Growing a New Campus for Trees of Houston

HOUSTON – (By Cynthia Lescalleet for Realty News Report) – For 36 years Trees for Houston has distributed and planted trees – about 600,000 to date — around greater Houston. More recently, the non-profit urban tree organization also has seeded a green-filled future with plans for a permanent campus, one that consolidates its functions and will enable its capacity to plant more, reach more and teach more.

Located in Garden Oaks, on Houston’s near northwest side, the future facility’s 1.5 acre site was formerly home to an equipment rental agency at 2001 W. 34thSt., just west of Ella Boulevard.

The total project investment, including land and multi-use building, is estimated at $8.8 million. About $6.5 million has already been raised through the entity’s quiet, early phase of a fundraising campaign, dubbed Taking Root.

Given a lead gift of $3 million from The Kinder Foundation, the project — fittingly announced today on Earth Day — is expected to break ground on an eight-month buildout in December 2021. Other major gifts include $1 million from Kyle and John Kirksey Sr.; $750,000 from Chevron, a longstanding supporter of Trees for Houston; and $500,000 from the Ruth and Ted Bauer Family Foundation and the C.T Bauer Foundation.

The so-called Kinder Campus components include an onsite tree nursery, office space and an indoor-outdoor education center. Designed by Kirksey Architecture and Lauren Griffith Associates, the incipient campus will have several “green” features, such as a cistern to catch rainwater for irrigation and permeable surface area.

Having a tree nursery on the Kinder Campus “will be a game changer in our growing capacity to meet the needs of those we serve, including local municipalities, parks, schools, nonprofits, community partners and individuals,” said Barry Ward, Trees for Houston’s executive director.

Currently, the organization has two main tree farms and a network of smaller private tree farms. Their consolidation will boost annual tree distribution by an estimated 20 percent, Ward said, and will enable a more equitable regional distribution by supporting neighborhood greening initiatives.  In part this will be due to easier access to centralized tree distribution during the week and on weekends rather than the more limited pick-up times and access to private tree farms.

Over the past year, Trees for Houston has distributed and planted nearly 20,000 trees in locations like Memorial Park, Houston Arboretum, SPARK parks and Houston Zoo, as well as along esplanades, bayous and trails. Its goal is to reach 100,000 new trees within the next five years.

Planning, planting and protecting trees are a Trees for Houston commitment The Kinder Foundation is proud to support, said Nancy Kinder, foundation president and CEO.

In addition to accommodating more trees, the Kinder Campus will provide Trees for Houston with the facilities that better engage volunteers and accommodate educational opportunities that foster appreciation of natural resources.

The site has been razed into a patch of dirt and concrete and awaits its reboot into a campus, Ward said. Last week, the fundraising campaign reached a critical milestone, he noted, triggering the campus announcement, just in time for Earth Day.

April 22, 2021 Realty News Report Copyright 2021

Image CREDIT: Trees for Houston rendering by Kirksey Architecture and Lauren Griffith Associates

For more about Texas real estate, check out the book Houston 2020: America’s Boom Town – An Extreme Close Up  by Ralph Bivins. Available on Amazon

File: Growing a New Campus for Trees of Houston

 Earth Day Note: New timber office tower announced by Hines in Fort Lauderdale.



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