Waxahachie city representatives and residents braved the cold temperatures to gather for a tree-planting ceremony at Lee Pen Park in celebration of Texas Arbor Day, Nov. 1.

The two newly planted oak trees are part of the city’s Keep Waxahachie Beautiful tree-planting program.

Director of Parks and Recreation John Smith said the initiative was all about preserving the planet for future generations.

“I know that people that do this and come to these ceremonies and pay attention to our parks, they’re planting this for the future and they’re dedicated to our future,” Smith explained.

Smith added that two more trees would be planted in other parks.

“I’m a parks person. I used to climb these things when I was a kid. You probably don’t know that,” Mayor David Hill joked. “When we were kids, we got out and played and that’s kind of what we did. We always climbed trees so every time I see a tree I always get excited about it. To me it is a symbol of stability in our community, the oak tree. It’s a good that we’re doing.”

Councilman Chuck Beatty, Park Board Vice Chairwoman Ginger Cole, Ellis County Museum Board Member Sylvia Smith and Waxahachie Fire-Rescue representatives were also in attendance.

Anyone can purchase a tree from the city for $300 to be professionally planted in a park of his or her choice and cared for by the parks department. Contact the department at 469-309-4271.

National Arbor Day encourages people to plant trees in April. Texas celebrates the tree-planting initiative on the first Friday in November when the climate is cooler.

“Record wildfire seasons in recent years have destroyed millions of trees in forests around the country,” according to the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit conservation and education organization. “Many areas have been burned so severely that natural regeneration is not possible, making replanting necessary.”

“180 million Americans depend on forest watersheds for their drinking water,” the foundation further estimates. “The natural water filtration trees provide can lower costs associated with drinking water treatment.”