French Elementary celebrated Texas Arbor Day in a big way today as Harris County Precinct 4 planted a historic tree in front of the campus as part of the department’s Legacy Trees Project. 

Precinct 4’s Legacy Trees Project kicked off in 2015 with a mission of bringing historic trees featured in the Texas A&M Forest Service’s Famous Trees of Texas to Precinct 4. Commissioner R. Jack Cagle later expanded the program, which now includes opportunities to plant historic trees through the Foster-A-Legacy Tree program. 

“This is a great way for us to preserve Texas history and promote nature conservation,” community aide with Harris County Precinct 4 Kent Clingerman said. “It’s amazing to see the kids get excited about planting and caring for trees and really dig into the parks and wildlife career field. Maybe one day they’ll be working in our parks and preserving trees for generations to come.” 

French Elementary is the first school to receive a historic tree through the program, thanks to the dedication of Racer parent, Paula Witzke, who was inspired by her son, Daniel, to apply for the tree. 

“I thought it would be cool to have a tree here,” Daniel said. “It was so fun to learn about the tree and put the dirt on top of it when they planted it.” 

As fourth-grade French Racers watched the planting process closely, they linked their science curriculum to their new baby Borden Oak and learned about its rich history, coming directly from the root of a Momma Borden Oak in Galveston, Texas dating back to 1900.

“One of the great things about this is that it teaches the kids stewardship and the huge importance of trees in our ecosystem,” said certified arborist with the Harris County Precinct 4 Parks Department Laura Medick. 

The Legacy Trees Project will provide the campus with a Tree Care Guide and a Foster-A-Tree Journal to keep up with all care activities and ensure a healthy Borden Oak for years to come.

“Here at French Elementary, we love watching our students grow and flourish, and it’s going to be such a privilege to watch this tree grow and flourish as well,” French Elementary principal Holly Conroy said. 

For more information on the Legacy Trees Program (and information on how to bring more history home to Klein), visit https://www.hcp4.net/legacytrees/.




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