Photo Shawn Arrajj
To replace a portion of the 66 trees lost to the ongoing drought, 28 trees were put into the ground at Juergens Park in Tomball Feb. 29.
Twenty-five of the trees were donated by TXU Energy—a Dallas-based electric company with offices in the Greater Houston area—as a part of its Committed to Community Growth program. The other three trees were donated by the City of Tomball.
“This program is one way we can give back to the community that has done so much for us,” said Shawn Parker, manager of community relations at TXU.
Parker attended the tree dedication ceremony and presented Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan with a golden shovel to acknowledge her efforts in restoring the city's parks.
“We live and work in these areas too,” Parker said. “This sort of thing is very important to us.”
The new trees included Live Oaks, Red Oaks, Monterrey Oaks, Cedar Elms and Texas Red Buds. These types of trees were selected because they are native to Texas and known for being drought resistant, according to David Kauffman, Tomball's director of public works.
“We wanted to replace them as soon as we could to get them established,” he said.
Even though it is uncertain how much longer the drought will last, Kauffman said the park's team has designed an irrigation system which will allow trees to get greater nourishment out of each rainfall.
The trees were grown by the Texas Trees Foundation and were distributed throughout the eight-acre park.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state is in the second worst drought in its history and an estimated 500 million trees have died. The worst drought occurred between 1950–1957.
Julie Feild, a resident who has lived in the Juergens Park area since 1996, said she is appreciative of the city's efforts. She said she lost 11 trees on her property because of the drought.
“It's nice to have something that brings the community together to do something for the environment,” she said. “This park means a lot to the community. We send out kids to come play here after school.”
A part of the tree dedication ceremony also involved honoring Willie and Delcie Juergens, who donated the land for the park to the City in 1984. Juergens Park was the first community park established in Tomball, according to Kauffman.
“This is just the continuation of the community involvement that has allowed the park to be developed over the years,” he said.
Delcie was present at the event and spoke briefly to the people gathered there.
“I'm just glad to welcome some new trees here,” she said.