Thousands of trees re-planted in Houston

January 21, 2012 8:30:42 PM PST
Thousands of new trees are taking root in Houston in celebration of Arbor Day.

More than 1,000 volunteers put on their gardening gloves and picked up shovels to plant 25,000 oak, cypress and pine trees in four city parks as part of a massive effort to replace trees lost in the devastating drought.

"You couldn't see the highway and [the trees] muffled the sound a lot. Now, you can obviously see the highway," Vivian Chambers said.

Memorial Park was once densely forested, but it has drastically changed since last year's devastating drought forced crews to chop down about 11,000 trees.

"They've lost a lot of trees. This really, dramatically different than it used to [be]," Clayton Chambers said.

All across the city, thousands more dead trees had to go.

It was a sad sight for Clayton and Vivian Chambers, so they knew they had to help.

They joined hundreds of their fellow Houstonians on Saturday, digging holes and planting new trees. This Arbor Day event marks the biggest re-planting effort in the city's history.

The Chambers -- who also planted two trees in honor of loved ones -- realize it may take years, but they are holding out hope things will grow back to normal.

"Someday, we'll be able to ... tell our grandkids, 'We planted that tree you are sitting under, you know,'" Vivian Chambers said.

Volunteers hope the new trees will preserve the parks for future generations. Pipes are also being put in the ground for irrigation.

Eyewitness News anchor Gina Gaston emceed the event at Memorial Park. Trees were also planted at Hermann, MacGregor and Mason Parks. Those parks were hardest hit by the drought.

It's estimated that one in 10 trees in the Houston area will die within two years as a result of the recent drought, which could worsen the city's air quality and make Houston warmer, according to Trees for Houston.

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