February 23, 2024

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—More than 100 native trees were planted in College Station at Bee Creek Park and Tarrow Park this week. The City of College Station utilized the resources provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service Community Forestry Grants program to fund the tree planting projects.

Cooling College Station, a five-year project led by the City of College Station, was established in 2022 in an effort to mitigate the growing risk and complications of urban heat island effects. The project was awarded $43,302 in 2023 through the Human Health Equity and Accessibility grant category in the Texas A&M Forest Service Community Forestry Grants program.

“From a practical level, we are trying to lower urban heat in areas of our city where fewer natural landscapes exist,” said Laurie Brown, College Station Recreation Supervisor. “By planting these trees, we will have cooler places to commute, explore and recreate as well as a greater biodiversity to share with our community. Diversity makes our world beautiful and more sustainable in the future.”

Urban heat islands are areas of urban development that experience elevated temperatures due to concrete and structure exposure to the sun. As the heat reflection intensifies from development structures, temperatures can increase by more than seven degrees Fahrenheit. Tree presence in these areas can mitigate the urban heat island effect by providing shade and reprieve from heat, which can be made accessible by strategically planting in public spaces like parks and along sidewalks.

“Because heat islands are multifaceted issues that are affecting many communities throughout the state and country, tree plantings can significantly reduce the effects,” said Morgan Abbott, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Woodland Ecologist. “What is great about this project is that the trees being planted are native to Texas and will provide relief for this community for generations to come.”

The 105 native trees planted by 119 community members included cedar elm, chinquapin oak, Mexican plum, Mexican buckeye, desert willow, wax myrtle, Texas redbud, Anacacho orchid and American elm species.

“Planting these trees together will help give our communities a sense of accomplishment,” said Ed Udell, College Station resident and community church volunteer. “By planting trees, we become connected with the dirt. These trees will also help make people feel like they are part of a greater community.”

The Texas A&M Forest Community Forestry Grants program began in 2022, awarding grants to the City of College Station and Bexar Branches Alliance, a San Antonio non-profit, in 2023. Since then, the program has significantly grown and offered more than $16 million among seven categories this year.

With the Texas A&M Forest Service Funding Connector, Texas organizations and landowners can stay up to date with current Texas A&M Forest Service and partner organizations grants.

 

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Contacts:

Morgan Abbott, Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Woodland Ecologist; (979) 696-4274; morgan.abbott@tfs.tamu.edu

Laurie Brown, College Station Recreation Supervisor; (979) 764-3725; lbrown@cstx.gov

Texas A&M Forest Service Communications, (979) 458-6606, newsmedia@tfs.tamu.edu