Save Our Pines, the 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization that saved the Australian Pines at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park from eradication, will host their 8th Annual Save Our Pines Picnic Fundraiser at Fort Zachary Taylor Beach on Sunday, March 20th from 1:00pm – 5:00pm.
The potluck-style picnic fundraiser celebrates the anniversary of the Save Our Pines organization and their successful campaign to stop the removal of the Australian Pines at Fort Zachary Taylor. Participants are asked to bring a dish to share as well as their own beverages, chairs, and blankets. Napkins, utensils, and water will be donated by Blue Heaven and Salute. Rick Worth will be on-site creating a painting to commemorate this 8th Annual Picnic, and there will be a raffle to follow, with the painting among the prizes. The Adopt-A-Pine program, which provides an opportunity for interested persons to sponsor a tree for a nominal tax-free contribution, will also be highlighted.
Though the pines have been firmly embedded in the fabric of the park for more than 50 years, in 2007, without discussion, the Park Service started removing them under the non-native species act. The news caused an uproar among Florida Keys citizens and tourists who treasure the shade of these trees for picnics, swimming, and relaxation. Through much work, dedication, and communications that garnered the support from county and state representatives, Save Our Pines organized a successful campaign and halted the destruction of Key West’s largest green space.
Their efforts continue to ensure the longevity of the pines, which were recognized last year by Mayor Cates, proclaiming every 3rd Sunday of March— now the day of the annual picnic— as Save Our Pines Day. The picnic brings the community together to enjoy each other’s company amid these natural treasures while also raising awareness and the funds needed to keep the pines in place—not only for the shade and enjoyment of the people who visit, but for the shelter and nourishment they provide for a myriad of native and migratory birds, butterflies, and other creatures.