Thousands plant trees across Houston on Arbor Day

Volunteers of all ages planted trees in Houston on Saturday in observance of Arbor Day

January 26, 2013 8:47:15 PM PST
Saturday was a beautiful day at Memorial Park -- a day more beautiful than most, some might say, as new trees were planted to recreate the urban oasis.

Thousands of volunteers spent Arbor Day planting trees across Houston.

"I think it will be more green and it will look really good," one young volunteer told us.

It's all in an effort to replace the thousands of trees killed by the drought in 2011.

The drought of recent years took its toll on the plant life at Memorial and other area parks. Experts estimate that one in 10 trees in the Houston area will die or has already died.

"The trees are starting to fall, break, not grow anymore," said True Wickman, a third grader at The Kinkaid School.

That's why Kinkaid students adopted a portion of Memorial Park to plant trees and maintain them in the coming years.

Volunteers began planting at 8am Saturday. Kids from the lower school planted seedlings they hope to watch grow for years to come. Middle and upper school students will be back at the park Monday to plant more trees.

They'll plant a total of 1,200 and will come back several times a year to maintain them.

"It will be a 20-year effort," Claire Caudill with Memorial Park Conservancy said. "But we will have a better, more healthy, more vigourously-growing forest over time."

The efforts to renew the region also extend to the Apache Corporation. Over the years, the Houston-based company has donated thousands of trees nationwide through the Apache Foundation Tree Grant Program.

On Saturday, the city joined Apache in planting the corporation's 3-millionth donated tree, right at Memorial Park.

"It cleans the air, it's good for the environment. It's a good place to visit, picnic, work out," volunteer Leslie Richardson said. "We need trees."

"In looking at all of the sites we did throughout this week, there will be 20,000 trees planted in honor of Arbor Day for this year," said Oneika Shelby with the City of Houston.

The Bayou Land Conservancy also hosted an Arbor Day tree planting event. They received 200 trees as part of the Apache Foundation Tree Grant Program.

The volunteers we spoke to at Memorial Park are certainly happy to do the work, knowing the effort they put in on Arbor Day will last for generations.

The goal, as Kinkaid student Kate Robison put it, is simple but important: "To help the trees in the park look better."

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