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Society / The Seen

Fighting for Houston’s Trees — Essential Nonprofit Raises $470,000 in One Outdoor Party

This Green Cause Hits Home More Than Ever

BY // 04.09.19
photography Daniel Ortiz

While landscape rock stars were bulldozing trees in Memorial Park, cutting the forest to make way for “substantial acreage” of coastal prairie and chopping more for wetlands and more for an immense land bridge, the noble Trees for Houston held its annual al fresco dinner only a chain saw away. A beautiful, old guard private club backing up to Memorial Park and to Houston Polo Club hosted the evening in support of the nonprofit that since its founding in 1983 has planted more than half a million trees across the area.

Committed to a lusher Houston, dedicated to painting the urban landscape in vibrant shades of green and protecting climate-enhancing trees, supporters on this night raised a record $470,000 for Trees for Houston.

Applause, applause for Kyle and John Kirksey Sr. and Joanie and John Kirksey Jr., who chaired the original Root Ball 25 years ago and chaired the 2019 fundraiser along with Shawn and Bill Jackson. And how appreciative the sophisticated gathering was when Trees for Houston executive director Barry Ward announced that the Kirksey family would be recognized with a grove of 25 native trees planted in Memorial Park in their honor.

It was a glorious evening  for the 480 guests, the party held under a swank tent decorated by Swift + Company for al fresco frivolity.

While some guests might have expected the buffet line to be a burden, four approaches to the food tables moved swiftly and efficiently as plates were loaded with mouth-watering filet mignon, snapper Veracruz, mac and cheese, butter-infused biscuits and more. Salads were pre-set and dessert was served thus making for a flawless dinner presentation.

And that was the perfect entree to the dance tunes of Danny Ray and the Acoustic Production and to the celebration of Trees for Houston’s greening of our city. Praise be to shade trees.

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PC Seen: Emcee Mia Gradney, Cathy and Joe Cleary, Gretchen and Andrew McFarland, Nancy and Butch Abendshein, Ann Lents and David Heaney, Vivie and Chris O’Sullivan, Sylvie and Gary Crum, Laura and Andrew McCullough, Anita O’Shaughnessy and Wayne Fox, Michelle and Jeff Foutch, Carrie and Ernie Miller, and Claudia Gee Vassar, executive director of Houston Botanic Garden.

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