Nov. 3, 2017 — GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Texans from across the state gathered today in Grand Prairie, Texas to celebrate the State Arbor Day and all the benefits trees provide to people and communities.

Festivities were held at Grand Central and featured an Arbor Day ceremony, educational activities, tree plantings and free tree adoptions. Participants included guest speaker Dan Lambe of the Arbor Day Foundation based in Nebraska City, Nebraska, 1,000 students from Grand Prairie ISD and the eclectic folk/rock band Trout Fishing in America.

Today’s celebration was themed Tree-Epic and was held at Epic Waters, the premier city health, wellness, recreation waterpark in the United States. Exhibiting an appreciation for the city’s urban forest, the park’s construction crews relocated more than 150 existing trees when developing the site, planted 250 new trees and plan to plant more in the future.

“Grand Prairie has larger-than-life commitment to urban forestry,” said Susan Henson, arborist with the Grand Prairie Parks, Arts and Recreation Department. “And we are honored to host the state Arbor Day celebration in such an epic way.”

Today’s celebration of trees also highlighted the importance of restoring the urban forest when communities are affected by natural disasters. In Texas, the most recent would be Hurricane Harvey.

According to Lambe, it will take everyone working together to restore community tree canopies affected by the hurricane. The Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery program launched a campaign to help Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico restore urban forest canopies damaged and lost due to the recent hurricanes.

“The people of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have suffered great personal and physical loss,” said Lambe. “By replanting, we strive to bring healing and hope to the people and the communities in which they live. Over time, these trees will restore the canopy and beauty to these cities.”

Learn how you can help by visiting arborday.org/hurricanes.

Texans unable to attend today’s Arbor Day event can still celebrate trees in their own communities.

Texas A&M Forest Service is making it easy for anyone, anywhere to participate in Arbor Day. We’ve provided tips online to help communities anywhere create a memorable Arbor Day, as well as educational activities for schools, groups and families to get outdoors and learn more about trees.

Please visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/arborday/ for ideas on how to host an Arbor Day ceremony. Here you can also find instructions on how to properly plant a tree and activities about the benefits of trees, tree parts and how to identify a tree by its leaves or structure – plus so much more.

About Arbor Day

J. Sterling Morton established the first Arbor Day in the United States more than 140 years ago. Now, it is observed throughout the nation, and in Texas we have been observing this holiday for 128 years. The official Texas State Arbor Day celebration is held in a different host city each year on the first Friday in November.

Contacts:

Susan Henson, Grand Prairie Parks, Arts and Recreation Department, 817-521-1308, shenson@GPTX.org

Courtney Blevins, Texas A&M Forest Service, 817-879-3974, cblevins@tfs.tamu.edu

Texas A&M Forest Service Communications, 979-458-6606, newsmedia@tfs.tamu.edu