Nov. 2, 2018 — EL PASO, Texas — Texans from across the state gathered today in the high desert city of El Paso to celebrate the State Arbor Day and the importance of a community’s tree canopy.

    Today’s celebration, themed Growing our Desert Canopy, is a nod to the City’s mission to have safe and beautiful neighborhoods, a vibrant regional economy and exceptional recreational, cultural and educational opportunities, in part by increasing the urban forest.

    “Increasing the city’s canopy will certainly help us accomplish these goals and Arbor Day is a great way to start,” said Steve Lunsford, City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Land Management Superintendent.

    The celebration, hosted in Galaztan Park, a newly constructed, state-of-the-art natatorium, included a ceremony, educational activities, free tree adoptions and the planting of more than 100 trees to enhance the site and increase the existing tree canopy.

    El Paso is located on the Rio Grande across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The climate is a high desert at 3,800 feet elevation with an average rainfall of just 8.71 inches. In this environment, tree canopy is vital. Recognizing the benefits of a healthy urban forest, the City of El Paso has set out to increase the percentage of the ground that is covered by the City’s canopy.

    Keynote speaker, Greg McNicol, University of Texas – El Paso Associate Vice President for Facilities Management, said “Campus trees serve multiple roles to include shade, soil protection, energy savings, enhanced air quality, stormwater management and a habitat for wildlife.”

    Even if you missed today’s ceremony, Texas A&M Forest Service is making it easy for anyone, anywhere to participate in Arbor Day. We’ve provided tips online to help communities create a memorable Arbor Day, as well as educational activities for schools, groups and families to get outdoors and learn more about trees.

    Please visit for ideas on how to host an Arbor Day ceremony. Here you can also find instructions on how to properly plant a tree and activities about the benefits of trees, tree parts and how to identify a tree by its leaves or structure – plus so much more.

    About Texas Arbor Day: Under the leadership of the Texas Forestry Association, Texas first observed Arbor Day in 1889, celebrating the benefits that trees provide over a lifetime. Today, the Texas State Arbor Day is sponsored by Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Forestry Association and the Texas Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.




    Editor’s Note: Photos of today’s Arbor Day celebration are posted in a Flickr album at



    Steve Lunsford, City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Land Management Superintendent,

    Paul Johnson, Texas A&M Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator, 512-872-2816,

    Linda Moon, Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Manager, 979-450-1160

    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-450-6606,