(From left) Beth Griffith and Jane, 9, choose trees for their home at the Parks and Recreation Department tree adoption before the groundbreaking ceremony.
(From left) Beth Griffith and Jane, 9, choose trees for their home at a Parks and Recreation Department tree adoption event at Phil Hardberger Park. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

After Dia de los Muertos celebrations this Friday honor loved ones who have passed on, Saturday offers a chance to focus on future generations by planting a tree.

On Saturday, the City and the University of Texas at San Antonio will hold a tree-planting event and free tree giveaway at UTSA’s main campus.

The event follows Texas Arbor Day on Friday. Most states recognize Arbor Day in April, but Texas celebrates its Arbor Day during a cooler part of the year when new trees planted here are more likely to survive.

It also commemorates San Antonio’s Tricentennial, and is one of about 40 events this year that’s been dubbed a “Treecentennial” event, Tricentennial public relations manager Laura Mayes said. City officials aim to have distributed more than 10,000 trees by the end of the year, she said.

Previous Treecentennial events on local college campuses have included the planting of a Texas red oak tree that came from former President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Mayes said.

The initiative has also included planting trees at St. Philip’s College, Northeast Lakeview College, University of the Incarnate Word, Palo Alto College, and Northwest Vista College, Mayes said.

“These trees will last for generations to come,” she said.

On Saturday, volunteers will plant around 100 trees on the UTSA campus starting at 8:30 a.m., City Forester Ross Hosea said. Organizers will provide equipment and training to help establish the new trees.

“We always joke that it’s green side up, root side down,” Hosea said. “Except we can give some tips and tricks to help the tree survive.”

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and UTSA President Taylor Eighmy will then officiate a short ceremony at 10:30 a.m., followed by a tree giveaway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Approximately 300 trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with one tree provided per household, Hosea said. They’ll be a mix of more than a dozen species of native shade and ornamental trees in a five-gallon size, including various oaks, sycamore, Texas mountain laurel, yaupon holly, Eve’s necklace, and more, he said.

Saturday’s event coincides with UTSA’s Monster Mash Pumpkin Smash, so attendees will get the chance to see pumpkins launched from custom-built trebuchets. UTSA’s Engineering Department, its College of Sciences, and its Engineering Student Council sponsor the event.

Visit UTSA’s website for more information on the event.

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Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.