FORT HOOD, Texas - The U.S. Army Garrison — Fort Hood command team, Directorate of Public Works officials and a representative from the Texas A&M Forest Service celebrated Texas Arbor Day with a tree dedication and proclamation signing ceremony at the Pollinator Sanctuary here, Nov. 8.
“Our biologists, environmental professionals and community partners are a bridging element that brings together communities that make a difference and create lasting change not only in our environment but in our behaviors,” Col. Chad R. Foster, U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood commander, said.
The ceremony was also a celebration of Fort Hood receiving the Tree City USA award for the 17th consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation.
“Seventeen years - you don’t think about a military installation being as involved and successful in conservation efforts,” Foster said. “From tagging monarchs to the Cen-Tex Sustainable Communities Partnership, we further safeguard our environment. Without our natural resources, none of us would be here and our installation would not be able to function.”
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Fort Hood achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
“The theme of this year’s Texas Arbor Day is that ‘it takes all kinds,’” Camille Wiseman, woodland ecologist, Texas A&M Forest Service, said. “What I love about the management and dedication to 17 years of Arbor Day celebrations is the different species of trees and understanding not just how they impact us, but also how trees have an impact to all the beings we share spaces within the urban environment and in the wildland.”
April is the month National Arbor Day is celebrated, but November is the month Texas celebrates its own Texas Arbor Day, because autumn is the best season to plant trees in the state.
“We plant a tree this time of year because of the carbohydrates and nutrients focus downward into the root system,” Foster said. “Whereas in the spring, it is a little bit different. The root system won’t be well established, as we head to the blast furnace in the summer.”
Wiseman recognized Fort Hood’s successes in maintaining a green space and the benefits of planting the ceremonial cedar elm tree.
“This is a tree that will support song birds and mammals and will also give us shade. Not to mention the different species that Fort Hood has planted over the years,” she said. “Diversity is the key to resilience, keeping up with the urban forest and bringing a way to honor the people that get to enjoy this space.”
Highlights of Fort Hood’s accomplishments included planting 648 trees; pruning and watering more than 3,500 trees; and overseeing design and landscaping plans for construction projects.
“Today’s proclamation signing is a reminder of how simple things can create healthier communities for us all while serving as hope for a better tomorrow as we proclaim today as Fort Hood Arbor Day,” Foster said. “Thanks for continuing what you do that allows for our commitment to environmental stewardship and developing beautification in our green spaces.”