Giving Back Through Conservation

In St. Petersburg, Fla, Grannan Group is committed to conserving Florida’s natural beauty through tree planting and sets sights on ways to create an even bigger impact.

For Angela Grannan, broker-owner at The Grannan Group in St. Petersburg, Fla., trees have long fascinated and enthralled her. When she meets me in a quaint local coffee shop, she wears a silver-toned necklace of a tree adorned in multicolored stones.

“Trees are our lifeline,” she says. “It’s no coincidence that the branches of a tree look like the branches of our lungs.”

She’s had a lifelong affair with a love for nature, which started in college at Indiana University, where she studied environmental science and made a decades-long career for herself as an environmental consultant for commercial property.

Her interest in the real estate business has always paralleled her love for the earth, and in her eyes, the two go hand-in-hand.

“There’s no reason why real estate and the environment shouldn’t be a symbiotic relationship.”

When she and her husband Chad struck out on their own to start The GRANNAN Group in April 2022, she says they wanted to incorporate an element into their business model that would allow them to create a legacy.

“I kept coming back to my passion, and we landed on the decision to plant native trees for every property we sell.”

She called local conservation organization Keep Pinellas Beautiful with the hope of building a partnership, and together they worked to bring her concept to life. In January, Plant Your Roots was launched in a local park.

The Plant Your Roots program’s mission to “increase the native canopy and reduce greenhouse gases for the good of humanity” requires a multifaceted approach, Grannan says. First, community involvement plays an integral role. Education is necessary as well, and Grannan also realizes that to make a big impact, major investment is needed from all who are involved.

Right now, Grannan and her husband donate a portion of their commission from each residential sale for the planting of one tree. Since environmental sustainability is a pillar of their brokerage, their agents also contribute to tree planting. The size of the tree depends on the price of the home sold.

“For instance, we plant one 15-gallon tree for a $500,000 home.”

Three people in matching t-shirts showing off their shirts

Photo courtesy of The GRANNAN Group

Left to Right: Michelle N. Shoup, Licensed Assistant and Transaction Coordinator, Chad Grannan, broker-owner of The GRANNAN Group and Angela Grannan, broker-owner of The GRANNAN Group show off their Plant Your Roots Program t-shirts

Her clients have the option of having the tree planted on their property or they can choose to have it planted somewhere else in the city. If they opt for the latter, they get to pick the tree and the location for planting. Grannan provides the client with a flip book of options, all of which are native to Florida. Once the tree is chosen, Grannan sends money through to Plant Your Roots and alerts Keep Pinellas Beautiful who swoops in, securing the tree and planting it. The client receives a “Certificate of Environmental Stewardship,” complete with the kind of tree planted and GPS coordinates to find the tree.

Along with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Grannan says she’s also cultivated a relationship with the City of St. Petersburg as a recipient of the trees. When a client wants to donate the tree rather than have it planted in their yard—and they don’t have a preference for the type of tree or location—a team of city employees, including the Urban Forestry Director, helps determine where a tree is needed in the city.

“It was important for us to be in contact with the people on the ground that have really pertinent information about the community itself and what’s needed,” Grannan says.

The Grannans have their sights set on growing the Plant Your Roots program past tree planting. On the residential side, the brokerage has its fair stake in the local luxury market. They also represent commercial clients. The Grannans realize they could elevate the program’s impact in these high-dollar transactions.

“I think about what’s possible, and I’m asking myself what might be possible in the luxury space right now,” she says. “We could probably do some kind of exclusive ecological restoration project in the owner’s name, and we could have a bigger impact. In commercial and in new development, we might be able to do something bigger than that.”

Grannan says she wants to start holding events centered around environmental restoration, too, so that the local community knows what’s needed and feels as though they’re a part of the conversation. She’s partnering with local green businesses. One such example is the locally owned Sans Market in downtown St. Petersburg. The store sells products—toiletries, kitchen necessities, bulk soaps, detergents and the like—made of environmentally friendly materials and that promote a zero-waste lifestyle.

“We want to be a true community partner, so we want to support community businesses and organizations that are aligned,” she says.

The small, gulf-coast city is just the beginning, Grannan says. The brokerage has already expanded south to Naples. The Plant Your Roots program has grown past Pinellas County as well. Within three months, the program has planted trees in the four neighboring counties. She hopes that the Plant Your Roots program becomes a nationwide name with affiliates all over the country.

“This isn’t just about the one native tree that we plant on a lot. It’s about getting everyone involved. It’s about building community here, and all over. We want this to be Plant Your Roots America.”