provided to The Santiva Chronicle
The City of Sanibel planted a pigeon plum tree in honor of Dee Serage Century at the Community Park Preserve, 2231 Periwinkle Way, as part of Friday’s 2021 Arbor Day celebration, a no-contact event this year due to the ongoing health pandemic.
Dee shared her love and deep reverence for plants and wildlife with the community for 37 years. She was one of the longest serving staff members of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, where she conceived the idea of landscaping for wildlife and implemented countless other initiatives. Dee passed away in September 2020 following a cancer diagnosis.
“Through her love and appreciation of nature, Dee researched and developed programs and educational campaigns to help our community understand the rich diversity of plants and wildlife on our barrier island,” said Pam Miller, a member of the city’s Vegetation Committee which first recommended participation in an annual observance of Arbor Day 32 years ago.
“(Dee’s) leadership, enthusiasm and creativity brought Sanibel to the forefront of programs and opportunities to share and educate residents and visitors alike, as to the environmental principles necessary for healthy co-existence with nature,” said Miller.
The pigeon plum tree, provided by McCallion & McCallion Realty and supplied by SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center, is a medium-sized shade tree that can be viewed from the park’s hiking trail. Since 1989, Sanibel has planted a tree in honor of a historical figure, local individual or organization as part of its Arbor Day celebration. Dee’s husband Luc Century said he was deeply touched to know a tree would commemorate his wife’s legacy on the islands.
“The first tree she planted in our yard on Buttonwood Lane in 1985 was a pigeon plum,” said Luc. “That same tree today is vital, strong and has many different native trees, shrubs and plants alongside of it that Dee planted and loved throughout the years. Thank you for recognizing Dee and her deep care for the plant community that is integral in who we are as caretakers of this island.”