Monday, December 14, 2009

A Tree Is Born

Actually, 18 trees were born. Saturday was a great day. Yes, it was cold, wet and gray, but Saturday was a great day. Everybody woke to 40 degree weather and drizzle, which didn't us from getting out there. There were Steve Hauser, Dallas Urban Forest Advisorary Chair, with Karen Woodard, Dallas City Forester, and the Citizen Foresters were out there and ready to plant.Also out were an assortment of neighbors, city council members (Thanks, Delia), tree lovers, gawkers, babies, and bicyclists.

The Caddo Maples and Burr Oaks were delivered early, and they were heavy as we expected. Because of the distance from where they were delivered to the holes, we had to roll them. It was fun. I definitely recommend tree rolling for strangers. The weather chilled a bit, but everybody toughed it out. All the trees were rolled fairly quickly to their respective holes, and small crews would do the actual planting.

Watching the first tree being planted was special. This is a project that has taken a long time, and a lot of hours have been put into the planning of it by a number of people. So, it was great to see this project come to fruition. This is just phase one of a multi-phase project, but it was incredible. Hearing the people honks their horns in support as they drove by and watching all the volunteers working and having fun, I really could envision the finished project.

18 trees transformed a corner, but we've got bigger plans. Oak Cliff is a great place, and Jefferson is one of our great boulevards. Soon it will be a street people go out of there way to drive down, and we can say, "I remember when..." A huge thanks to all the volunteers who helped out and everybody who gave us some press (Roy Appleton, Granny Geek). You guys are awesome. This is a true community project, and we need you going forward. Hope you'll stay along for the ride. Things will only get better.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Rock On

It didn't take long before the guys hit rock, and then kept hitting, and hitting... All the holes have to be done before tomorrow, so it looks like there's a lot of work to do. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Nice, Chilly Day to Plant Trees

Google weather is telling me it will be 45 degrees at 9:00. Bundle up. Bring coffee. We'll have some too (Thanks, Beth), but for the love of all that's warm, I'd bring some extra. It'll be a great, cold day. See you Saturday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Date Is Set

At long last and after many obstacles, the Jefferson median tree planting is going to begin!

On Saturday Dec 12th at 9:00 am the first 32 trees will be delivered at the intersection of Jefferson and Hampton. We will be planting on both sides of Hampton. With 32 trees we need a LOT of volunteers so please forward this to your neighborhoods, schools, churches, clubs, service organizations, etc. Remind them that this is just the first step of a multi-year project. Eventually we will be planting the entire length of Jefferson from Sunset High School continuing West all the way to the Cockrell Hill city limit (a total of 1.6 miles), so it will pass by many neighborhoods. This will be absolutely transformative for this corridor and change the median from a mostly barren moonscape to a nice shady linear park. So we hope to get a broad cross-section of Oak Cliff residents helping, especially since most of us drive this area at some time or another.

Trees cool and clean the air, provide habitat, muffle traffic and other noise, and increase property values. Trees are neighborhood friendly. Any time we can add more trees we improve the quality of life for all residents of Dallas. Please help us with this effort. Dress appropriately for the weather that day (dress in layers) and bring a shovel and gloves.

If you can't help us on that date, perhaps you are able to make a financial contribution to the project. We need to buy watering bags for the trees. We will try to get free wood chips (let us know if you have connections!) but if we can't we'll need to buy them. We must keep the trees watered and mulched for the first 2 years. And for this first phase we are planting in very rocky soil. We have walked those two medians and the rock is very close to the surface so we are having the holes augered ahead of time to make planting easier. We appreciate our volunteers and don't want them to have to chip through rock with pick axes! So we need to pay someone to auger 32 holes in that rocky ground. That will be our largest expense for Phase I.

Please mark your calendar now.

Thank you!
Van Johnson

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Press

A big thanks to Roy Appleton, who writes the Oak Cliff blog for the Dallas Morning News, and Rachel Stone, who covers All Things Oak Cliff for the Advocate, for their coverage of the project. Here are links to their articles:
Dallas Morning News' Oak Cliff Blog


Advocate Magazine's Oak Cliff Blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

Call to Action


This is a very special project I'm working on in Oak Cliff. The strip of Jefferson Boulevard from around Sunset High School to west past Westmoreland has HUGE swaths of grass medians, some up to 90 feet wide and 300 feet + long. It's a bit boring in most folk's minds. So a group of us are trying to do something to make it a nicer, more beautiful "park-like" setting.

If you've not heard, there is a grass-roots organization of folks looking to add trees (and eventually, hiking paths, more shrubs and perennials, etc) to the Jefferson Medians from just west of Sunset HS to the Cockrell Hill city limits.

But with the recent budget cuts in the City of Dallas, our 1st Phase of Tree planting on Jefferson at Hampton is in jeopardy of being delayed yet another year. Yes, we have the Trees donated (Bur Oaks and Red Maples), no problem there. But we need to make up the shortfall of about $2,000 to pay to have the holes dug and get the Gator Bags (to help water) - and if we have enough extra, then we may be able to afford a watering truck to deliver the water which we have to commit to doing for the first 2 years.

PLEASE donate what ever amount you can thru the Pay-pal on this site.

Our plan is to plant in late October or early November, and we'll need volunteers to help put trees in the ground and water them for the next 2 years.

So if you want to see BIG, BEAUTIFUL TREES (and maybe more), HELP-DONATE - VOLUNTEER!