tree canopy of just under 12 percent, but after Thursday’s effort, over time, that percentage will increase dramatically, and the environmental benefits are immeasurable.

The trees will help cool temperatures, improve air quality, attract wildlife, prevent excess flooding, promote equitable green spaces and create a beautiful landscape.

“Our goal is that we have 30 percent tree canopy in every single neighborhood,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins. “That gap where you’re not seeing a lot of trees is really prevalent when you start to look at low income neighborhoods.”

Added Miami-Dade DERM Ecologist James Duncan: “Local native trees are adapted to hurricanes already. Local native trees are disease-resistant. Local native trees support our local native wildlife.”

The benefits extend even closer to home.

Local 10′s Green Street campaign included a free fruit tree giveaway -- 125 in total.

Area residents were able to choose from mango, sugar apple, June plum and more.

The campaign will only work if all of South Florida steps up to do its part.

Miami-Dade County can only plant trees in public spaces, so in order to get to that 30 percent tree canopy, residents need to plant trees in their backyards and join the mission, doing what we can to help the county and make South Florida more beautiful and more resilient, and of course, help protect our planet.

About the Author:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.