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Friends of The Underline Receives $2 Million from USDA Forest Service to Grow Miami’s Green Corridor

October 5, 2023
by Meg Daly

Miami, Florida – October 4, 2023 – Friends of The Underline announced it received a $2 million Urban and Community Forestry grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to grow Miami’s green corridor. The Underline is one of 385 grantees nationwide and the only non-profit to be awarded in the state of Florida.

As we grapple with unprecedented levels of heat, there is an urgency to implement effective mitigation measures. Research shows that tree canopies offer a dual benefit by not only sequestering carbon but also significantly mitigating heat. Communities with ample tree coverage experience a reduction in temperatures, with decreases ranging from 11 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Underline, Miami’s 10-mile urban trail, linear park and public art destination, will use this significant grant to bolster Miami’s urban tree canopy, advance environmental stewardship, and foster a thriving ecosystem while preserving Miami’s native habitats and diverse ecosystems. This grant supports new tree planting and microforests, tree maintenance, green job creation, community stewardship, tree education microgrants, and a green corridor monitoring plan.

Utilizing pioneering urban forestry techniques such as the Miyawaki Method, The Underline is adding micro forests with more than 4,000 trees throughout ten miles of trails and pathways. In addition to mitigating extreme heat, microforests mitigate flooding, increasing systemic preparedness for severe storms and stormwater management. Other innovative methods such as bioswales and stormwater ponds will also be incorporated. 

To better integrate The Underline’s tree canopy and forest inventory into monitoring efforts, the project will use cutting-edge technology, vital tools for assessing environmental and public health outcomes.

Friends of The Underline is dedicated to engaging individuals, groups, and organizations in the community in urban forest planning and management. This includes a special focus on engaging residents from disadvantaged communities, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring equal access to green spaces. Day in the Dirt invites community members to actively participate in tree planting and maintenance activities to promote environmental stewardship. Another community initiative, the Green Leaders Apprenticeship, provides hands-on horticultural experience to address workforce shortages in urban forestry. 

“We are honored to be a part of this ambitious program to take on the country’s climate change challenges through urban forestry,” Patrice Gillespie Smith, President and Chief Operating Officer said.  “Together, we are committed to working with Miami Dade County, key environmental non profits and the community to make Miami’s green corridor even more vibrant, resilient, and accessible to all.” 

About The Underline:The Underline is a 10-mile linear park and urban trail that runs beneath the Metrorail from the Miami River to Dadeland South. The park is designed to create a vibrant public space that connects communities, promotes health and wellness, and encourages sustainable transportation. The Underline features a variety of amenities, including bike and pedestrian paths, exercise equipment, and public art. For more information about The Underline, please visit and @theunderlinemia on Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, and Threads.