Nov. 30, 2012 — CONROE, Texas — Hundreds of Southeast Texas families still recovering from the devastating effects of last year’s drought and wildfires will receive a tangible symbol of hope next week as 500 free trees are distributed through Texas ReLeaf.
Funded by a partnership between Texas A&M Forest Service and Anheuser-Busch, the beautification and disaster relief program is providing trees to pre-registered families from Grimes, Montgomery and Waller counties — three areas that were hit particularly hard by the 2011 drought and wildfire season.
The trees will be distributed Saturday, Dec. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. at three designated locations:
• Grimes County: Plantersville Fire Department, 15985 FM 1774, Plantersville, Texas, 77363
• Montgomery County: Magnolia City Hall, 18111 Buddy Riley Blvd., Magnolia, Texas, 77354
• Waller County: San Bernard Electric Co-Op, 29244 FM 1488, Hockley, Texas, 77447
Families must pick up their tree at the designated location within their county.
“ReLeaf is much more than a tree giveaway,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Urban District Forester John Warner, who is based is Conroe and developed the program. “Yes, we want to re-green these communities. But more importantly, we hope to use these trees to revive community spirit and inspire hope.”
The program launched in October, giving priority to residents living within the burn scars created by the Riley Road and Dyer Mill fires, as well as those living within a surrounding one-mile buffer zone. Registration was later opened to all residents of the three counties.
Each participating family will receive one tree, as well as a water bag and tree guard. As part of the program, they agree to plant the tree immediately upon pick up, preferably in their front yard, and participate in a follow-up site survey done by Texas A&M Forest Service.
Roughly 1,000 trees will be provided through the program; the first half distributed Dec. 8, 2012, and the second half distributed March 2, 2013. About 10 percent have been set aside for planting on public lands such as schools, libraries and parks.
Registration for the first distribution is closed; however, trees still are available for the March distribution. Families who haven’t already signed up can do so online or by phone — www.kmcbtexas.org/releaf or 713-806-3453 — when registration re-opens to the public on Jan. 6, 2013.
Media Advisory: Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend. Program coordinators will be available for interviews, as well as a Waller County family whose farm was ravaged last fall by the Riley Road Fire.
Media can interview the Seger family at 2 p.m. at the Waller County distribution site or follow them to their farm — Blue Heron Farm in the Field Store community — to watch as they plant their tree.
Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:
John Warner, Urban District Forester in Conroe
936-273-2261 office, 936-546-3169 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Huffman, Communications Specialist
979-458-6605 office, 979-324-0708 cell, email@example.com