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Florida's playing it cool.

An existing Cool Community project in Dade County, Florida, took a large step forward last fall with the selection of four sites for large-scale demonstration and research projects. The sites, which represent the great variety of housing types and neighborhoods within the county, are:

Richmond Heights--where tree cover was drastically reduced by Hurricane Andrew, creating an extensive need for energy-conserving trees

West Kendall--Weitzer Hammocks, a 232-home development, that will use conservation plantings and surface lightening in new-home construction

Princeton--energy-conserving landscaping will be an integral part of the design for Habitat for Humanity's 213-home project for low-income families

The city of South Miami--an 18-square-block downtown area around U.S. 1 and Sunset Drive is targeted for surface-color lightening and tree planting; residential neighborhoods will demonstrate the energy-conserving value of improving the tree canopy.

Acting on President Clinton's announcement, AMERICAN FORESTS has begun organizing spring education and action events. A highlight of Florida's Arbor Week celebration--January 17-24--will be a neighborhood tree planting at Richmond Heights Middle School, one of the Cool Communities demonstration neighborhoods. Sponsored by Texaco, the tree planting is a rest stop for runner Tim Womick as he crosses south Florida promoting the benefits of tree planting. Womick will be distributing items from two AMERICAN FORESTS programs: the Growing Greener Cities Environmental Education Guide and a Famous & Historic tree.

A local cable TV station will air 12 half-hour episodes of a Cool Communities TV show from February through April. The episodes will focus on: global climate change and trees; Dade County's urban forest; the selection, maintenance, and care of trees; and tree planting for energy conservation.

Two other events to create interest in and raise money for Cool Communities projects in Dade County are Cool Jazz, a benefit concert in the city of South Miami, and Walk for Trees, a benefit walk to restore south Florida's hurricane-decimated tree canopy.

Coinciding with Earth Day, the Walk for Trees will begin in South Miami, also a Cool Communities demonstration neighborhood, head to the Earth Day celebration in Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and return--about six miles. Participants will raise money through pledges.

The commitment to Cool Communities shown by south Florida sets a sound example for the six other demonstration sites (and 350 yet to come) of how to ensure a productive program.
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Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Knack, Emily
Publication:American Forests
Date:Jan 1, 1994
Words:379
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