|November 3, 2023
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Foresters and staff members from Texas A&M Forest Service celebrated Texas Arbor Day on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, with school presentations, tree plantings and tree giveaways across the state.
Over 9,600 tree seedlings were given to students, organizations and communities throughout the day.
More than 70 Texas A&M Forest Service employees made Texas Arbor Day presentations at 36 schools and organizations. The presentations reached more than 8,000 students at campuses in Austin, Leander, San Marcus, Mabank, Longview, Houston, College Station, Gilmer, Orange, Paris, Tomball, Mesquite, Burleson, Justin, Black Springs, Dallas, McGregor, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Brownsville, Hidalgo, El Paso, Lubbock and Ralls.
“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 importance and value of trees than with the next generation of stewards.”
Along with presentations, Texas A&M Forest Service staff planted 3-gallon trees on school campuses, donated by the Texas Trees Foundation. Seven thousand bur oak and loblolly pine seedlings, donated by Texas A&M Forest Service, were also distributed to students.
The presentations, customized to the student’s grade level, explained the life cycle of trees and the many benefits they provide humans and our economy, as well as the history of Texas Arbor Day.
“Our students are learning about soil science right now, so giving them those real-world experiences – tangible things that they can see, that they can touch, being able to learn about trees and plant them is going to give them a better appreciation for trees and what they do for our environment and our community,” said Amanda Krueger, IL Texas College Station Vice Principle.
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, 760 bur oak seedlings were distributed to 38 organizations for planting across the state to celebrate Texas Arbor Day.
Texas Arbor Day partners include the Texas Forestry Association and the Texas Chapter of International Society of Arboriculture.
In Spring, 70 mature trees were planted along the esplanades of Cypress Drive in a Green Futures corporate sustainability partnership coordinated by Texas A&M Forest Service.
The tree-planting project is an effort to address the impacts of the urban heat island affecting the Houston greater area. Urban heat islands are areas with elevated temperatures due to a lack of green space and have far-reaching effects on public health, energy consumption and overall quality of life.
Other project partners were Repsol, the Texas Conservation Alliance, the Houston-Galveston Area Council, Trees for Houston, Harris County Precinct 3 and the National Association of Conservation Districts.
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 If Trees Could Talk emphasizes the value of trees — to people, ecosystems and our economy.
For details about the history of Arbor Day in Texas, visit tfsweb.tamu.edu/arborday.