Above, volunteers help plant trees along the Interstate 35 frontage road in San Marcos as a part of Scenic Texas' '1 Million Trees Across Texas' Project. Photo courtesy of Scenic Texas
Creating a more scenic San Marcos
Scenic Texas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the state’s visual environment, kicked off an ambitious project this week to plant 1 million trees in Texas.
The 35-year-old organization will plant trees across the state and along roadways over the next 35 years.
“As an organization with a mission to create a more scenic state, we can’t think of an undertaking more central to our goals,” said Sarah Tober, Scenic Texas executive director. “We’re excited about rolling up our sleeves and digging in.”
The nonprofit spent the weekend planting more than 100 trees along the Interstate 35 corridor in San Marcos. Scenic Texas partnered with the San Marcos River Foundation and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for its inaugural tree planting.
“The San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) was honored to be the first recipient of Scenic Texas's donation of native tree saplings which were recently planted on SMRF's East Side Preserve along the IH-35 frontage road,” said SMRF Executive Director Virginia Condie. “Approximately 110 saplings were mulched, caged and watered by a group of 10 volunteers, and the watering will continue regularly for the next two years for proper root establishment. Scenic Texas has a goal of planting 1 million trees across Texas close to major thoroughfares in need of native trees and shrubs, and SMRF is grateful for the contribution that will be made for future generations to come.”
Above, a volunteer begins to plant a tree along the Interstate 35 frontage road in San Marcos as a part of Scenic Texas' '1 Million Trees Across Texas' Project. Photo courtesy of Scenic Texas
The seeds for the 1 Million Tree Project were planted at the beginning of 2020, when Dripping Springs resident and Scenic Texas member Bill Brock reached out to the organization. Brock had been retired for a little over a week when he came to the organization with his lofty plan. A self-proclaimed environmentalist, he’d spent time in the Peace Corps planting trees in Guatemala. No matter how many organizations he volunteered with, Brock says he “always comes back to trees.”
It was on one of his many road trips along the I-35 corridor that he and his wife began to notice a lack of greenery, especially along intersections. One of their favorite stretches of road – the 27-mile stretch of the Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road in the Fort Worth area — got them wondering why the rest of the state couldn’t look more like that. “It may be a toll road, but it’s a beautiful drive,” Brock said.
Scenic Texas believes the state should be proactively investing in planting trees, especially along highways and in other highly trafficked parts of the state. The nonprofit is actively seeking partners and volunteers to begin future planting events at locations across the state. If you’d like to sponsor a tree-planting initiative in your community, please contact Scenic Texas at firstname.lastname@example.org.