“All across the planet, trees — in a wonderful profusion of form and function — literally hold the world together.”
Luminant and TXU Energy have a long history of planting a lot of trees in Texas. While the locations and occasions may vary, they share the same reason: to beautify and protect our state’s environment for future generations.
TXU Energy puts down roots in communities
A 30-foot Bur Oak planted on the Texas State Capitol grounds in Austin this month marked the 200,000th tree provided by TXU Energy’s Committed to Community Growth program. The partnership with the Texas Trees Foundation works to create healthy, sustainable communities through tree planting. Together, we grow and maintain the TXU Energy Urban Tree Farm and Education Center, the country’s largest known urban tree farm, and distribute and plant trees to community partners across Texas.
“Trees are part of Texas history, Texas culture and they’re part of our future,” said Ben Taylor, deputy outreach director for Gov. Greg Abbott. “Part of being a great Texan is being a great steward of our environment, and Gov. Abbott wanted to recognize that by signing a proclamation to that effect.”
The right tree planted in the right place in the right way beautifies the community and our state and maximizes the benefits, including providing shade that can reduce a home’s energy use, increasing property value and cooling parking lots, streets, neighborhoods and cities. That’s why, since 2002, we’ve worked with community organizations across Texas to bring awareness to the importance of trees in our communities.
Earlier this week, we joined with active seniors and leaders from Neighborhood Centers Inc., Texas Trees Foundation, Trees for Houston and Papa John’s to plant a tree at Ripley House Neighborhood Center and distribute seedlings to 60 seniors to plant around their homes. And we’re celebrating Earth Day by delivering a free pine tree seedling with every Houston-area Papa John’s pizza order. That’s potentially 12,000 more trees helping create a better quality of life for Texans.
Luminant leaves legacy on reclaimed land
By planting millions of trees on thousands of acres of previously mined land, Luminant is doing its part to sustain the benefits of forests, including long-term watershed protection, reduced soil erosion and improved air quality, for future Texans. But it’s not just trees. Improving the state’s struggling grassland, reintroducing native plant species and the redevelopment of wildlife habitat are important aspects of Luminant’s land reclamation plans at all its mines.
Before Luminant ever breaks ground at a mine site, a plan is in place to reclaim the land’s topography, soil, vegetation, water resources and wildlife habitat. We’ve been doing that even before the law required it, and we’ve been committed to advancing the science of restoring the land following lignite mining. Since 1973, when researchers discovered that East Texas overburden (the rock and soil above the lignite coal) could support vegetation, Luminant’s Environmental Research Program studies shaped a reforestation process certified by the American Tree Farm System. The success of Luminant’s program proves it is possible to gain the benefit from natural resources and reclaim the land in an environmentally sound manner that adds value to it in the process.
Today, Luminant plants more than 1 million trees on reclaimed land every year – more than 36 million trees since 1975, including more than 1.2 million in 2015 – and 60 percent of the acres Luminant reclaims are reforested.
About half of Luminant’s reforested area is developed as wildlife habitat, where diverse stands of native tree species provide high-quality food and cover. As the land is reclaimed after mining, crews also plant tens of thousands of pounds of native grass and flowering plant seed to establish habitat for birds, such as grasshopper sparrows, northern bobwhites, eastern bluebirds, eastern meadowlarks and dickcissels. Luminant has even introduced once-native wild turkeys to one mine site through a partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and saved and donated rare carnivorous pitcher plants discovered at another mine to the Dallas Arboretum and the Girl Scouts’ Camp Bette Perot.
With its added benefits of improving watershed protection by reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, reforestation and the development of many wetlands has become a cornerstone of Luminant’s water stewardship and conservation.
Our family of companies believes planting trees leaves a legacy for the future while creating healthy and beautiful communities today. It’s a tradition we’re firmly rooted in.
Watch for more on our company’s environmental efforts, then meet an environmental manager who has a passion for reclaiming the land: