Please note: We are no longer accepting applications for the program.
The Memorial Day flash floods of 2015 caused death and massive property damage to homes along the Blanco River in Hays County, Texas. The river surged to more than 10 feet above previous record levels within hours of the 13 inches of rainfall. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and 13 people perished as a direct result. In addition, extensive deforestation along 61 miles of the Blanco River, in Hays County, removed most of the 500 year-old bald cypress trees and the majority of the riverside forest.
TreeFolks, working with Hays County, private landowners, and other stakeholders, developed Trees for the Blanco and together helped accelerate the recovery of the riverside forest. Under this plan, all owners of private land damaged by the historic flood in Hays County are eligible to receive free reforestation services.
In just two seasons, TreeFolks planted over 140,000 trees along 20 miles of river. Seven percent of the trees went to private parks and sixteen percent went to public parks. This wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of partners and sponsors including Hays County, Impact Austin, the Arbor Day Foundation, Apache, H-E-B, David Weekley Homes, and The Leaning Pear. As we enter the third and final season, TreeFolks is on track to finish the restoration and plant trees along 10 more miles of river.
To see the project to completion, and reforest the hundreds of flood-damaged acres each year, TreeFolks purchases tens of thousands of native tree seedlings grown from local adapted seed stock. In the 2017/2018 season, TreeFolks planted 30 different species, including Bald Cypress, Sycamore, Boxelder, and Buttonbush. This diversity helps meet the crucial components of a Central Texas riparian forest, including stature, bank stabilization, food for wildlife, soil improvement (through nitrogen fixation), and aquatic appropriate species.
The replanting process contributes to the landowner’s personal healing process, and to the community overall. The outpouring of support from community volunteers is uplifting; trees give landowners hope as their land returns to a beautiful riparian forest once again. When people plant trees together, community bonds are strengthened, meeting TreeFolks’ mission to empower central Texans through the planting and caring for trees. TreeFolks will engage approximately 300 volunteers, including local students, in the 2018/2019 season who will receive first-hand experience and education while planting native trees along the Blanco River. When landowners work alongside hundreds of volunteers to plant trees, the healing process is accelerated both for the land and the property owners.
By offering sapling trees and planting services, TreeFolks and partners will initiate and accelerate the growth of native riparian forest. Through education materials and consultations, they will empower landowners to oversee their grow zones and long-term health of their water front property, increasing the riparian and the community ecosystem’s resilience to recover from future floods and droughts.
View PDF of frequently asked questions Want to plant trees at one of our Trees for the Blanco planting events? Check out our volunteer opportunities and sign up online.
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Our Trees for the Blanco program won the 2018 Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center’s John Covert Watson Award for Vision! Click here to read more.
Is your organization looking for a way to support trees in our community? Consider sponsorship of Trees for the Blanco! For more information on sponsorship, donations, and general giving, please contact email@example.com