The Arbor Day Foundation and Texas A&M Forest Service, in cooperation with the City of Rockport’s Parks and Leisure Services Department, will give away more than 600 tree saplings to Aransas County residents from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16 at Memorial Park, or until tree stock is depleted.

The giveaway will be run as a drive-through, similar to local food distribution programs, and participants will remain in their car as a COVID-19 protection measure.

Samples of the trees will be on display as individuals drive into Memorial Park. They will be asked what type of tree they would like, and it will be delivered to their vehicle. This is the third consecutive year the organizations have provided free trees to residents.

November through February are the best months for planting in our area, according to Texas Forest Service’s Bill Green.

The saplings include Live Oak, Red Mulberry, Mexican Olive, Texas Ebony, Anacua, Kidney Wood, Texas Persimmon and other varieties suitable to grow in the coastal area.

These efforts are part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s ongoing Community Tree Recovery, a national program underwritten by FedEx and Foundation members, which replaces trees in communities affected by natural disasters throughout the United States, such as Hurricane Harvey that made landfall in Rockport in 2017.

More than five million trees have been distributed through this program since its inception in 2012.

Rockport is renowned for its iconic live oak trees and other natural resources. Having taken a direct hit from Hurricane Harvey, tens of thousands of trees were devastated, many of which provided much-needed shade and nesting sites for hundreds of local and migratory bird species.

“We are extremely grateful to our partners for their generous efforts,” said Rockport Parks Director Rick Martinez. “Planting and establishing trees in our community is a much- needed part of the recovery process,”

For additional information, call the City of Rockport’s Park and Leisure Services Department at (361) 727-2158, email parks3@cityofrockport.com, or visit the city’s website at www.cityofrockport.com.

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