Pine trees in Everglades National Park.

Last week, the Florida State Parks Foundation reached its goal of raising $100,000 in one year to plant 100,000 new longleaf pine trees in our state parks. So why not run it back? The foundation announced Thursday that it is launching a new challenge to raise another $100,000 for 100,000 more trees by Earth Day next year.

"This campaign has really resonated with the public, and so we have extended it for one more year with the goal of planting another 100,000 seedlings by April 2022," foundation president Gil Ziffer said in a press release. "For every $1 donated, we will plant one longleaf pine seedling in a Florida state park. People can even dedicate a tree to a loved one. It is a gift that will continue to grow and flourish for many years to come."

A pine seedling planted by the Florida State Parks Foundation in Keystone Heights' Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park.

The country's longleaf pine population is now just a fraction of what it once was, because of development, the use of its wood for timber and storms. According to the foundation, the trees help support more than 30 endangered and threatened animal species.

Planting longleaf pines has already begun in 12 Florida state parks, including Osprey’s Oscar Scherer State Park. Bradenton’s Lake Manatee State Park is designated to receive new pines, as well.

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