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Scenic Jacksonville and Greenscape Announce Citywide Campaign, JAX DIGS TREES

JACKSONVILLE, FL - November 4, 2015 – In front of a large crowd of supporters and local leaders gathered at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Scenic Jacksonville, Inc. and Greenscape of Jacksonville announced a new tree challenge campaign, JAX DIGS TREES. The year-long tree planting campaign seeks to encourage citizens, schools, neighborhood organizations, businesses and civic groups to plant, protect and promote trees.
In 2000, Scenic Jacksonville (then known as Citizens for Tree Preservation, Inc.) led a successful citizens' initiative to conserve and protect Jacksonville's tree canopy. The measure amended the City Charter to establish minimum standards countywide for tree protection, conservation and mitigation during development. The measure passed in all 268 precincts with a landslide majority vote of approval in every one of the city’s 268 precincts – a clear mandate from the voters.
The Tree Charter Amendment of 2000 was necessitated due to landscape and tree protection laws being substantially weakened and not adequately enforced. Jacksonville tree protection laws had been weakened to the point where a protected tree was redefined as a tree more than six feet in diameter, thereby ending effective tree conservation during most development activities in Jacksonville.
A founding member of Citizens for Tree Preservation and current board president of Scenic Jacksonville, Susan Caven, praised the efforts of everyone involved in getting the Tree Charter Amendment on the ballot in November 2000. “Many dedicated volunteers braved the cold, the heat and the rain to collect and notarize signatures to place the amendment on the ballot,” said Caven.
The JAX DIGS TREES tree planting challenge campaign was created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Tree Charter Amendment and help ensure a healthy tree canopy for future generations. JAX DIGS TREES is a citywide initiative to increase scenic beauty, create a healthier community by increasing Jacksonville’s tree canopy and ensure the continuation of a vibrant, urban tree cover. Caven said, “The new trees will add oxygen, clean the air, decrease the urban heat island effect, slow rain water runoff, provide wildlife habitats, and add aesthetic benefits to improve quality of life and increase property values.”
Anna Dooley, executive director of Greenscape urged everyone to go out and plant a tree. “As the saying goes, the best day to plant a tree was yesterday so I want you to get out there and get dirty,” said Dooley.  
The Jacksonville community is encouraged to use social media to share tree planting activities by posting their tree photos online and using the campaign hashtag, #jaxdigstrees. Interested citizens and organizations are encouraged to challenge others to plant trees and help protect and preserve Jacksonville’s vibrant tree canopy.
For event photos, please click HERE.