The Houston Ship Channel is a bustling corridor of industrial activity, with ships traveling from all over the world to the city’s factories and fossil fuel refineries.
But even in this petrochemical hot spot, nature has a foothold.
“Surprisingly enough, there was a lot of open green space,” says Ana Tapia of the nonprofit Houston Wilderness. Her group partners on the Houston Ship Channel Trees Program, an effort to use this open green space for tree-planting projects.
“One of the goals is to do forestation-style planting, so we’re not just putting down 50 trees, 60 trees,” she says. “We wanted to have a really large impact. And so we plant trees by the thousands.”
And they’re not just any trees. The group focuses on more than a dozen species that they’ve dubbed “super trees.”
These super trees — like live oak, river birch, and red maple — are native to the Houston area. They’re also good at absorbing and storing planet-warming carbon dioxide, filtering air pollutants, and soaking up water. So they can help reduce flooding in nearby communities.
“I’m passionate because these trees are going to be here way after my time on this Earth, still making that difference, still collecting that CO2, and still making a huge impact,” Tapia says.
Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman/ChavoBart Digital Media