Enjoy Nature on the Tree Walk
A brand new tree walk was added to the Exploration Gardens at the UF/IFAS Extension in Orange County. The gardens are used for teaching and demonstration. The tree walk was added to increase the canopy cover, add diversity of species and create new educational opportunities. For easy identification, the trees are labeled with scientific and common names. In addition, there is signage along the path describing the healthy benefits of trees.
Walking in nature has been proven to reverse poor health trends among sedentary individuals. Walking can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, stress, and enhance a sense of well-being. It is good for individuals who cannot afford to participate in formal exercise programs. The tree walk will be used extensively by all UF/IFAS Extension team members teaching classes on right tree/right place, tree identification and the benefits to health and the environment.
The tree walk is an ideal site for hands-on pruning, establishment, irrigation, and other demonstrations. Associations such as the Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, the Florida Urban Forestry Council, and the Florida Nurserymen, Growers and Landscape Association can use the tree walk for seminars for commercial landscape professionals and arborists.
The Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture awarded a $5,000 sponsorship to partially fund this project. An innovative partnership was developed with the National Association of State Foresters to utilize their My Tree-Our Forest® education campaign in the tree walk signage describing the benefits of trees and in our educational efforts.
Creating a tree walk of this scale sets a new standard for an Extension demonstration garden. By modeling an urban forest and following best management practices in tree care and maintenance, this tree planting will grow and thrive as a sustainable urban forest, meeting the needs of the public for many years to come.