Gainesville is celebrating another year of being a green city.

As part of Florida’s Arbor Day, residents are invited to help plant 58 new trees from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Alachua County Senior Recreation Center, 5701 NW 34th St.

Participants will plant assorted native trees, two for each year that Gainesville has been considered a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, according to the City of Gainesville’s website.

Everyone who attends will participate in planting the final tree, each contributing a shovel of earth, said Anita Spring, chair of the City Beautification Board. Free shade trees will also be distributed to honor the spirit of Arbor Day.

“It’s amazing. You really take ownership once you help plant a tree,” Spring said.

For 29 years, Gainesville has been recognized for having the necessary components to sustain a healthy environment such as a tree department, ordinances regarding tree care and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

A recent study by UF’s School of Forest Resources & Conservation concluded that tree cover in Gainesville totaled 51 percent. The USDA quotes the national average for similar urban areas at 27 percent.

The senior center, which will celebrate its one-year anniversary later this month, was considered a new facility that needed additional trees and could accept the large number of trees the city planned for, Spring said.

“Over the years, I have helped plant so many trees, and now I see them prospering all over town,” she said.

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