Fort Hood Garrison Commander Col. Chad R. Foster, Directorate of Public Works officials and a representative from the Texas A&M Forest Service celebrated Arbor Day with a tree dedication and proclamation signing ceremony at the Pollinator Sanctuary Nov. 10.
“Our teammates here have a wide variety of experience and expertise to make this installation sustainable,” Foster said. “The Army could not do what it does here at Fort Hood without programs like this. It’s important the Army shows the rest of our society that you can have effective training, while still taking care of our natural resources and our environment.”
The ceremony was also a celebration of Fort Hood receiving the Tree City USA award for the 16th year by the Arbor Day Foundation.
“Clean air, clean water and shade on a hot day – these are all benefits of trees,” Camille Wiseman, woodland biologist, Texas A&M Forest Service, said. “You are making such a powerful impact. When you install ecological projects, you don’t see the benefits the next day. It’s such an amazing gift for the future.”
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.
“This holiday provides an opportunity to teach fundamental lessons about the stewardship of our natural resources, to learn what each of us can do to keep our community trees healthy and vibrant, and a time we can pause to appreciate trees in our lives,” Foster announced in Fort Hood’s Arbor Day proclamation.
Highlights of Fort Hood’s accomplishments included planting 1,169 trees; pruning and watering 1,619 trees; and overseeing design and landscaping plans for construction projects.
“Planting a tree is symbolic. You see it and can appreciate the tree, but it won’t be fully enjoyed until many years later. It’s a wonderful gift and a wonderful practice,” Wiseman said. “It’s only going to get better and better, year after year and tree after tree.”
Foster echoed Wiseman’s comments that individuals should not be discouraged from not seeing the immediate benefits of planting a tree.
“If everybody thinks that way, then the tree never gets planted. It goes beyond trees because many things take making an investment and contribution to your community,” Foster said. “There is nothing more powerful than that image. That is why trees are so symbolic because it takes time for them to grow. Once they are there, then you think ‘how did it emerge and where did it start?’”