Foundation and Texas partners launch campaign to restore Lost Pines Forest destroyed in Bastrop fire

Earlier this morning, we joined key Texas partners in launching the Lost Pines Forest Recovery Campaign, a multi-year public-private partnership to raise money to plant more than 4 million trees on public and private land.

Dan Lambe, the Foundation’s vice president of programs, attended and spoke at today’s event in Bastrop State Park, the nucleus of the September 2011 fire that destroyed more homes than any other in state history and raged through 95 percent of the park’s 6,600 acres.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas A&M Forest Service are serving as on-the-ground partners in the five-year replanting effort. Both were crucial to making today’s launch happen.

The Lost Pines ecosystem includes more than 75,000 acres of loblolly pines scattered across sections of five Texas counties. It is a precious natural resource for Texans and the state’s visitors, and we’re honored to be a part of restoring it.

The Foundation is taking the lead on fundraising for what is expected to be a $4 million effort. So far, we have secured commitments from Mary Kay, Inc., FedEx, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Nokia and Apache Corporation, and we’re looking forward to adding even more corporate sponsors to the list.

We still need you help to restore the Lost Pines forest to pre-disaster condition. You can donate today at arborday.org/texas.

Carter Smith,Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director, summed up the need well when he said “no one entity has the resources to do it all alone, but we’re fortunate that people care deeply about natural treasures like the Lost Pines and Bastrop State Park.”

He added: “Bringing back the trees is an essential step to restore the region’s ecological lifeblood. If we each donate a little, together we can do a great deal.”

Learn more about the Lost Pines Forest Recovery Campaign and make a donation today.

UPDATE: Here is the Foundation’s Dan Lambe (far right) watering longleaf loblolly seedling with other speakers, dignitaries and corporate sponsors in Bastrop State Park this morning. Additional photos are available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Left to right: Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp, Texas State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, Carter Smith (Texas Parks and Wildlife), Dan Lambe

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