Determined to undo the damage of Hurricane Harvey, a team of volunteers took to Charles H. Milby Park in southeast Houston on Saturday to remove litter from trees, clear plastics from the nearby Sims Bayou and replant hundreds of native shrubs washed away by floodwater.
About 60 people planted 260 trees during the sequel to a 2016 clean-up event at the park, which was left underwater after Harvey.
“Sometimes it’s a little ‘two steps forward, one step back’, but we can’t lose track of the fact that we’re still moving forward,” said Marsha Towns, a director at the Student Conservation Association.
Along with planting more than 30 species of trees, volunteers picked up litter and plastics. When the water rises, the plastic rises with it, but when the water recedes, the plastic gets stuck in the trees, Town said.
“It’s like Christmas in a horrible, ugly way,” SCA alum Amanda Hughes-Horan said while holding a dirty plastic bread bag she found.
Hughes-Horan said that there’s a disconnection between kids and the outdoors because a lot of them haven’t gotten the opportunity to spend time in it. She said clean-up projects like this help them discover the value of nature.
“They’re giving back to the community because it’s important to them, but also it’s important to us because we want to build and strengthen our communities,” Towns said.