The Florida Urban Forestry Council (FUFC) recently recognized Florida public power utility JEA as the state’s 2021 outstanding utility for being a champion in protecting and advancing the urban forest industry in Florida.
The awards program recognizes achievements of organizations and individuals in their efforts to manage urban forests in their communities, JEA noted.
FUFC also recognized City of Jacksonville Urban Forester Dalton Smith as Outstanding Professional of 2021 and the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for Outstanding Project.
The Outstanding Utility Award recognizes JEA’s commitment to “a sustainable and resilient tree canopy” as part of its mission to build a better community.
JEA’s service territory covers more than 918 square miles which incorporates 7,000 miles of electrical transmission and distribution lines. JEA’s professional foresters, vegetative specialists, certified arborists and engineers work to build utility infrastructure compatible with a sustainable and resilient urban tree canopy.
A few of the best practices that earned JEA’s recognition by FUFC include:
- Vegetative Management team of professional foresters and arborists: JEA’s vegetative management team includes degreed foresters and ISA certified arborists. International Society of Arboriculture Arborist certification also is a condition of employment for team members.
- Storm Preparation and Response: JEA has a “Restoration 1-2-3” rapid restoration program that allows the utility to assess and repair our facilities and restore power across our territory as quickly and safely as possible.
- Communication and Public Education: Communication and tree-based public education is at the root of JEA’s success with vegetative management. JEA has established a JEA TREECARE customer service line, accessible by phone or online. Tree-related inquiries or issues are separated from the utility’s general customer care communication channels and are promptly referred to a utility forester or arborist.
- Safety: Utility arboriculture demands particular emphasis on safety. The occupation combines the dangers of working in close proximity to high-voltage and other utility hazards with the high-risks of tree work.
- JEA Ambassador Program: All JEA foresters and arborists are enrolled in JEA’s Ambassador Program in which they incorporate tree-related utility issues and messaging into community engagement activities.
- Recognition by national Arbor Day Foundation: JEA learned last month that it has been recognized as a Tree-Line-USA utility for its quality tree care, training, and public education related to utility arboricultural practices. This is the eleventh consecutive year JEA has received this recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation.