Galveston residents line up for free trees

HOUSTON Residents started lining up as early as 5:30am Saturday even though the gates didn't open until 9am, all for a chance to get their hands on a few trees and work to replenish what Ike damaged.

It was first come, first served as residents made a mad dash to grab and go. Pearl Coleman was first in line after waiting for hours.

"Through Ike, I lost plenty of trees in my yard and I was coming to replace some of them," she said.

Around 2,400 trees were free to citizens with proof of residency. The trees were donated to help reforest Galveston Island, still desperate for vegetation two years after Hurricane Ike swept through and destroyed 30,000 trees.

"We got 9-and-a-half feet of water on my lot, so it killed all of the grass and the trees and my house and everything," said Galveston resident William Jenkins. "So we're at the point where we are building back."

David Schuler with the Galveston Island tree conservancy says though residents and volunteers have re-planted thousands of trees, he's hoping this kind of enthusiasm will make an even bigger impact on the island.

"It has made such a huge difference in terms of shade and habitat and everything else," he said. "It's so important to bring trees back to the island. It just makes all the difference in the world."

The tree conservancy estimates it could take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to reforest the island.

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