Floridians are preparing for the June 1 start of hurricane season, but in the Panhandle, residents are still cleaning up from the Category 5 storm that struck in October.
Hurricane Michael devastated neighborhoods and communities when it made landfall in Mexico Beach.
It became the fourth ever Category 5 hurricane to hit the U.S., packing sustained winds of 160 mph and causing about $25 billion in damage.
A hurricane’s high winds can topple trees, which not only threaten homes and structures but also affect the local environment after the storm passes.
The Arbor Day Foundation and its corporate partners, like FedEx, International Paper and Verizon, have been on the ground across Florida to distribute trees and restore rural ecosystems destroyed by the storm.
The foundation says trees help to remove pollution from the air, purify the water and store carbon dioxide to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
The Arbor Day Foundation has planted 240,000 trees statewide with another 135,000 trees projected for the next year.
“In addition to rebuilding damaged buildings and infrastructure after hurricanes, trees are a critical part of the disaster recovery process,” officials with the Arbor Day Foundation said.
The foundation’s new global initiative, Time for Trees, is committed to planting 100 million trees in communities, cities and forests worldwide by 2022.
Arbor Day started in 1872, making it the country’s oldest environmental holiday.