Applied Helps Rebuild State Park

Last week, I planted trees.

I planted trees with more than 60 Applied Materials employees and their family members.

In total, we planted 1,006 loblolly pines. Although the simple act of digging a hole, sliding in the sapling and gently patting the surrounding earth seems straight forward, I knew that we were planting much more.

Our group was working to restore Bastrop State Park in Bastrop, Texas. Just over a year ago, 96 percent of the 6,600-acre park was destroyed by wind-spread wildfires. In one weekend, the area lost 1,645 homes and left 34,000 acres of charred land. The 2011 wildfires are now known as the most catastrophic in Texas history.  As an immediate response, Applied Materials employees working at the Austin, Texas location, rallied to gather basic-needs items for those displaced from the fire. Employees teamed to raise $35,000 in donations. With the Applied Materials Foundation match and a Foundation grant of $25,000, more than $95,000 was directed to the wildfire relief effort.  

The Bastrop Reforestation project allowed our employees a full-circle moment. While our immediate response was important, the recovery effort for the area is just as critical. Restoring the park became vital to sustaining the Central Texas natural habitat. To further support Bastrop Reforestation, the Applied Materials Foundation engaged with the Nobelity Project to support the “Replant the Park” project. Working with high school students, Nobelity educates them regarding Bastrop’s unique ecosystem and fire prevention techniques, then mobilizes them through mass planting days, with the goal of replanting 80,000 loblolly pines. 

At the end of our work day, we had dirty hands but smiles on our faces. Our team had pushed the project over the mark of 20,000 trees planted. And so we left with a satisfied feeling, knowing that we had contributed to “replanting” the future of our region.

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