ELLENTON, Fla. — Karen Chenoweth of Ellenton is helping plant trees in her Colony Cove community.
"It's great to be outdoors with green things that are putting oxygen back into the air," said Chenoweth.
Residents and volunteers are planting 4,000 trees on a strip of land next to the Manatee River. Organizers said the goal is to create a microforest that will recycle carbon emissions and protect against red tide by absorbing harmful storm water run-off.
"This forest is going to be great for the climate but it's also going to divert a lot of water that would otherwise carry nutrients to the river and then the bay, and it's those nutrients that are causing red tide," said Charles Reith with Suncoast Urban Re-Foresters.
Reith said the idea is to create a dense forest in a small area like this 1.5-acre peninsula. He said planting the trees close together makes them grow 10 times faster than normal.
"This will be used to grow a 100-year-old forest in 10 years," said Reith.
And volunteers like Ky Miller said they’re just happy to help protect the environment in any way they can.
"The environment is our future and if we don’t take care of it, we have no future," said Miller.