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Plans made to restore greenery at Punta Gorda History Park

Trees and other plants were destroyed during Hurricane Ian
Posted at 9:35 PM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 21:35:36-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Over 20 trees at Punta Gorda's history were destroyed by Hurricane Ian, and local volunteers have shared their vision to restore the thick canopy that once stood above the park.

Many of the smaller plants in the park relied on the shade provided by the large trees, and without the shade have been lost as well.

Now, members of the Punta Gorda Garden Club and Historical Society will work to populate the park exclusively with native trees and other plants that are naturally found throughout Charlotte County.

"We lost over 20 huge 40 or 50 foot shade trees, so it changed the whole dynamic of the park," said Karen Dodez, a volunteer with the Historical Society. "Going forward we had the opportunity to go native for the first time, we had a clean slate."

Native plants require less maintenance, are more likely to survive flooding and wind storms and provide a natural habitat for wildlife.

On Friday, the Garden Club planted a Gumbo Limbo tree, which is native to Charlotte County as is known for its bright red bark and wind resistance.

"Its very exciting," said Dodez. "bringing back the history, a lot of these native plants have been around forever and if we take care of them and encourage people to plant them, they'll be around for a long time."

Volunteers will continue planning and planting new growth over the coming months.