The City of Houston is fortifying T.C. Jester Park with thousands of trees, and members of the community are invited to help plant them.
As part of the city’s Arbor Day, a tree-planting event will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at T.C. Jester Park, located at 4201 T.C. Jester Blvd. The event will begin near the park’s pool, where parking is available for volunteers, and then 2,500 trees will be planted in pre-dug holes along White Oak Bayou.
Kelli Ondracek, natural resources manager for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, said city workers are planting about 500 larger trees leading up to the event. She said it’s all part of a citywide initiative to create forested buffer strips along Houston’s bayous, which improve air quality, assist wildlife and mitigate flooding, erosion and the effects of climate change.
“Historically, before development and the channelization of the bayous, the bayous were lined with trees,” Ondraceck said. “A lot of that has been cleared, so the city has this initiative to install these forested buffers back into our park areas.”
Ondracek said the project is largely funded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. She said most of the trees to be planted are being provided by Apache Corporation, a Houston-based oil and gas exploration and production company.
Ondracek also said the tree-planting event will have a “minimal impact” on the popular 21-hole disc golf course at the park. She said two of the holes will be reconfigured — the basket for No. 14 and tee box for No. 15 will be relocated — but the course will otherwise remain intact and unchanged.
“We are working with the disc golf (players),” Ondraceck said. “We are working around their course.”
Ondraceck said the 18-hole disc golf course at nearby Watonga Park, which is north of West 43rd Street and not part of the tree-planting event, was recently removed but not by the city. She described it as a rogue course that was installed without the city’s approval or assistance.
“It’s not us that took them,” Ondracek said of the baskets.” Maybe whatever group that put them there knows that we were likely to remove it, because it’s not supposed to be there. Maybe they came and got their baskets before we took them out. I’m not sure.”
For more information about volunteering for the tree-planting event at T.C. Jester Park, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.