Dozens of volunteers come together to plant 150+ trees in Orange County

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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More than 60 volunteers turned out and more than 100 trees were planted in Orange County because of it.

That was the launch by Keep America Beautiful to plant 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 Orange County RETREET efforts concludes this month with the rest of the plantings.

Christina R. Babcock of Dow Sabine River Operations said organizers were thrilled with Saturday’s initial efforts.

The site learning leader/public affairs director said the weather was pleasant.

“It was a little dry, so it was a little hard to dig, but we got it done,” she said.

The first-time event began through DOW’s corporate connection to Keep America Beautiful. RETREET is a part of the Keep America Beautiful umbrella.

“We were just looking for a unique way to do some disaster recovery locally,” Babcock said. “When we learned about the RETREET mission, it seemed like a good fit for our area. We were able to get the partnerships in place.

“We knew we wanted to do more than DOW could do alone, so we immediately grabbed some of our corporate friends. We had six sponsors. DOW was just responsible for kicking it off.”

Organizers were most proud of the teamwork generated thanks to the participation of numerous local companies and individuals families.

“We always love to see when people come together,” Babcock said. “We really believe the DOW mission is ‘stick together.’ We really look for places where we can partner with the community.”

The trees were planted at people’s homes, and the homeowners agreed to handle care and feeding of those trees for several years to get them well established.

“We feel like this program and the model they use at homes,” Babcock said. “It’s better than just dropping a bunch of different seedlings out of a plane or really throwing a ton of trees around that may not be successful. We really feel like the chance for success for these trees to be here for a generation to come is very high because of the process that they use.”

The program

This tree planting project was strategically planned and designed to help Orange County residents and local neighborhoods heal from numerous hurricanes and tornadoes over the past decade.

The mission of RETREET is to engage communities in replanting lost trees.

Organizers envision the newly planted trees offering shade, promoting energy conservation and bringing a host of environmental, economic and psychological benefits.

The 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 Babcock.

RETREET is a flagship program of Keep America Beautiful that redefines disaster relief. To date, the program has brought 6,962 trees to thousands of families recovering from natural disasters in communities across North America.