Ahhh… wouldn’t it be nice to have conflict cease for just a moment?
That’s one of the reasons we plant trees and invite others to join us. When we’re planting trees, everyone is happier, more hopeful, and a bit more at peace. We call it “tree-peace” and we see it every time we hand out the work gloves and get digging. People are better for simply planting trees.
Afterwards, when we’ve collected the gloves, packed up the shovels, and look back at the young trees in the ground, we also see new friendships, new knowledge, and new connections. This is how we’re planting peace, and restoring the forests of Central Texas.
In 2015, we planted nearly 10,000 trees in Austin parks and greenbelts, gave away 4,000 trees to Austin residents, and planted nearly 690,000 pines for homeowners in Bastrop’s Lost Pines, while growing our programs to provide education to all ages in Austin around tree care. We also worked with community gardens, faith groups, and affordable housing groups to bring fruit and nut trees to neighborhoods around Austin. By working with established groups, we’re confident that the trees will receive the water and pruning they need to be productive.
At the same time, 2015 brought us some truly heartrending challenges. Austin trees stressed in the 2011 drought are finally coming down, Bastrop experienced a new fire with much of the remaining Lost Pines burned. Most devastatingly, we watched as the historic Memorial Day flood scoured 80 miles of the Blanco River—removing most of the centuries-old cypress that lined the banks and gave that part of the Hill Country its character.
We can help Central Texas recover its peaceful forests, but only with your help.
We need substantial assistance to buy new trees for the Blanco River and Bastrop, and to support our volunteer tree plantings and tree care education in the Austin area. In 2016, we need to raise $1,000,000 to cover these efforts, and we cannot do it alone.
In the coming year we’re on schedule to plant more than 5,000 seedlings and 300 container trees around Austin. We’ll give out more than 1,000 saplings at public events, and deliver some 4,000 trees to Austin area homeowners who will become stewards of our urban forest. We’ve also promised to plant more than 400,000 pine seedlings on private properties recovering from wildfire in Bastrop and to distribute another 20,000 pines to the general public in Bastrop County.
Finally, this year TreeFolks is growing its educational programming to train professionals and novices alike in proper tree care and to nurture appreciation of nature’s wonders all around us. From middle school assemblies to helping adults prepare to become certified arborists, TreeFolks is a trusted resource for tree care education. Our aim is to inform people so that they begin to see trees differently –thereby seeing their world differently!
We don’t do this work alone. Tree-peace happens through the enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers, strong community partnerships, and our generous donors. People just like you.
You can help us make more tree-peace in Central Texas with an end of year donation. A tax-deductible gift to TreeFolks will take root and become oak trees along our hiking trails, pine seedlings carpeting burned earth, and cypress trees standing sentinel between the rivers and earth.
Thaïs Perkins, Executive Director