EAST NAPLES, Fla -- The Community Foundation of Collier County is working to establish a $3 million Environment & Accessibility fund to improve things like water and wetlands, trees, and wheelchair-accessibility in the community.
This came out of a recent community needs assessment. The foundation said trees were top of mind for those in the community because it lost so many during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The goal is to replant those and add more at parks where people can enjoy the many benefits of trees.
The foundation is working with Naples Botanical Garden to grow and plant these trees. CFCC recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, for which the garden grew and distributed 3,500 native trees for free throughout the county. The foundation and garden said planting native trees is key, so that they’ll have a better chance of surviving future storms.
Efforts have also been made at East Naples Community Park. The timing of newly planted trees there coincides with this weekend’s U.S. Open Pickleball Championships, which has spurred a lot of excitement altogether. The 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID-19, so people are thrilled to have it back this year, especially set against an enhanced backdrop.
People in Collier County also expressed interest in adding trees because of the shade they'll provide for kids playing at parks. Another project has already taken place at Immokalee Sports Complex to restore the shady trees lost there during Irma.
Future projects are planned on Marco Island, in Everglades City, and more.
The foundation has already raised $500,000 toward its $1 million goal for trees. It's also working to establish another $1 million fund for water projects. And a third $1 million fund for accessibility efforts, to make sure everyone can enjoy the county’s parks, playgrounds and bike trails.
All of this is just one component of the foundation’s “Your Passion. Your Collier.” initiative. Learn more, including how to donate, here.