FKEC Gives Away 400 Native Trees Through Energy-Saving Program

Posted: May 10, 2019 at 7:00 am
FKEC’s Brandon Coile gives co-op member Sara Cizmas her Jamaican caper tree.
FKEC’s Brandon Coile gives co-op member Sara Cizmas her Jamaican caper tree. Cizmas has participated in the energy-saving tree program for the last three years and says all her trees are thriving.

For the third year, FKEC partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to offer an energy-saving tree giveaway program to co-op members. Through an online reservation process, participating FKEC members received a free native tree and learned the right places to plant the tree around their homes to save energy.

The online energy-saving program uses GSI software to show members a satellite image of their home, and indicate where to plant their native tree for the best energy savings. Planting the right tree in the right place is key to maximizing the energy-saving benefits that trees provide. When planted properly, a single tree can save a homeowner up to 20% on energy costs.

Members who reserved one of the 400 free native trees picked them up at the Tavernier or Marathon offices this past week. Additional planting instructions and resource were provided, and master gardeners from the county were also on hand to answer questions. When reserving trees, members could choose between a pigeon plum, Jamaican caper, paradise tree, Spanish stopper or green buttonwood — all of which are native to the Florida Keys.

“Preserving our native environment is a priority at FKEC,” said Sara Hamilton, FKEC Environmental Manager. “These native trees will not only help save energy, but they will also provide shelter and food for our indigenous wildlife. As our members plant and care for these trees, we hope they thrive as we enter the rainy season.”

Trees also improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, and reduce urban heat island effect just to name a few.

The program was available on a first come, first served basis, and FKEC hopes to offer it again next year. To learn more about trees and the Arbor Day Foundation, visit here. You can also access FKEC planting guidelines and energy saving tips.