Urban Forest

Image of “Urban Forest” is by Bill Farnsworth.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announces a new partnership with Venice Area Beautification Inc. (VABI) to create an Urban Forest along the Intracoastal Waterway in Venice.

Conservation Foundation will collaborate to plan, build resources and public awareness, and to create a nearly two-mile forested greenway for birds and wildlife to thrive and for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Ninety-two years ago, John Nolen envisioned Venice as a planned garden community, emphasizing a principle of “nature leading the way.” Today, the community is following Nolen’s lead to create new greenspaces in Venice.

The Urban Forest began several years ago as a grassroots-led vision to reclaim the former CSX railway corridor through the heart of Venice. So far, more than 400 trees of 32 species and understory plants have been planted as part of Phase One. When the project is completed the Urban Forest will stretch from the Venice Train Depot to Center Road and will provide a beautiful woodland trail for pedestrians parallel to the Venetian Waterway Park.

All native trees and shrubs are being planted so that the forest provides habitat specifically for migratory songbirds and native wildlife.

Early community partners and in-kind donors include William Jervey, Bill Farnsworth, ArtisTree Landscape, Clark Connections, JT Holland, Shipps Excavating, Simply Trees, H&H Signs, Petra Prion Photography, and Lowes. The multi-year project will be completed in phases and Phase One will open to the public once completed.

“We are pleased to be working with Conservation Foundation,” said Greg Vine, Urban Forest project chair. “They have the expertise and staff to complement our volunteer efforts and move this to the next level. We have an ambitious vision relying on fundraising, in-kind gifts, and sweat equity. Together we will achieve it.”

Christine Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation, said: “This is another fine example of community conservation, an initiative that is fueled by the community’s passion to create an urban oasis of natural beauty for all to enjoy. Conservation Foundation is delighted to partner with the grassroots leadership of VABI.”

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