Written by Christine Mansfield

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we have been truly inspired by you, our community, as you stepped up to the plate to help those in need. We have watched in awe as those of you who were affected have displayed a kind of resiliency and grit that makes us proud to be Houstonians. We have also been touched by all of the messages of concern from across the country for not only our grounds and wildlife, but also for the members of our staff. From all of us here, we thank you.

We are happy to report that our grounds did what they are supposed to do in flood events. The trees, shrubs and grasses provided shelter for wildlife while the soil held and absorbed flood waters, keeping them from continuing downstream. Unlike Hurricane Ike, whose devastation prompted our current Master Plan, we were fortunate to have only a few downed trees and no major trail damage. All existing restoration and construction efforts are also moving along as planned so we can continue to offer a home for wildlife and conservation education to the city of Houston.

The Nature Center building suffered some flood damage, however it was minimal and we are hard at work getting it ready for this weekend’s classes. Both the trails and building reopened this past Tuesday and are back to normal operating hours.

We are so thankful to be able to say that all of our staff is safe and accounted for. Several members of the Arboretum family were affected by the flood, and helping them with recovery has been one of our top priorities. We have relayed your messages of concern and will let you know if there is any way you can help.

Many of you have also asked about the impact of Harvey on our classes and volunteer needs. Thankfully, all scheduled classes and existing volunteer opportunities are running as planned. Since damage was minimal, we do not have any new volunteer needs at this time and volunteer applications have been temporarily suspended. That being said, you will be the first to know if those needs change.

Lastly, we want to let you know that we are here for you. We know many of you, your friends, and your families have been affected by this unprecedented natural disaster, and our hearts go out to you. Throughout the recovery process, we hope that you will take some time for your own physical and mental well-being. We recognize that the road ahead is a marathon, not a sprint. When you need them, our trails will be here for a walk, our ponds will be here to provide a moment of peace, and our wildlife will be here to inspire you the way you have and continue to inspire us.


The Arboretum Staff