Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort

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Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort
TREE Inc Logo.jpg
Motto TREE Plants Trees!.
Formation 1983
Headquarters Tampa Bay Area, Florida, USA
Website http://www.treeinc.org

Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc. or more commonly known as "T.R.E.E. Inc.", is a 33-year-old grassroots nonprofit environmental organization based out of the Tampa Bay Area. It was instrumental in bringing the concept of volunteers raising and then planting trees along the interstates, roadways and in parks of the greater Tampa Bay Area to beautify and preserve the environment. To date, T.R.E.E. Inc. has planted over 26,593 trees at no cost to the taxpayer.

Early years 1983-1987[edit]

The organization started out as a small group of friends that wanted to see more trees being planted in the Tampa Bay Area. These friends took that purpose, moved forward on their own time and expense, and on February 8, 1983, T.R.E.E. Inc. was incorporated under Florida law.

T.R.E.E. Inc.'s modus operandi throughout most of its existence had been to purchase bare root tree seedlings, container grow them in 1-gallon containers for one growing season, step them up into 3-gallon containers for a second growing season and donate or out-plant them prior to their third growing season.

The variety of tree that was most commonly used during this period was the Genetically Improved or Superior North Florida Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii var. "elliottii"). It was selected due to its adaptability, rapid growth and relative ease of maintenance after establishment. Hardwood trees during that time were typically purchased as 4" potted seedlings. Varieties typically used were Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) and Loblolly Bay (Gordonia lasianthus).

Transition years 1988-1989[edit]

In January 1988, William Moriaty stepped down as President so that he could relocate to Gainesville, Florida with his wife Karen Cashon as she would be attending the University of Florida later that year. As a result, an almost entirely new slate of Directors served from 1988 to 1989. Vice President Bob Scheible was the only Founding member to serve during this two-year period in the same capacity that he did at the organization's creation.

Major program initiatives, 1990-2004[edit]

1990 was the major turning point that would set the stage for revised and newly created corporate philosophies that would guide T.R.E.E. Inc. for well over the next decade of its existence.

The Genetically Improved or Superior North Florida Slash Pine began to lose favor to the locally indigenous Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris), "Ocala" Race Sand Pine (Pinus clausa) and South Florida Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii var. "densa"). The availability of Florida grown bare root hardwood seedlings further broadened the plant palette to include Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), and Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) as well as dependable stand-bys, Sweetgum and Pignut Hickory.

Due to a major push by members living in Pinellas County, Florida, the organization's name was changed through Florida law on July 24, 1991 from its original title of Tampa Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc. to Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc.

On August 9, 1991, T.R.E.E. Inc. was awarded 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status from the United States Internal Revenue Service as an Educational organization.

Major sponsors and new programs 2005 to present[edit]

Beginning in 2005, T.R.E.E. Inc. secured its first major sponsor, Esurance. Esurance is an on-line insurance provider based out of San Francisco, California. Beginning with the esurance St. Pete Beach Tree-Athalon planting on September 24, 2005, T.R.E.E. Inc. has had an additional ten volunteer tree plantings sponsored by Esurance.

The Esurance plantings were a radical departure from T.R.E.E. Inc.'s previous plantings which were conducted almost solely through the use of 3-gallon material grown at its own nursery. This gave T.R.E.E. Inc. the unprecedented opportunity to plant large sized 30-gallon trees, affording it the opportunity to finally conduct plantings with a much higher visual impact. In addition, the Esurance projects led to a gradual phasing out of T.R.E.E. Inc. having to depend so heavily upon its own nursery to obtain trees.

In addition to the Esurance plantings, T.R.E.E. Inc. began introducing programs such as the Tulip Poplar Repopulation Program, Orange and Seminole Counties, Florida where East Central Florida Eco-Type Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) grown from seed of trees native to that area have been planted since that time in Orlando, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, and Casselberry, Florida.

Similar programs include the Longleaf Pine Repopulation Program in Temple Terrace, Florida and the Egmont Key Reforestation Initiative at Egmont Key State Park in Hillsborough County, Florida.

In December 2008, T.R.E.E. Inc. received a major contribution from The Home Depot Foundation and was also instrumental in assisting the N.F.L. Environmental Program and Florida Division of Forestry with a Super Bowl Trail of Trees planting initiative in April 2009.

On November 11, 2010, T.R.E.E. Inc. was instrumental in creating a listing of recommended flowering, conifer, hardwood and salt tolerant trees for the City of Dunedin's proposed Trailside Oasis Arboretum. On October 15, 2011, the first major installation of the Arboretum was made possible through the Esurance Dunedin Trailside Oasis Arboretum Planting Project that used a large proportion of low-chill temperate flowering trees such as "St. Lukes" Purple Leaf Plum, Taiwan Flowering Cherry and "Weaver" White Flowering Dogwood.

On October 15, 2012, T.R.E.E. Inc. participated in a "Scotties Trees Rock" planting project at Pepin Academies in Tampa.

On January 16, 2016, T.R.E.E. Inc. continued a decade old tradition of giving away free tree seedlings for the City of Temple Terrace's Florida Arbor Day Celebration. The organization has already secured tree seedlings for the City's 2017 Florida Arbor Day Celebration in January.

Vision 2020[edit]

The Vision 2020 Program was adopted on January 3, 2010 to be used as a guiding force in T.R.E.E. Inc.'s development and operations over the next ten years.

In addition to placing emphasis on continuing its Flowering Tree, Tulip Poplar, Longleaf Pine and South Florida Slash Pine reforestation initiatives, T.R.E.E. Inc. intends to expand operations into Manatee and Sarasota Counties, as well as convert all paper records into electronic form and register all corporate records with the United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. The first such electronic record to be forwarded to the United States Copyright Office was on August 15, 2010 featuring the organization's 1983 Annual Yearbook. Initially expected to take until the end of February 2011 to complete, all electronic registration of records dating from 1983 to 2010 were completed on February 11, 2011.

New Milestones[edit]

On July 14, 2012, the organization's 400th planting project occurred at the University of Florida Teaching Garden located at the Plant City, Florida campus of Hillsborough Community College. A 5-gallon Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) was planted by Founding Member William Moriaty. The University relinquished maintenance of the Garden in July 20125.

On February 9, 2013 the organization celebrated its 30th Anniversary by planting low-chill flowering trees at Serena Park in Temple Terrace, Florida. The highlight of the planting was a tree dedicated to the namesake of this Central Florida community, the "Temple" Tangor. At one time, Temple Terrace had one of the largest citrus groves in the world, consisting of 5,000 acres of this variety, which was itself named after the Founder of the Florida Citrus Exchange, William Chase Temple.

On November 3, 2016 TREE Inc. planted its 200th variety of tree with the planting of a 3-gallon Ceiba speciosa (Silk Floss Tree) at the Teaching Garden located at the Plant City campus of Hillsborough Community College.


There are five major components to the organization's Mission:

  1. Beautify and reforest the Tampa Bay area through the planting of native trees.
  2. Further public awareness about the merits of reforesting public lands.
  3. Further public awareness about the planting and preserving of native trees and underutilized trees of special interest.
  4. Work in conjunction with, and in support of, other organizations similar purpose.
  5. Be a clearinghouse of scientific and educational information to the public on the merits of tree species selection for use in the Tampa Bay area in accordance with the intent of its I.R.S. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.


T.R.E.E. Inc. has over the past 33 years:

  • Conducted 434 reforestation projects.
  • Furnished the original design, and subsequent installation on November 23, 1996, of what would become the Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove at the Museum of Science and Industry (Tampa).
  • With the permission of the Florida Department of Transportation, made history by planting over 4,600 native trees in ten (10) TREE DAY on I-75 projects along Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County, Florida from 1986 to 1996.
  • Donated and planted approximately 26,593 native trees, 15,500 native wildflowers and 9,657 native shrubs, vines or ground covers utilizing an estimated 2,800 volunteers since T.R.E.E. Inc.'s creation on February 8, 1983.
  • Assisted in a joint tree planting effort with the National Football League and Florida Division of Forestry consisting of over 20 projects in the Greater Tampa Bay Area for Super Bowl XLIII.
  • On November 11, 2010, assisted Dunedin, Florida with a list of recommended trees for its proposed Trailside Oasis Arboretum, followed up with the Arboretum's first major planting on October 15, 2011.
  • Assisted in the installation of a public community garden at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg, Florida beginning July 1, 2012.
  • Celebrated its "Green Anniversary" by planting low-chill flowering trees and a "Temple" Tangor at Serena Park in Temple Terrace, Florida on February 9, 2013.


T.R.E.E. Inc. has a quarterly on-line newsletter available to the public called Arbor Bio. The newsletter can be found by linking to the external T.R.E.E. Web Site referenced below.

Notable directors and members[edit]

  • Richard Strickland - President/Secretary 2012-2015 Secretary only, 2002-2012
  • Bob Scheible - Founder and Vice President, 1983-2015
  • John Blechschmidt - Treasurer, 1990-2003, 2009-2015
  • Greg Howe - Founder and Secretary, 1983, 1985-1987 past President 1988-1989
  • William Moriaty - Founder and past President, 1983-1987, 1990-2012
  • Greg Van Stavern - Founder and past Treasurer, 1983 past Secretary 1984, 1990
  • Nancy Buckley - Honorary Founder and past Treasurer, 1983-1987
  • Kathy Caffentzis - Past Treasurer, 1988-1989
  • Patricia Chellman - Past Secretary, 1988-1989
  • Richard Bailey - Past Secretary, 1991-2001
  • Jennifer Thompson - Past Public Relations Director, 2005-2006
  • Jennifer Moore - Public Relations Coordinator, 2007-2015
  • Dr. Sylvia Earle - Lifetime Member of T.R.E.E. Inc, past Chief Scientist of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, presently "Explorer-in-Residence" with the National Geographic

Lifetime Members[edit]

  • William Moriaty (Founder)
  • Bob Scheible (Founder)
  • Greg Van Stavern (Founder)
  • Greg Howe (Founder)
  • Autumn Balthazor
  • Sheryl Bowman
  • Cliff Brown
  • Debbie Butts
  • Dade City Garden Club
  • Dana Carver
  • Alice Earle (deceased)
  • Dr. Sylvia Earle
  • Ross J. Ferlita
  • Hugh Gramling
  • Horticultural Alliance, Inc.
  • Harvey A. Hunt, P.E.
  • William Jonson
  • Brightman Logan
  • Revello Medical Centers
  • Rick Strickland
  • Barbara Waddell (deceased)
  • Dr. Richard Wunderlin
  • Brett Youngster
  • Richard A. Bailey (Honorary)
  • John L. Blechschmidt Jr. (Honorary)
  • Nancy Buckley (Honorary)
  • Bob Der (Honorary)
  • Kathy Caffentzis (Honorary)
  • Steve Graham (Honorary)
  • Gary L. Henry, R.L.A. (Honorary)
  • Susana Thompson (Honorary)

Reference links[edit]

  • T.R.E.E. Inc. Web Site [1]