Trees Destin: Non-Profit seeks to beautify city

Savannah Vasquez
Allen French hopes his new non-profit organization, Trees Destin, will help beautify the city.

Under the shade of live oaks, magnolias and pines at Clement Taylor Park,  Allen French shared his vision of beautifying Destin. This week French, and three other community members; David Pleat, Jason Conner and Jerry Sullivan, are launching Trees Destin; a non-profit aimed at planting trees and educating the public of their importance to the environment.

“Trees Destin is dedicated to improving Destin’s tree canopy and enhancing Destin’s beauty through planning, conservation and education,” said French.

The idea first came to French when he moved to Destin from Atlanta two years ago.

“There’s a non-profit in Atlanta called Trees Atlanta, so I’m patterning our non-profit after that,” he said. “I was also on a tree commission for the city of Alpharetta, Georgia, and we were able to plant trees all around the city.”

 Noting that much of Destin along U.S. Hwy. 98 is sparsely landscaped, French said that area will be the first place the group will focus on.

“Just driving down 98, especially in the harbor district I notice it,” he said. “One of my visions is, in the harbor district, to put in a combination of spectacular palms, live oaks and magnolia trees. Destin can be just as impressive as anyone else, so why not go for something that could really impress our guests.” 

As a new organization, French said the first line of business will be to fund raise and garner community interest in planting projects. An inaugural meeting is taking place March 18, at Bric-a-Brac from 5 to 7 p.m. and all are welcome to attend.

“The meeting will be for people to ask questions and learn a little more about us,” said French.

Already, the group has plans to plant and is working to gather funds for the project.

“In April we plan to plant holly trees around the sculpture at Mattie Kelly Arts Cultural Village,” said French. “Living here, I look at Destin as my front yard, and I think it should look as beautiful as you would want your own front yard to look.”