By Almas Angeles, Keep Odessa Beautiful and

Ketha Molina, Texas811/Damage Prevention Council of Texas

In the midst of all the changes that the Permian Basin has encountered with Covid-19 and the decline in the oil and gas market, the folks in Odessa, Texas were in need of a little bit of hope and happiness.

Keep Odessa Beautiful, whose mission is “to empower Odessans to recycle, prevent litter, and beautify our community” is the incredible group that decided to bring that hope and happiness to their citizens in the form of natural beauty that includes a little bit of digging. “What better way to beautify our community than by planting a tree?” asks Alma Angeles and Claudia Ortega of Keep Odessa Beautiful “We wanted to know what a tree means to family, community and friends, so we imagined “Plant a Tree for Hope.”

And so the mission began with a collaborative partnership between Keep Odessa Beautiful, the City of Odessa Parks and Recreation, Apache Corporation, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas811, and Damage Prevention Council of Texas. The Odessa Neighborhood ShadeMakers Tree Giveaway Program focuses on giving Odessa citizens free trees to be distributed in their community neighborhoods. In the month of May, Keep Odessa Beautiful distributed 340 trees in just 10 hours. The trees ranged from Desert Willow, Vitex, Lacebark Elm, Texas Redbud and Chinese Pistache, all water wise and good for this semi-arid region located in West Texas. Cars lined up to accept their tree, agreed to plant and care for it, hear a kind word, and receive “Know What’s Below, Call 811 Before You Dig” safe digging information. According to Ketha Molina, Texas811 Damage Prevention Manager, “Plant a Tree for Hope is a wonderful project that sparked joy and happiness. It provides our community with the opportunity to beautify their homes, care for the environment, and learn safe digging practices. I’m proud to represent Texas811 on the Keep Odessa Beautiful Board of Directors.”

Events Coordinator Alma Angeles elaborates, “We thank Texas811 for providing educational resources for our citizens to call before they dig and Odessa Parks and Recreation has been one of our biggest supporters by caring for these trees, we are so grateful for all of their support. Together we make our community better.”

Mission Accomplished!