Beneficiary Stories

Lost Pines Forest Community Tree Recovery Campaign

In 2011, wildfires devastated the Lost Pines Forest of Bastrop, Texas. The Bastrop County Complex fire was the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. Two people were killed by the fire, which destroyed 1,673 homes, 32,000 acres of land, 96% of Bastrop State Park, and inflicted an estimated $325 million of insured property damage.

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Credit: Joe Wolf, Flickr

The Arbor Day Foundation, through the generous support of our members and supporters, is working with our on-the-ground partners to bring back the loblolly pine trees that made the Lost Pines Forest one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, and to bring hope and healing to the people that call Bastrop home.

Robert Horton, a retired real estate broker, has long embraced the importance of community. When his 10 acre property was ravaged by the fire that caused enormous damage to Bastrop, Texas, Robert was devastated. “While Bastrop is just a little bitty spot on the map to others, for us who live here, it is important to us. It is home.”

Recovery was top-of-mind to Robert and his neighbors in Bastrop, a community closely identified with the local Lost Pines Forest that was badly burned by the fire. The Arbor Day Foundation, working with partners on the ground, help Robert and Bastrop to restore hope and begin to heal by planting trees. 5,000 trees were planted on Robert’s 10 acres. He praised the Arbor Day Foundation and its partners. “They are a resource that is so valuable that you can’t put a number on it.”

full-08[1]What does the Arbor Day Foundation Community Tree Recovery program mean to Robert Horton?  “It means reclaiming my property.  I moved here for the forest, and now the forest is gone.  But everyone who puts one tree back in the ground helps to bring the Lost Pines back.”

When natural disasters strike, the loss of trees is devastating. Due to this great need for trees as a key component of community rebuilding and recovery, the Arbor Day Foundation developed the Community Tree Recovery Program.  This program is working to create a systematic response to disasters in communities nationwide. It helps restore a healthy community tree canopy and offers a positive engagement opportunity for residents across the country that want to be involved and support community tree recovery efforts.

In coordination and cooperation with state forestry agencies and key local partners, the Arbor Day Foundation brings national awareness and identifies financial resources to support the distribution of trees to communities in need.

Continued generous donations made by our members and supporters allow the Arbor Day Foundation to provide ongoing support to many important Community Tree Recovery campaigns. This coming spring provides new opportunities for restoring a sense of hope to communities recovering from disaster as the program continues to provide trees to areas devastated by hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.

full-01[1]The Arbor Day Foundation continues to plant trees and restore hope through Arbor Day Foundation Community Tree Recovery Program campaigns in Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey and Texas. By working closely with our Foundation partners to replant trees, we are also bringing healing and hope to local communities, families and individuals.

 

Anthony Marek

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