Apache donates trees to help revitalize community hit hard by drought.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah Young is the type of girl who likes to see the results of her hard work. With the help of the Apache Foundation Tree Grant Program, the results have been plentiful.
“(I am) making a difference right here, right now, by planting a tree. I can come back two years later and say, ‘I planted that tree, and it’s still alive, and it’s growing, and it’s making a difference within the environment,’” Young says.
Sarah Young helps 73-year-old retired minister and Pflugerville resident Alvin Meissner plant a tree she provided through her Girl Scout Neighborwoods project.
Through her Girl Scout project called “Neighborwoods,” Young is distributing trees in neighborhoods in Pflugerville that need greenery the most. Her arborous efforts recently got a big boost from Apache, which provided 550 trees to help her canopy the Central Texas town northeast of Austin.
“Without the support of the Apache Foundation and the tree grant, I could not have completed my Girl Scout Gold Award project,” Young says. “The 550 street trees will have a lasting effect on our community.”
The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.
In all, about 14,000 trees have been planted through Discover Green, a neighborhood tree program started in 2008 by Sarah’s brother. Since taking over the program’s reins two years ago, Young has distributed some 6,500 trees.
Young is welcome to apply for more trees from Apache in the upcoming 2013-2014 planting season, says Wendy Craven, director of the Tree Grant Program.
“What’s happening in Pflugerville is a prime example of how we want to see the tree program work,” Craven said. “Efforts to revitalize the environment with trees are being led successfully by members of the community – in this case by a remarkable young woman – and the citizens and local government officials are fully supportive and enthusiastic. This is quite a success story for Apache and we’re honored to partner with Sarah and Pflugerville.”
Planting trees in Texas has never been more vital, as the ongoing drought and rapid urban growth have taken their toll, says April Rose, executive director of TreeFolks, a Central Texas charity that promotes comprehensive urban forestry practices to public, private and government audiences.
“We’ve got to educate people that we need their help to establish new trees,” Rose says.
Part of that education is recognizing which trees to plant and where. All trees from Apache are native to the areas where they are donated to ensure their prosperity. For her Central Texas efforts, Sarah received Burlive Oak, Texas Ash, Lacebark Elm, Desert Willow, Prairie Flameleaf Sumac and Cedar Elm trees from the company. She says she evaluates each yard to make sure the trees can grow properly.
Sarah vows to continue her efforts to make Pflugerville as green as possible and expand her determination to other cities. She says she will reapply for another Apache tree grant next season.
“I would like to create more cities that are green,” she says.
"What's happening in Pflugerville is a prime example of how we want to see the tree program work," says Wendy Craven, Tree Grant Program director.
Since 2005, Apache has awarded 3.2 million trees to nonprofit institutions and communities across 16 U.S. states through grants from the Apache Foundation. The trees will improve the environment and the quality of life in these communities for decades to come.