Family helps to branch out Missouri City’s Memorial Tree Program

Photo courtesy of Missouri City
The Nichols enjoy MacNaughton Park with their dog, Stryder. Three trees were planted there in his honor.

A Missouri City couple has flip-flopped the popular money doesn’t grow on trees idiom, putting their dollars at the root of a plan to help cultivate a more affluent tree populous in the city they’ve called home for 23 years.

Tom and Regina “Reggie” Nichols, who live in Quail Valley, have generously offered to match the donations of Missouri City residents who take part in the city’s Memorial Tree Program—a program that for a $100 donation will get a 6-10 foot tree planted in memory of a friend or loved one at one of Missouri City’s parks. The Nichols’ have offered to match donations up to 50 trees—or up to $5,000.

“We love parks, and the chance to contribute in this way,” the outdoor enthusiasts, said. “We thought if 100 trees, total, could be added to the city through this program, it would be really cool and could really make a difference.”

Trees averaging between 6’to 12’ will begin being planted at five city parks in Fall 2012. City Forester Paul Wierzbicki will select the appropriate species and location for each tree, the same as he does for all trees donated under the Missouri City Memorial Tree Program. The initiative was recognized by City Council Members during their July 16 meeting and the Nichols family was saluted for their idea.

“Through this program, we have planted trees in honor of people, pets, newborns and newly-weds. When I plant and care for these trees, I can’t help but feel connected to families and individuals for whom the tree honors,” Wierzbicki said.

The Nichols family received a certificate saluting their generosity at the July 16 City Council meeting.

The trees will be mulched, fertilized, pruned and watered for two years by City staff, and if the tree dies during that time, a replacement tree will be planted at no cost. To ensure the highest survival rate, trees are planted between Oct. 30 and April 30.

Recently, the Nichols’ donated funds to have 12 trees planted at MacNaughton Park in honor of people and pets important in their lives: Theron Hale and Mary Frances Nichols (Tom’s parents) and the couple’s dogs Zeke, Stryder and Rowdy. Three trees were planted in honor of each dog, and three for Tom’s parents.

The couple hopes their charitable gesture will encourage residents to adopt a mindset similar to one Tom and Reggie picked up from Tom’s parents: Finish your homework and then go outside and play.

To the Nichols’, that means work hard; play harder. They hope the challenge will encourage people to get outside and spend more time in city parks.

“Reggie and I will get immediate enjoyment from watching the young trees grow while our children and grandchildren, and the next generation of neighbors will enjoy the shade and beauty of magnificent grown trees,” Tom said.

For more information on this program and other Forestry projects, visit the city’s website, and watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse.)

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