TXU Energy Urban Tree Farm & Education Center
In 2002 TXU Energy provided over $143,000 in funding plus an additional $44,000 in 2003 and over 360 volunteers to create the nation’s largest-known urban tree farm. The four-acre TXU Energy Urban Tree Farm at Richland College (“TXU-UTF”) features state-of-the-art production and irrigation technology with the capacity to produce over 7,000 ten-gallon trees per planting season. Trees are offered to the public through the TREES FOR TEXAS program.
Production at the TXU-UTF is limited to 7,000 ten-gallon trees due to space, water demand and water main capacity. Therefore, in order to meet the needs of the community and enable the Foundation to reach its objective of self-sufficiency as a non-profit, a new urban tree farm facility was needed. After an extensive search, the Foundation found what it believed to be the ideal location. In January 2005 the facilities department at Texas Instruments granted the Foundation permission to use a ten-acre remote parking lot located on the southwest corner of IH-635 and TI Boulevard for its new growing facility. The site is ideally suited for above-ground growing of the larger, twenty-gallon trees. It is covered with asphalt, drains well, is in close proximity to water and is fenced and secure.
On March 4, 2006, with more then 280 volunteers, staff, donors and visiting dignitaries in attendance, the grand opening ceremony was held for the new $350,000 growing facility. Important funding support has been provided by Texas Instruments (space and water), TXU Energy ($100,000), Esurance ($50,000), and the Meadows Foundation ($100,000 matching grant). In honor of the historic neighborhood in which the new facility is located, the Foundation has chosen to name the growing center the Hamilton Park Urban Tree Farm (HP-UTF). It is patterned after the TXU-UTF, located less than one mile away. Eventually, the HP-UTF will enable the Foundation to increase the capacity of its urban tree farm program by 8,600 twenty-gallon trees, while maintaining the 7,000 ten-gallon tree capacity at the TXU-UTF at Richland College. The ability to grow and sell 15,600 trees per year will enable the Foundation to become fully self-supporting, in itself a unique achievement for any non-profit organization.
At the HP-UTF, an initial inventory of diverse species will be planted in two-gallon, five-gallon, ten-gallon and twenty-gallon containers and grown until they mature. After the first growing season (March through October), the mature two, five and ten-gallon trees will be transplanted into the next larger container size. The twenty-gallon trees will be distributed to individuals, businesses, service organizations and municipalities that sponsor public tree-planting projects.
The Texas Trees Foundation has a rich history and is positioned to build on the traditions established by its founders and nurtured by its stewardship of the Urban Forest.