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CSX 'Trees for Tracks' Joins Forces With Students From Nationally Acclaimed High School Science Magnet to Restore Native South Florida Habitat

Submitted by: CSX Corporation

Categories: Academia, Environment

Posted: Jan 08, 2010 – 10:44 AM EST


MIAMI, Jan. 08 /CSRwire/ - "Trees for Tracks," the nationally recognized tree planting program, is working with high school students from the acclaimed Maritime and Science Technology (MAST) Academy to plant more than 200 trees in an effort to restore native species from 8:30 to 12 noon on Saturday, January 9, 2010 on Virginia Key. The planting brings together CSX (NYSE: CSX), the Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) and its local partner, TREEmendous Miami, MAST Academy and the City Year national youth service program.

Virginia Key is home to the blue ribbon Grades 9-12 High School that recently was named the 49th best high school in the country by Newsweek, the Miami Seaquarium, and its acclaimed manatee rescue,Save the Manatee Club, and critical and endangered aquatic species. All of Biscayne Bay is a Manatee Protection Zone, and the Miami Seaquarium received extensive media coverage on December 9 when it released "Ilya the Wayward Manatee."

"This project is the largest 'Trees for Tracks' effort to date," says Tori Kaplan, director of corporate citizenship for CSX. "We are proud to be part of such a coordinated and necessary initiative to protect vital habitat, save native species and provide educational opportunities for area high school students. 'Trees for Tracks' is part of our larger commitment to sustainability and the environment."

"The MAST Academy provides a great opportunity to demonstrate how beautiful and unique South Florida native plants are," says Alice Ewen, director of Alliance for Community Trees (ACT). "These newly planted native trees will help filter and slow water runoff and allow for greater ground water recharge, while providing valuable habitat for birds and other species."

About 30 volunteers from the railway, the high school, ACT, along with its local affiliate, TREEmendous Miami, and City Year, where college aged students dedicate a year of community service, will plant 200 Mastic, Black Ironwood, Buccaneer Palm, Gumbo Limbo, Pigeon Plum, Inkwood, West Indian Cherry, Sargent's Cherry Palm, Fiddlewood, Wild Lime and other plant species endangered in Florida, ranging in size from 3-25 gallon and up to 10 feet in height.

The more than 35 species of native trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials, in addition to improving the local habitat, will serve as a living classroom for the Miami magnet school. "These species are particularly well-adapted to the unique South Florida climate and the island's coastal habitat where plants must endure frequent tropical storms and hurricanes and persistent salt spray. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma were particularly hard on nonnative trees," says Wafa Khalil, Ph.D., the solar energy Instructor at MAST. "Students will learn about the ecological and practical value of native species."

"Virginia Key and Biscayne Bay are some of Florida's amazingly beautiful and valuable natural resources," says Thomas Fisher, Principal of MAST Academy. "This planting is another project that proves that when the entire community works together, we can do extraordinary things to improve our environment."

The tree planting is part of CSX "Trees for Tracks," a promise to plant 21,000 trees (one for every mile of track in the railway's system) over the next five years. Other "Trees for Tracks events" have been completed in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and other communities in the CSX system.

CSX Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation's leading transportation companies, providing rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services. The company's transportation network spans approximately 21,000 miles, with service to 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia, and connects to more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at the company's web site,

City Year is a national youth service organization based in Boston, Mass. The organization unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service in schools and neighborhoods across the country, where they foster citizenship, mentor children and build up communities. For more information, visit www.cityyear.org

Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) is dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees. With 160 grassroots affiliates in 40 states and Canada, including TREEmendous Miami, ACT engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where 80% of people live -- in urban areas. ACT member organizations have planted and cared for 14.9 million trees in cities with help from 4.3 million volunteers. www.actrees.org

Established in 1999, TREEmendous Miami is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for volunteers to plant and maintain trees throughout Miami-Dade County; educates the public and policy makers about the importance and benefits of trees, as well as on the importance of correct planting and maintenance practices; and creates partnerships to further the health and sustainability of South Florida's urban forest. The mission statement of TREEmendous Miami is "We are volunteers united to help build community pride by planting, protecting and preserving trees in Miami-Dade County." As of 2009, TREEmendous Miami has planted over 8,000 trees with the help of over 10,000 Volunteers.

About The Trees For Tracks Miami Plant Species

Volunteers will plant 200 trees, most of which are young trees in 3-, 7-, and 15 gallon containers. Eleven larger 25-gallon trees will be part of the project. All are salt tolerant and appropriate to Virginia Key.

Canopy trees (large)
Black Ironwood
Gumbo Limbo
Pigeon Plum
West Indian Cherry
Sable Palmetto
Saw Palmetto
Silver Palmetto
Thatch Palm (Thrinax Morrissii)
FL Thatch Palm (Thrinax Radiata)

Midlevel trees (medium)
Buccaneer Palm
Red Ironwood
Spanish, White & Simpson's Stopper
Sergent's Cherry Palm

Understory trees (small)
Wild Lime
Pithecellobium Guadalupense or Blackbead
Wax Myrtle
Jamaica & Limber Caper
White Indigo Berry
Sevenyear Apple
Lantana Involucrata
Senna Mexicana Variety Chapmannii
Bay Cedar

For more information, please contact:

Eric Hartsock
Phone: 443-858-4437

For more from this organization:

CSX Corporation


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