Communities around the globe faced multiple adversities in 2020. Areas in Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico endured wildfires, hurricanes and winter storms along with the COVID-19 global pandemic. Through it all, we responded to support those in need.
The Apache Corporation Tree Grant Program was especially impactful in the 2020-2021 planting season through grants of more than 64,000 trees to 56 nonprofit and government organizations in the United States throughout Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Below are some of the organizations who shared their experience from the past year and how the Tree Grant Program provided hope for the future of their environmental initiatives.
Trust for Public Land – Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge
The coastal wetlands of Louisiana saw severe impacts from 2020 hurricanes and tropical storms. Southwest Louisiana experienced the highest rates of wetland loss in recent years. The Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge located near Franklin, LA and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), conserves over 9,000 acres of coastal bottomland hardwood forests and bald cypress tupelo swamp habitats. In 2020, we provided 10,000 bareroot seedlings for planting at the refuge to support conservation and the preservation of this natural habit for native and endangered wildlife. Protected wildlife in the area includes the Louisiana Black Bear, the American alligator, wading birds, and various amphibian and reptile species.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Apache granted 100 trees for distribution to residents in Houston’s East End community through the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Continuing its legacy of creating and stewarding transformative parks, trails and unique waterfront destinations, Buffalo Bayou Partnership launched its master plan in November 2019 – which was delayed to Spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – for the bayou’s East Sector that encompasses the entire area from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. Addressing a four-mile stretch of the bayou, the master plan envisions integrating new bayou parks and trails, dynamic recreational and cultural destinations, and creating bikeway and greenspace paths deep into the historic East End and Fifth Ward neighborhoods.
Galveston Bay Foundation
The Galveston Bay Foundation’s new “Living Building” headquarters in Kemah, TX will serve as an educational center where people of all ages can learn about habitat restoration, water protection, land conservation and the diversity of the ecosystem along the Texas Gulf Coast. Apache granted 300 trees to Galveston Bay Foundation’s mission for restoration of its native prairie, installing a hiking trail system, and creating a series of bio-swales complete with pollutant-filtering wetland vegetation. “We are really excited to be part of the Apache Corporation Tree Grant Program,” said Bob Stokes, president, Galveston Bay Foundation. “The 300 trees we received this year will be used to help reforest our new 30-acre headquarters site in Kemah. We intend to host thousands of visitors each year and look forward to having them witness the growth of these trees and the reforestation that will occur over the years” said Stokes.
City of Edinburg
Apache granted 125 trees to the City of Edinburg to support reforestation in the city’s neighborhoods and South Texas parks, which were impacted by Hurricane Hanna in summer 2020. In commemoration of Texas Arbor Day, and to support many neighbors in need, the city held an early morning community tree giveaway. Dozens of local residents arrived hours before the event even began to get I line for the trees.
“This excitement speaks to our community’s needs for trees. Edinburg is still recovering from Hurricane Hanna, which devastated our community with catastrophic flooding, power outages for days, damage to buildings and homes, and the major destruction of trees,” said Ron Garza, city manager. Garza continued, “This grant will have a lasting impact on our city’s ability to capture stormwater runoff, beautify our neighborhoods, mitigate heat, preserve wildlife habitats, and improve the community’s energy footprint. We deeply appreciate Apache for your years of support, and most especially for responding to our community’s critical need of trees to support our green infrastructure after Hurricane Hanna.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service South Texas Refuge
The southern tip of Texas is considered one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America. “Habitat restoration and reforestation on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s South Texas Refuge Complex has been an ongoing effort for over 40 years,” said Kimberly Wahl-Villareal, plant ecologist, USFWS Reforestation and Restoration program and 2020 grant recipient. “This program strives to restore the ecological function of the Tamaulipan thornscrub forests and preserve the wildlife species which these forests support, such as the endangered ocelot and a host of migratory birds. Through Apache’s generous and continued support over the past six years, the USFWS has been able to plant 75,000 tree seedlings across 98 acres, restoring habitat for the native flora and fauna of south Texas.”
Tree New Mexico
Since founding in 1990, Tree New Mexico and its partners have helped to plant 1.25 million trees in communities across the state. The community of Albuquerque, NM has only a 7% overall tree canopy, and has experienced some of the highest losses of trees in the country over the past three years. We granted 100 trees to Tree New Mexico’s ABQ NeighborWoods program, which directly benefits the underserved residents in Albuquerque’s South Broadway and San Jose Neighborhoods. Tree New Mexico also partners with the NM Forestry Division to serve communities across the state in developing and sustaining healthy urban forests.
Keep Odessa Beautiful
Apache provided 400 trees to the city of Odessa, TX for its “Plant a Tree for Hope” community tree giveaway. Keep Odessa Beautiful provides trees to residents to support its mission of neighborhood beautification and environmental sustainability. “Trees bring hope and renewal to our community, especially with the difficulties we have experienced in the past year,” said Claudia Ortega, executive director. “Working alongside Apache to provide trees for our residents will make our city a better place to live, work and play in!”