Nassau County horticulture agent wins state forest health improvement grant

By Coulter Kirkpatrick
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Nassau County horticulture agent Rebecca Jordi was recently awarded a grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' Forest Health Improvement Initiative Grant program that is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Jordi was granted $5,588 for her proposal to add to the Trees for Urban Settings plantings in the parking lot islands at the James S. Page Governmental Complex in Yulee.

Jordi, along with Master Gardner volunteers, planted several trees in 2006-08 that are recommended for wider use in residential and commercial applications. These trees that are drought-tolerant and irrigated using micro-irrigation include Alphonse Karr bamboo, bald cypress, Chinese elm, dahoon holly, Little Gem southern magnolia, oleander, post oak, Savannah holly and swamp chestnut oak.

Bald Cypress Tree
A bald cypress tree in the James S. Page Governmental Complex parking lot in Yulee

In the grant award, James Karels, director of Florida's Division of Forestry, said, "I am confident that the work you have proposed under this grant will do much to ensure the sustainability of urban and community forestry in your area, and I look forward to hearing of your success."

Included with Jordi's grant application were collaborative letters from Nassau County officials, business owners, non-profit directors and community stakeholders that supported Jordi's vision to improve the quality of life in Nassau County through horticulture programming.

"It is always challenging to compete on a state level for grant awards. We are honored to be selected for this important initiative on the sustainability of trees in our area. Once again, we owe our success to the broad-based support we received from the commissioners, county staff and community stakeholders," said Jordi.

According to a release from the Nassau County Extension Agency, details of the grant's administration are not final, though installation of the project may focus on a fall planting of the trees.



Becky Jordi

University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension Agent III Rebecca Jordi