For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2013
Forest Service joins with Bastrop to celebrate hope on Arbor Day
BASTROP, Texas — A little more than 18 months after the most
destructive wildfire in Texas history, this Central Texas community is coming
together once again, this time to celebrate resiliency, recovery and hope.
Those themes will be the primary focus as Bastrop residents join
with state and local dignitaries this Friday to celebrate the 124th
Texas Arbor Day.
The official state ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, April
26, 2013, at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center, 1408 Chestnut Street
in downtown Bastrop. An Education Fair will immediately follow on the adjoining
“Arbor Day is a
special day because it celebrates the bond between Texans and our trees,” said
Tom Boggus, director and state forester for the Texas A&M Forest Service
and master of ceremonies for the state observance.
“Trees can stir
strong memories and serve as markers for significant milestones in our lives.
They also have the unique ability to bring community members together and
provide them with hope for the future, which is exactly what we’re celebrating
this year in Bastrop.”
First observed in Texas in 1889, Arbor Day celebrates the planting
and nurturing of trees, as well as all the ways that trees enrich our lives.
The annual state celebration is held in a different city each year.
This year, however, the observance is designed to shine a
spotlight on the Bastrop community and its resiliency in the wake of a
devastating wildfire that charred 32,400 acres, destroyed 1,660 homes and
killed roughly 1.5 million trees.
Since the September 2011 fire, residents have come together to
reforest the community, planting more than a half-million seedlings. Plans call
for roughly 3 million to 4 million more to be planted over the next four to
The state ceremony will feature Bastrop Mayor Terry Orr, and the city will receive
a ‘Tree City USA’ designation from the Arbor Day Foundation, honoring their
commitment to urban forestry.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter
Smith will provide the Arbor Day keynote address.
The ceremony will conclude with the Education Fair, which is open
to the public. It will feature various information booths and hands-on
children’s activities, as well as a special appearance by Dozer & Tracker, 5-month-old
purebred bloodhound puppies who are in training to become Texas A&M Forest
Service’s newest K9 arson investigators.
K9 Arson Investigators Dozer & Tracker — and their human partners, Officers
Kevin Pierce and Jarred Lemmon — will be available during the fair for
interviews and tracking demonstrations. For more information on the arson dogs
program or to set up an interview, contact Communications Specialist Holly
Huffman at 979-458-6605 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts
For information on Arbor Day:
Pete Smith, Urban Forestry Manager in College Station
979-458-6658 office, 979-204-9286 cell, email@example.com
information on Arbor Day or the K9 Arson Investigator Program:
Holly Huffman, Communications Specialist in College Station
979-458-6605 office, 979-324-0708 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Bastrop Contact
Trey Job, Director of Public Works, Parks & Recreation
512-332-8932 office, 512-848-5716 cell, email@example.com