Texas A&M Forest Service Celebrates Arbor Day With School Presentations, Tree Plantings
Foresters and staff members from Texas A&M Forest Service commemorated Texas Arbor Day on Friday, November 4, 2022, with school presentations and tree plantings across the state.
More than 90 Texas A&M Forest Service employees made 42 Texas Arbor Day presentations at 34 schools and organizations. The presentations reached more than 4,400 students at campuses in Austin, Tyler, Longview, Dallas, Rosenberg, Buda, Pecan Gap, Gladewater, McGregor, College Station, Corpus Christi, Pflugerville, Sachse and Tool.
“Texas Arbor Day is a special day to celebrate trees and the benefits they provide, benefits like clean air, clean water, cooler temperatures and even improved health,” said Gretchen Riley, Texas A&M Forest Service Forest Systems Department Head. “What better place to talk about the uniqueness and value of trees than with the next generation of stewards.”
Texas A&M Forest Service staff members planted 43 trees on school campuses and distributed 1,075 seedlings.
The presentations, for students in kindergarten through eighth grades, explained the life cycle of trees and how forests work, as well as the history of Texas Arbor Day.
“Things like this really help the students make connections with their academics and the world we live in,” said Andrea Richard, Bowie Elementary Principal. “Having a knowledge of that relationship to science helps make their learning more relevant.”
Blue Bell Creameries donated ice cream for students at Rosenberg’s Bowie Elementary School.
Jacey Tosh, Texas A&M Forest Service Conservation Education Coordinator, said Texas Arbor Day is about more than planting trees and serves as a reminder that our lives are connected to forests and the trees around us.
“It’s about bringing trees and forests back into the everyday hearts and minds of all Texans,” Tosh said. “In the end, we protect what we love, we love only what we understand, and we only understand what we are taught. Sharing conservation and tree education with schools and students all across the state ensures that the future of forests is as bright as we hope it will be.”
Separately, 700 seedlings were distributed to 28 organizations for planting across the state in celebration of Texas Arbor Day.
The seedlings for Friday’s events were donated by Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Trees Foundation and Trees for Houston. Texas Arbor Day partners include Texas Forestry Association and Texas Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture.
In the City of Princeton, more than 1,200 trees were planted along Tickey Creek in a Green Futures corporate sustainability partnership coordinated by Texas A&M Forest Service.
The tree-planting project is an effort to protect the water quality in Lavon Lake, the primary source of water for the North Texas Municipal Water District that supplies drinking water for more than 2 million people. The new trees will help stabilize soil and reduce erosion while reducing the urban heat island impacts in the region. The trees will provide shade while improving air circulation to the City of Princeton.
Other project partners were McKinney Parks Foundation, Texas Master Naturalist-Blackland Prairie Chapter, Collin County Master Gardeners, Heard Natural Science Museum, North Texas Municipal Water District, and the Texas Conservation Alliance. The planting was made possible through funding from the Pepsi Green Team.
Each year, Texas celebrates Arbor Day on the first Friday of November, increasing awareness of the benefits and value of trees. This year’s theme It Takes All Kinds emphasizes the value of diversity — in tree species, ecoregions and people — by engaging all ages and walks of life across the state.
For details about the history of Arbor Day in Texas, visit the Texas A&M Forest Service website.