Miami Gardens wins Award for its ‘Urban Forest’

By Janey Tate….
Driving along Miami Gardens Drive one can see the luxurious Palm trees and lush green grass that allows for a serene view and the hard work put into making Miami Gardens this beautiful was not done in vain. During the City Council meeting, Joe Sulak– a Florida Urban Forestry Council Board Member– presented the City of Miami Gardens the award for Outstanding Urban Forestry Program. This award is given to communities that preserve and maintain their urban forest.

Present at the January 26 meeting to receive the award was Tom Ruiz, Public Works Director; Tsahai Codner, Keep Miami Gardens Beautiful (KMGB) Program Director, and other employees from those departments.As Program Director of Keep Miami Gardens Beautiful,Codnerfelt that the City of Miami Gardens was making great progress in their Urban Forestry initiatives, and the City Council, management team and tree crews should be recognized for their hard work and dedication to improving the landscape of the city.Codner along with Claudelle Joseph and Mike Gambino, who also work with the Keep Miami Gardens Beautiful division, helped to apply for the award. Codner says that they all were elated and extremely honored when they heard the good news.

The Florida Urban Forestry Council—a council that promotes sound urban forestry policies and practices by educating citizens and communities throughout the state of Fla– gives out various awards each year to individuals, cities, schools, and organizations that maintain their urban forest. An urban forest is the careful maintenance of trees and plants in an urban environment for the improvement of that area.

“Joe Sulak said the item that made our application stand out the most was our commitment to maintenance” Codner explained.

There has been much work that has gone into the maintenance of the forestry around Miami Gardens and Codner says they are thankful the Florida Urban Forestry Council recognized them for that.To maintain its urban forest, the Miami Gardens has initiated continuous tree planting of native plants throughout the city. They have educating their residents on the importance of creating and maintaining a healthy urban forest and they have regular tree pruning, along with removal of invasive trees which are replaced with a more diverse trees. The Public Works Departments and the Keep Miami Gardens Beautiful Division continually train staff on the best tree care practices. Codner credits Mayor Shirley Gibson and the Public Works Director, Ruiz, for their headship and backing of the program.

“Mayor Gibson is always supportive of the city’s tree canopy program. She not only talks about supporting greening our city but she shows it by making sure our tree program is well funded.”

“I would also like to add that our tree program has made such strides because of the leadership and support of our Public Works Director, Tom Ruiz.”

According to Codner, in additionto winning the Outstanding Urban Forestry Program award, MiamiGardens was recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a “Tree City” community for the 6th year in a row and received the “Growth Award” for the 2nd year in a row.

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