4 Million Trees and Counting

A really big tree now grows in Memorial Park plus 30 new redbuds, thanks to energy firm

Giant oak from energy company to shade corner of Memorial Park

Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Apache Grove
The 17-foot tall, 7-caliber live oak ready to be planted in Apache Grove in Memorial Park. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Obie O'Brien, Sylvester Turner, John J. Christmann IV
Apache VP of governmental affairs Obie O'Brien, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Apache president and CEO John J. Christmann IV. Courtesy of Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, redbud trees for babies
Apache families with new babies gather to celebrate the planting of redbud trees in their honor. Courtesy of Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Apache Grove
The Apache Tree Grant program was started by the energy company founder Raymond Plank. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, redbud trees for babies
Into the ground for the massive live oak tree now growing in the Apache Grove in Memorial Park. Courtesy of Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Apache Grove
Thirty 15-gallon redbuds and assorted trees also added to the park. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Apache Grove
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Obie O'Brien, Sylvester Turner, John J. Christmann IV
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, redbud trees for babies
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Apache Grove
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, redbud trees for babies
Apache tree planting, Memorial Park, Jan. 2016, Apache Grove

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.