Oh, how sad it was when the massive oak tree near the corner of Memorial Drive and West Memorial Loop in Memorial Park succumbed to the drought of 2011. But Friday was a happy day for that park space as Apache Corporation planted a 17-foot tall, 7-inch caliber live oak in the center of what is known as Apache Grove.
This brings the total number of trees, planted by the energy company across the 17 states where it does business, to an astonishing 4 million. Ceremonies were in order for this milestone planting. Apache CEO and president John J. Christmann IV hosted the festivities that included Mayor Sylvester Turner, Obie O’Brien, Apache's vice president of governmental affairs, representatives of the Houston Parks Department and past Apache Tree Program grant recipients.
In addition to the oak, the company planted 30 15-gallon redbud and assorted trees in honor of employees who either adopted or had a baby in the past year. Since that program began three years ago, the Apache Grove has been enriched by more than 100 beautifully flowering redbuds.
"Our tree program has been a great way for our employees to volunteer in their communities and for the company to make a lasting contribution," Christmann said. "Here in our hometown of Houston, we have donated over 400,000 trees with nearly 100,000 of them going to public parks."
In fact, over a three-year period, Apache donated 10,000 trees to the beautification of Buffalo Bayou Park.
The Apache Tree Grant Program was originated by Apache founder Raymond Plank, who launched the program with a modest initial goal of donating 1 million trees. As of Friday, that number reached 4 million.