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LAKELAND, Fla., April 16, 2020 — For the fourth year in a row, Publix has donated proceeds from the sale of green Publix-branded reusable bags to the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in damaged Florida watersheds. This year’s $125,000 donation brings the four-year total to $480,000. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Publix’s donations have made it possible to plant 480,000 trees across 710 acres. These trees are estimated to intercept more than 52 billion gallons of rainfall and absorb more than 140,000 net tons of carbon dioxide over the next 50 years.

A watershed is any area of land that drains water from higher ground into bodies of water. Trees are essential for helping slow rainfall runoff, which means water has more time to soak into the ground, where it filters into the aquifer. In addition, trees help absorb excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, preventing them from entering the water system. Healthy watersheds restore natural habitats for wildlife, which can help protect endangered and threatened animal species.

“When you start learning about watersheds and what they do, you discover how foundational they are to our quality of life because almost every area of land is a watershed, especially in Florida,” said Publix Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programs Michael Hewett. “Part of our mission at Publix is to be responsible citizens in our communities. By working with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in key watersheds, we’re doing good together by restoring areas that work as natural filters for the water we all drink and use every day.”

“Over the course of four years, Publix has demonstrated how a continued commitment to tree planting can benefit an entire region in the long-term, creating thriving environments for people and wildlife,” said Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe. “We are grateful for their continued partnership and its immense impact on Florida’s watersheds.”

The $125,000 donation, made in late 2019, was used in early 2020 to plant 125,000 trees in Florida’s Little Orange Creek Preserve and Withlacoochee River watersheds. Previous years’ donations were used to plant trees in Florida’s Upper Ocklawaha River basin, Little Orange Creek Preserve and Withlacoochee River watersheds. More information about Publix’s sustainability efforts is available at