Orange County RETREET planting life in wake of natural disasters

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Keep America Beautiful is leading a group of local, regional and national volunteers and partners in planting 140 trees (between 7 and 9 feet tall) free of charge at the homes of families in Orange, Orangefield, Mauriceville, Little Cypress, Pinehurst, Bridge City and Vidor

The effort is part of Orange County RETREET.

This tree-planting project has been strategically planned and thoughtfully designed to help Orange County residents and the neighborhoods they live in heal from numerous devastating hurricanes and tornadoes over the past decade, organizers said.

The mission of RETREET, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is to redefine disaster relief by engaging communities in replanting lost trees. Volunteers are encouraged to register at retreet.org/volunteer.

“Orange County RETREET will address an often-overlooked part of the recovery process. Trees are destroyed alongside infrastructure and housing in every natural disaster,” said Grady McGahan, senior director of Green Strategies & Community Development. “Planting new trees brings life back to an area and produces an immense psychological impact by making unfamiliar, decimated landscapes feel like home again.”

The newly planted trees stand as symbols of hope, reestablishing the environmental identity of Orange County, according to organizers.

They offer shade, promote energy conservation and bring a host of environmental, economic and psychological benefits to residents, while also creating habitats for wildlife.

Orange County RETREET represents a significant investment that will establish a legacy for generations to come.

This unique tree-planting event is made possible through contributions from Dow, Chevron Phillips, Lamar State College Orange and Solvay, with operational support from Keep Orange County Beautiful, Keep Texas Beautiful, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center funded by The Stark Foundation, Orange County Disaster Rebuild and Texas A&M Forest Service.

“We are excited to be working alongside so many amazing community partners to add trees to Orange County. Not only will it make our beloved community more beautiful, but it will have a positive impact on future generations,” said Christina Babcock, public affairs leader for Dow.