Back in 2010, Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass set a goal to plant 5,000 trees in five years.
More than 4,000 trees have been planted in Tyler in those three years, and the city is hosting an event this weekend to help them get closer to reaching that 5,000 tree milestone.
Tree Tyler Day will be held Saturday, and Mayor Bass said that it's a day to celebrate the Tyler community and the natural beauty our trees provide.
"It's a fun, family day," she said. "It's a time to get out and meet people from all parts of the community. And it's just a great way to be engaged and have a very productive morning knowing that you're giving back to the community and you're helping maintain the beauty of the community."
City officials say East Texas' trees give Tyler a distinct look.
"If you've ever flown into Tyler, you've noticed that when you fly in it's just a solid forest and you don't really see a lot of the housing and the concrete that you would in Dallas or Houston," said Luke Porter, arborist for the city of Tyler.
"It's about protecting and growing our urban forests," Bass said of the day and of the initiative. "We have trees everywhere you look in Tyler, but we do not take them for granted. We want to make sure we continue to have this beauty."
And that's why Bass started the Mayor's Tree Tyler Initiative in April 2010 with the goal of planting 5,000 trees in five years.
She knows more than 4,000 trees have been planted over the last three years, but she also knows that planting these trees will be a continual cycle.
"They're born, they die just like humans do in their own way," said Bass. "So we want to make sure we're continuing to replace, to grow, to protect that wonderful greenery we have here in Tyler and that beautiful urban forest."
Porter and his team have been preparing for Saturday's event, digging holes and moving trees to three city parks and one roadside median.
"We try to plant color trees, trees that in the fall change colors and have a nice aesthetic appeal to them," said Porter. "And then we're also planting around our benches and dugouts to create shade for the people that are watching the sporting events."
They've chosen native trees to plant that East Texans will enjoy for years to come.
"What we tell everybody is you don't plant a tree for your generation, you plant a tree for the next generation. And so we're planting trees for our kids," said Porter.
One of the ways the city has been able to come so close to its goal of planting 5,000 trees in five years is that Tyler residents can register the trees they plant at their own homes on a city website.
You can also find tips there for trees that grow well in East Texas.
Tree Tyler Day starts Saturday at 10 a.m. with a pep rally at Harvey Convention Center. Breakfast will be provided by Einstein's Bagels, and city officials ask volunteers to bring a shovel and gloves. They will direct volunteers to one of the three city parks (Faulkner, Lindsey, and Woldert) or to the Three Lakes Parkway median to plant trees.
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