Ever wonder why Texas has its own Arbor Day? There’s a good reason for this because, although trees can and are established in Texas in the spring, fall is generally a better time to plant them to ensure the tree’s success in its new home during cooler temperatures. Because of this, Texas established Texas State Arbor Day in 2013, and it falls on the first Friday of November.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, for the 20th anniversary of the Chevron Tree Farm in Humble, and to celebrate Texas Arbor Day, the Trees For Houston organization partnered with Chevron’s army of volunteers. Chevron volunteers and their families were on site at The Tree Farm, potting thousands of seedlings that will be distributed in the Houston area for various community projects.
Barry Ward, executive director of Trees For Houston, is enthusiastic about the work being done by volunteers at The Tree Farm, where more than 200,000 trees have been distributed over 20 years.
“Think about a quarter of a million trees, just imagine,” Ward said, “and this is all done by volunteers. Chevron doesn’t ask for recognition; they’re doing it because the people that make up Chevron think it’s the right thing to do. As a result, an entire generation of Houstonians has had a better quality of life because of Chevron and this tree farm.”
Ward explained that because of this volunteer work force, he doesn’t have to pay for labor and can afford to wait sometimes as long as four years for seedlings to mature. He used the long-leaf pine as an example of a rare native species that needs more time for growth. Distribution of the trees goes to nonprofit projects, schools, parks, trails and neighborhoods around the Houston area.
“We plant 20,000 to 30,000 trees per year in the greater Houston area,” Ward said. He added that some of the trees, in particular ligustrum, are grown for The Houston Zoo to provide habitats.
Most recently, thousands of trees were planted along Buffalo Bayou in an effort to replace the trees damaged during Hurricane Harvey.
Chevron’s Humble Tree Farm is located off of FM 1960 East, where cows roam and more than 33 native species of tree seedlings are grown. Each year thousands of seedlings are potted to be distributed by Trees For Houston to multiple community projects.
“We have more than 100 Chevron volunteers here today. It’s one of our favorite events that families come back to do year after year,” said Margaret Cooper, government and public affairs manager for Chevron Mid-Continent Business Unit. “The benefits of having more trees in our city go beyond beauty. They improve air quality, reduce storm water runoff, support wildlife, and provide much-needed shade on hot days. Trees for Houston is doing amazing work,” Cooper said.
Established in 1998, Chevron’s Humble Tree Farm has welcomed hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers from various backgrounds and ethnicities from all over the world. Interestingly, some of the oldest trees from The Tree Farm can be found at Memorial Park.
Jeff Gustavson, vice-president of Chevron Mid-Continent Business Unit said, “Chevron employees and their families love coming out to our property here in Humble, volunteering for Trees For Houston. Over the past 20 years, we’ve planted more than 220,000 tree seedlings that grow here for a few years and then get replanted across the greater Houston area. It has been a special partnership for Chevron.”
Trees for Houston is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1983 with a mission to plant, protect and promote trees throughout the greater Houston area. For more information go to treesforhouston.org for links to volunteer, donate and submit requests.