City of Galveston giving away trees

November 20, 2009 3:09:18 PM PST
Hundreds of trees are being given away in Galveston this weekend. The next step is for neighbors on the island to plant them and replant what Hurricane Ike destroyed. Oaks, elms, Mexican plum trees and magnolia trees are among the trees to be given away. They are considered a green re-birth of Galveston. Two thousand young trees to reforest an island that's been without greenery for over a year.

"Galveston is completely barren at this point, very few trees made it. Over 30,000 trees didn't survive and here we are planting trees. It's great. We need shade for the parks and shade for the children, but the whole island needs a canopy," said Roger Johnson, Galveston Superintendent of Parks.

Over 80 percent of the island's tree canopy was destroyed after Ike. The previous drought mixed with Ike's salt water deluge had a deadly effect on island trees. Starting in July, the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for the massive dead tree removal. However FEMA does not supply money for reforestation.

The non-profit Trees for Galveston Project worked to find supporters to donate these 2,000 trees. They are free to citizens who can show proof of residency.

"We need more. We're going to be looking at five to 10 years so we're hoping people will see this as an annual donation. We can't do it all in one year," said Jackie Cole of the Trees for Galveston Project.

Neighbors like Carlos Rios need the trees in their yard. Rios says the trees, old and new, have sentimental value.

"I mean these trees really have deep roots in the community. Because of that you hear all kinds of stories about people who planted trees when their loved ones went off to war or when their babies were born. All kinds of beautiful stories," said Rios.

They will also have mulch available for planting the trees. The giveaway starts Saturday. We have a link to the City of Galveston's rules and regulations for the giveaway here.


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