Keep McAllen Beautiful and the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department have recently brought together several board members to be the inaugural board of a newly established Keep McAllen Beautiful Tree Advisory Committee. The Tree Committee’s mission will include: coordinating and promoting Arbor Day activities; creating a five-year plan to plant and maintain trees on municipal-owned properties; promoting public awareness and education programs related to trees; reviewing City of McAllen department concerns relating to tree care; submitting an annual report to the McAllen City Commission; applying annually for a Tree City USA designation; and developing a list of recommended native trees for planting on City of McAllen properties.
“We were already doing a lot of these initiatives,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “The establishment of the Keep McAllen Beautiful Tree Committee just formalizes our activities to be able to direct our activities to advocate for the planting and care of native tree species, and to receive the designation as a Tree City, which has both environmental and economic benefits for our community.”
Trees provide an essential benefit to the community as they help improve air quality, provide shade, help decrease temperatures and reduce air pollutants by intercepting many airborne particles. Urban trees reduce the potential of city heat islands created by solid, impervious surfaces that change weather patterns, resulting in a decreased heat index. Trees provide wildlife habitat. Trees also help increase property values. The Tree Committee will also focus on tree plantings to help increase McAllen’s tree canopy and educating the public on tree care and maintenance.
“The proper planting of and care for trees, especially native species, in McAllen and other cities provide health, aesthetics, and financial benefits that greatly exceed their cost,” stated Mike McClure, Chairperson for the KMB Tree Committee.
Members of the Keep McAllen Beautiful Tree Committee include: Mike McClure, Chair; Linda Calderon, Vice-Chair; Marie Perez; Normalynda Zepeda; Patty Lopez; Carlos Lopez; Mary Gonzalez; Art Lopez; Claudia Gutierrez; Ernesto Sepulveda; Chelsea Howell; Gloria Doyle; Luis Lopez; Carlos Garza; and Melanie Watson.