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Manatee/Sarasota volunteers are working to slow down climate change one tiny forest at a time

Forests store more than a quarter of the earth's carbon dioxide. But trees don't grow fast enough to compete with the amount of fossil fuels released into the atmosphere. Lately, communities are learning that a small solution could make a big impact in fighting climate change.

It's early morning in Bradenton, where about 100 volunteers armed with shovels and pruning shears kneel in about half an acre of fresh soil for a community planting.

Manatee County master gardener Norma Kisida, crouches down and grabs a sapling.

"We're going to clip these roots so it will come out of the pot,” she says to a local school group. “Oh yeah, we don't want big roots,” answers an enthusiastic young volunteer.

By the end of the day, these gardeners will have planted about 1,800 shrubs and trees to create a microforest, a tiny densely-planted wooded area, at Heritage Harbor, a planned community just east of I-75.

Charles Reith, with the nonprofit group Sarasota Urban Reforesters, says a coalition of community groups, including Florida Veterans for Common Sense, Solutions to Avoid Red Tide, (START) and the Sarasota Bay Rotary Club, have established several microforests throughout the Gulf Coast region.

They hope that when these small but dense forests mature, they will make an impact in the fight against climate change.