Fort Cavazos celebrates 18 years as Tree City USA community

U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos Commander Col. Lakicia R. Stokes, Directorate of Public Works officials and Camille Wiseman with Texas A&M Forest Service plant a bur oak tree Nov. 9 at the Sportsmen’s Center picnic area, commemorating the 18th consecutive year as a Tree City USA community. (U.S. Army photo Christine Luciano, DPW Environmental)

By Christine Luciano
Fort Cavazos DPW Environmental

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos Commander Col. Lakicia R. Stokes, Directorate of Public Works officials and Camille Wiseman, a woodland ecologist with the Texas A&M Forest Service, celebrated Texas Arbor Day with a tree dedication and proclamation signing ceremony Nov. 9 at the Sportsmen’s Center picnic area here.

“Today is a great day to plant a tree and gather, as we declare Arbor Day at the Great Place,” Stokes said. “I want to thank you all for being here, but most importantly for your skills, your expertise, your dedication and your commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

April is the month National Arbor Day is celebrated, but November is the month Texas celebrates its own Texas Arbor Day because autumn is the best season to plant trees in the state. The ceremony was also a celebration of Fort Cavazos receiving the Tree City USA award for the 18th consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation.

“It’s truly an honor to be awarded for the 18th year,” Stokes said. “The Fort Cavazos Arbor Day proclamation signing is a reminder of how simple acts can create healthy communities, while searching for hope for a better tomorrow.”

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

“This team is so inspired and motivated, doing such good work being persistent about planting trees, and continuing the effort that it takes to be a Tree City USA community,” Wiseman said. “Celebrating 18 years as trailblazers is a great example to share for other organizations and installations to follow suit.”

Fort Cavazos achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

“Our biologists, environmental professionals and community partners serve as a bridging element and bring together communities to create lasting change,” Stokes said. “Thank you for continuing to highlight Fort Cavazos’ commitment to environmental stewardship, and also to creating beautification in green spaces.”

Highlights of Fort Cavazos’ accomplishments included planting 360 trees; pruning and watering more than 3,627 trees; and overseeing design and landscaping plans for construction projects.

“As we look forward, I encourage not only Team Cavazos here but other military installations and our surrounding communities to celebrate and support our efforts on planting and protecting trees,” Stokes said.

Wiseman recognized Fort Cavazos’ successes in maintaining a green space and the symbolism of planting the ceremonial bur oak tree.

“There’s not just environmental sustainability in mind but also the sustainability of this installation that continues to grow,” she said. “The planting of a tree is symbolic and important that you’re not just keeping what exists already. You are improving upon what you have — it’s a great joy to see all the motivation.”

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