Tree Rising – One Man’s Quest to Replace a Forest

Can one man’s dream restore a forest? This is the story of Ray Wunderlich III, a St Pete, Florida native and local activist, who ‘waved his magic wand’ and a forest began. It’s an inspiring story of the community in St Petersburg coming together – amazing teamwork to restore a beautiful forest near the beach, reclaiming a dump site. The project was February to March 2022.

Millions of trees in Florida have been felled for development, these projects start to undo those damages. Ray saw hundreds of pines being felled locally and wanted to replace each one…somewhere. He rounded up the support of several individual and organizations to donate money and trees. Then he went on the hunt for a site to restore. He offered to plant 300 trees for the City of St. Petersburg but was turned down. Pinellas County offered him a waste site at popular Ft. Desoto Park. A team of non-profits and volunteer came together to plant a new “forest”.

Ray has completed over 200 planting projects in Pinellas.

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