In early October, Diane Zelezinski, the principal of Foster Elementary School in Kingwood, received an email from Dr. Roger Brown, deputy superintendent of Humble ISD, that she thought was going to be a routine message. Instead it turned out to be the start of a whirlwind project she had never dreamed of for her school. That email led to the events of a special Friday in November when volunteers appeared in groups all day long and 90 trees were delivered on flatbed trucks, spaced in time so that the volunteers could plant the trees throughout the day as they arrived. By the end of that Friday, while the students were at school to see it all happen, the trees had all been planted, watered and tethered in place. Zelezinski was amazed and gratified, as were the kids who watched it all happen.

“Dr. Brown advised me in his email that Insperity, along with Trees for Houston, had chosen Foster for their joint reforestation project,” she said. Trees For Houston and its corporate supporters and partners choose schools annually in the Greater Houston area to promote reforestation by planting trees on the campus. This year Foster Elementary School had been selected.

“When I started here seven years ago, Foster had lost a lot of trees due to the drought. The trees that remain are getting to the point where more may have to be removed relatively soon, so this project came along at the right time,” explained Zelezinski.

Through Brown, Zelezinski was put in touch with Corinn Price of Insperity and Katherine Newton of Trees for Houston. Price serves as Insperity’s director of community involvement and Newton is project director for Trees of Houston. Together they surveyed the campus, which included checking the drainage characteristics, the kind of trees to plant and where to plant them.

The locations were chosen to create a perimeter privacy barrier where appropriate and to provide shade in the play areas. They scheduled the planting date and logistics for early November.

“When we determined what kind of trees to plant, they included a wide range of trees including pines, cypress, oaks, pin oaks and a couple of maples,” Zelezinski said. The project started Friday, Nov. 1, at 7 a.m. and finished at 4 p.m. Insperity volunteers came in four or five groups of about 15 per group throughout the day.

“They planted the trees all around the perimeter and in the play areas. They mulched them all and staked them and for two years they will water and replace any that don’t make it,” she said, adding that Trees for Houston estimated it as a $27,000 project.

“I am so grateful for this. It is going to make a huge difference here in a matter of five years,” she said.

Trees for Houston is a nonprofit organization dedicated to planting, protecting and promoting trees. It has been planting trees since 1983, beginning in the downtown area of Houston and expanding over time into the Greater Houston area, including Kingwood.

Trees for Houston has joined with its partners and their volunteers to plant over half a million trees. One of its major programs is “Trees for Schools,” developed to provide and plant much-needed trees on Houston-area school campuses. The program plants trees on about 50 campuses a year and has planted nearly 42,000 trees since it began.

Insperity is one of the nation’s largest full-service human resources support companies serving its clients since 1986. Its corporate headquarters are located in Kingwood and it has offices in more than 70 cities across the United States.

Its employees actively support community projects throughout the communities it serves.

 

Bruce Olson
Author: Bruce OlsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.

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