Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Save Our Trees at Barton Springs

Action Alert:
Urban Forestry Board Hearing
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 19
Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.
Bring signs. Arrive on time to sign up to speak.

4. Environmental Board
6 p.m. Wednesday, May 20
Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St.
Bring signs. Arrive on time to sign up to speak.

Interview with Bill Bunch --

I have been impressed with the outpouring of love

and concern people in my home town have expressed
for our heritage trees at Barton Springs
and in Zilker Park —
in all our parks and throughout
the city—
since, under the auspices of the Barton
Springs Master Plan,
a tree report was published
that calls for cutting down
28 beautiful, old trees
around the Springs
and another 30 or so in the park.

I took the pic above so we can see how much shade
one of the City's new saplings provides, compared
to the old pecan directly behind it marked for cutting.

email council: Ask them to Save Our Trees

The children at Pease Elementary School, the oldest

school in town, know to save the trees and
have shared drawings with us thanks to their
art teacher Desi Burke, a regular morning swimmer.

email Parks Board:,,,,,,

Unfortunately, the city doesn't always, or very often even,
replace trees they cut down. This tree was cut 2 years ago.

See Twitter updates at end of post.

The children suggest we could take care of our trees.

Ya think?

email Parks Director, Sara Hensley:

The small, darker green tree by the steps was planted
for Beverly Sheffield ten years ago. The huge pecan
flush to the bath house (three people are standing nearby)
is marked for execution. In a hundred years Bev's tree will
have a similar canopy to the one they are planning
to cut down — this summer.

There are legends that it is the thirst
of Earth's great trees that draws water from
underground, makes springs flow.
We know they pull water from the sky
down to the aquifer.

Sign up to get SOS action alerts.

As I write Don Gardiner is conducting a tree-by-tree
learning tour of these trees, so we can learn how to
save as many of them as humanly possible.

email Environmental Board members:,,,,,,

The tree behind our old friend tree, supported by steel poles
since I began swimming here in 1971, is starting to provide
shade to back up the old leaning pecan. It is 30 years old.

This cutting of trees, if we don't stop it, will strip
the park and pool of the beautiful
tree canopy
for decades.

Why would anyone want to do that?

email members of the Forestry Board:,,,,

One argument is that the City will plant new --
really big
trees. That these new ones will be safe.

Can someone explain how a new tree that can be
, roots wrapped in burlap, transported
in a truck, can possibly be less
likely to fall down
than these old giants which have been
hanging on
to the earth here for more than a hundred years?

These drawings by children are laminated. We will hole
punch and tie them with ribbons to the pink tape
around the trees the city wants to cut down,
so there will be something beautiful and hopeful —
next to the Tree Report pages the City has hung
on condemned trees, blessings from the best of us,
our children,
blessings for these old souls, our heritage trees.

Add your voice to the work of creating
a tree friendly paradigm for our home town.

If you have children who love trees, laminate
their drawings and put them up next time
you're at the Springs.

Copy these links and one to earthfamilyalpha into your twitter
notes and onto your facebook pages so all your friends can help you
help us save the trees. Voices from afar are welcome —
our city loves tourists.

Here are events, official and communal, where
we can continue the work of creating a tree
friendly paradigm for our home town.

1. Saturday May 1 — 9:45 AM
Press Conference and Community Wide Meeting
for Save Our Trees at Barton Springs Pool
WHERE: Outside the Main Entrance to Barton Springs Pool
WHO: Nicki Bishop, ISA-Certified Arborist; Michell Brown Owner, Xanadu Nursery; Graham Rasor, Masters in Horticulture from Texas A&M University; Cheyenne Thomas - Arborist, Robin Rather-3 time former Chair of the Save Our Springs Alliance with her child, and other elementary children displaying their art work especially drawn for this event, Bill Bunch-Executive Director-Save Our Springs Alliance
WHAT: We, the citizens of Austin, call on the City of Austin to slow down the plans of the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to cut down 28 heritage trees at Barton Springs Pool. We are asking the City to investigate all alternative options to save these trees, as well as to consult further with local experts on their opinions and solutions to keep both citizens and the trees safe. We are not only asking the City to initiate measures to preserve the trees but also to consider a tree-friendly regime for all city parks that includes tree maintenance, planting and preventative care. We appreciate the City's concerns regarding the safety of citizens and look forward to ongoing dialogue and together finding creative solutions to raise the needed monies to ensure that all city parks retain a beautiful, natural canopy of shade from healthy, stable trees.

Click to read an independent study of the trees by ISA Certified Arborist Don Gardner.
Click to view the Tree Report commissioned by the City of Austin.
Here is their map of all the trees scheduled to be removed or pruned and monitored.

Pink and green tape has been tied around the living trees to reflect the color coding on the map which indicates which trees will be removed (pink tape) or pruned and monitored (green tape).

2. Sunday, May 17th, noon - 3
Save The Trees Activist Picnic
South gate (off Robert E Lee)
Music, poetry, letter, cell, text, emails to council and boards and commissions.
go to "Save Barton Springs Trees" on Facebook.

Urban Forestry Board Hearing
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 19
Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.
Bring signs. Arrive on time to sign up to speak.

4. Environmental Board
6 p.m. Wednesday, May 20
Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St.
Bring signs. Arrive on time to sign up to speak.

5. Scheduled hearing for 5/14 to amend city code to make
it harder to cut down heritge trees has been postponed.
Right now the new schedule calls for a briefing on the
proposed new ordinances on June 11 and action on June
18. Stay tuned.

email council: Ask them to Save Our Trees

©Susan Bright, 2009

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published two-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh

Click to see Austin New Real program: Tree Friendly Paradigm featuring Susan Bright (SB), John Correy (arborist) and Pam Thompson (show host) recorded 23rd, tech by Stefan Wray.

    follow me on Twitter

    Earthfamily Principles
    Earthfamilyalpha Content IV
    Earthfamilyalpha Content III
    Earthfamilyalpha Content II
    Earthfamilyalpha Content

    Labels: , , , , ,