Skip to main content


Microforest Created by Students, Veterans, and Civic Organizations Ready for Planting at Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club

| Jenn Sams |

Throughout the summer, twenty student volunteers from the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab Student Community Innovation Project (SCIP) partnered with Sarasota Urban ReForesters (SURF) and Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund to design, implement, and promote a microforest that is made up of 1,100 trees. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the location of the planting has shifted from its original location at Nathan Benderson Park to Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club.

microforest 2

“Sarasota Urban ReForesters could not be more excited about our planting site at Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club,” shared Charles Reith, SURF and Florida Veterans representative. “Stoneybrook is highly respected for its commitment to the environment and engagement of residents and stakeholders in everything from bird walks to learning tours about the community’s multifaceted environmental stewardship program. For us to be integrated into Stoneybrook’s already impressive repertoire of environmental improvement measures is a fabulous privilege indeed.”

This microforest project was designed to help initiate sustainable changes in Sarasota County and educate the general populace to make more sustainable and environmentally friendly decisions in their daily lives. Once matured, the microforest will transfer substantial amounts of carbon from the atmosphere into the soil and filter water. It is a unique tool to mitigate climate change and red tide crises. The project simultaneously provided a real-world experience for local students to bring an innovative idea from start to finish, building technical and life skills that will help them in their future pursuits. In addition to the forest, SCIP students developed a custom website and social media presence for SURF, further promoting the positive impacts the microforest delivers.

To engage the community with the project, SURF hosted its first volunteer day on July 17 and it was a major success with over 50 volunteers in attendance. The goal of the event was to create a mulched layer of the microforest that will create a dark and moist environment to block weeds and cultivate a community of beneficial microbes. In just four hours, the microforest was mulched.

microforest 3

The next step of the project is to begin the tree planting process. Microforests require dense planting to perform most efficiently so SURF aims to plant over 1,100 trees at the microforest site. The help of willing volunteers is a necessity. To lend a helping hand on the tree planting day on Saturday, November 6th, sign up . No experience is required, and training will be provided on the morning of the event.

The microforest project at Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club is made possible with the support of Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc., Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Elizabeth Moore, Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START), Rotary Club of Sarasota Bay, and The Floyd C. Johnson and Flo Singer Johnson Foundation. Follow along the project’s progress @surfmicroforest on Facebook and Instagram.

About the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab

The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded with the mission to inspire and support tomorrow’s innovators through experiential learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Through its fabrication lab and innovative programs, the Suncoast Science Center encourages people of all ages to explore ideas, build skills and confidence, and become lifelong learners. To learn more, visit Suncoast Science or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund and Sarasota Urban ReForesters (SURF)

Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists veterans, military members, and their families, including projects to counteract the threat of global warming. FLVCS Fund has helped veterans find housing, access services and support, and gain employment skills; it also provides major funding for Sarasota Urban ReForestation (SURF) projects. The SURF partnership planted and maintains a microforest at the Celery Fields Park in Sarasota. For more information, visit

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation

For more than 25 years, together with our donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, we have become the philanthropic home of nearly 1,000 families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds here. Together, we have invested over $425 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at

About Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club

Stoneybrook Golf & Country Club on Palmer Ranch is a gated community offering an active lifestyle destination for vacation getaways, snowbirds, year-round living and investment. What is more exciting than catching a glimpse of a bobcat gracefully moving through the brush, or an otter that is in front of you one moment, but gone before you can click your shutter button? We are so very fortunate here at Stoneybrook to be living in the midst of one of nature’s wonderlands. Stoneybrook has about 165 acres (out of 500+ total acres) of stormwater ponds,

wetlands, and natural areas. These areas comprise an ecosystem that offers sanctuary to a number of Florida birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and mollusks.” Learn more at Stoneybrook.

Photos from Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab

Skip to content