“I’m excited about it,” said Nicki Largent, Tree Bank Foundation executive director. “I think it will be fun. I wanted to do something a little out-of-the-box.”
The giveaway caps off the 25th anniversary celebration of the nonprofit, which literally has changed the Oklahoma landscape along highways and at parks, public buildings, schools and neighborhood common areas.
“We have planted 200,000 trees since 1987,” Largent said.
According to the organization, the trees’ positive environmental impact will assist in $1.1 million worth of air pollution being removed from Oklahoma in a year’s time. The trees at maturity are valued at $220 million.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of organizations,” said board member David Yost. “But with the Tree Bank, we have done more with less.”
He praised the nonprofit’s founder and former executive director, Mary Caffrey, who retired in September.
“Mary has worked tirelessly, especially during the lean years,” he said. “I think Nicki will do the same.”
The group’s staff is limited. The forestry projects depend on volunteers, as well as public and private partners. One such partner is the Apache Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Houston-based Apache Corp., which committed to giving away 2 million trees.
To help the Apache Foundation meet its goal, the Tree Bank held the Great Tree Giveaway earlier this fall. About 10,000 trees were distributed to 21 communities. At least 10 volunteers were recruited in each to be responsible for their ongoing care.
The Living Legacy project is the Tree Bank’s year-round giving option. For $35, a tree will be planted on public property in Central Oklahoma.
For more information, call 330- 4701 or visit thetreebank.org.