National Audubon Society
The National Arbor Day Foundation:
Moss Point, MS, March 28, 2006 -- As part of the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign, launched last year by National Audubon Society and The National Arbor Day Foundation, nearly 22,000 trees were given away at 20 sites in coastal Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana.
The Campaign was created in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, to help with the region’s tree recovery efforts. People from 43 states across America answered the call to help replant trees in Mississippi and Louisiana through financial donations that, to date, resulted in the shipment of over 25,000 trees in early March.
During the March 4 tree giveaway program, four native species of trees were available -- Bald Cypress, Red Maple, Red Oak, and Live Oak -- and were provided free of charge -to families rebuilding their lives and their homes after Katrina. The remainder of the 25,000-plus trees donated were distributed to several disaster relief sites and to other organizations.
The giveaway program benefited from the help of nearly 100 volunteers, ranging from interested individuals to civic groups and government agencies.
Individuals receiving plants shared a similar sentiment as that of Chad Thomas of DeLisle, MS. When asked why he came for the trees, Chad responded: "So I can bring life back." Jean McCool of Moss Point, MS expressed the feeling of most volunteers: "I was touched by how much the recipients appreciated getting trees."
"I was inspired by the enthusiasm and generosity of the many volunteers who gave their time and talent to help their neighbors," said Mark LaSalle, Coastal Project Director for Audubon Mississippi. "We look forward to continuing the campaign with the National Arbor Day Foundation, and establishing a long term joint effort to promote the value of native trees as well as habitat restoration and enhancement."
The Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign will continue through the remainder of 2006, and a second tree distribution is anticipated late this fall.
"We are thrilled to be a part of this campaign to help families in Mississippi and Louisiana begin the process of rebuilding their community forests and reestablishing the many benefits of trees in their yards, neighborhoods and towns," said John Rosenow, President of the National Arbor Day Foundation. "We are anxious to help distribute thousands more trees for individuals and families to plant in years to come as part of the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign."
Audubon Mississippi’s collaboration with The National Arbor Day Foundation is part of its overall initiative to promote the recovery of habitat for birds and other wildlife in areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina. The project, dubbed Operation Backyard Recovery, follows many of the themes of the Audubon At Home program, namely that by taking personal conservation action, everyone can improve the environmental health and habitat quality close to home and, collectively, over the larger landscape.
More information about Operation Backyard Recovery can be found at http://www.msaudubon.org/.
To contribute to the Katrina Tree Recovery Campaign, people can send contributions to The National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, or contribute online at www.arborday.org/Katrina.
Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.
The National Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental education organization of nearly a million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.