MARY ANN FRANCKLOW PARK
Mary Ann Francklow Park's 7.6 acre tract of land, located at 1300 Seagler Road, was acquired by the City of Houston in 1983. For decades, Francklow Park's pine forest has been known as one of our area's best peaceful retreats from the hustle and bustle of the Westchase District, nearby Westheimer corridor and Sam Houston Parkway. The half mile jogging track has always been a great place to stroll and the gazebo a favored picnicking spot for breakfast and lunch. Easily accessible, people of all ages and stages of mobility could enjoy wandering the trail and through the trees, enjoying the pine scent and thick carpet of copper colored pine needles.
Unfortunately, the historic 2011 drought devastated Francklow Park's forest. The severe weather conditions killed over 400 mature trees, 419 of which have now been removed from the park by the City.
The once proud forest is now largely barren of trees aside from mostly understory growth and a few lucky mature trees. With the loss of so many trees, the park's appearance has been drastically altered. Where dense shade and pine needles promoted a healthy forest floor, the loss of the tree canopy has opened the way to rampant growth of weeds.
Mary Ann Francklow Park Today
FRIENDS OF MARY ANN FRANCKLOW PARK
Friends of Mary Ann Francklow Park (Friends) is a newly formed group comprised of residents and park users from across the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood and Westchase District area. Friends has established an excellent working relationship with the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) and the Houston Parks Board and is reaching out to Trees for Houston and others to help restore the natural beauty of Mary Ann Francklow Park.
Friends is working with Victor Cordova, the City Forester, and Jed Aplaca, Superintendent of Greenspace Management, among others, to develop and carry out a plan of action for Francklow Park's restoration. There are many long term goals for the park, but one of our most important immediate needs is to begin the process of getting new trees planted as soon as possible.
TREES FOR MARY ANN FRANCKLOW PARK
HPARD recognizes the significance of Mary Ann Francklow Park in our community and has made our park one of only a few outside the 610 Loop to be included in the upcoming
Houston Arbor Day event on January 26, 2013!
WE MUST PREPARE!
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department will be helping us by locating and preparing beds for the new trees and will be providing trees donated by the Apache Corporation. WE HAVE TO DO THE REST!
It will be up to our community to come together with shovel in hand and start digging. We've been working hard for over a year to "save our forest", now it's time to plant a forest!
We will be approaching school, scout and church groups and asking for residents to come out to be a part of this effort. We hope to plant hundreds of trees in a very short time span. WE NEED YOU! Please save the date and plan on being in Mary Ann Francklow Park during the morning hours of January 26, 2013.
The Briar Forest Super Neighborhood Council will be providing certificates for community service hours to students at the conclusion of the event.
If you would like to volunteer your group, family or as an individual, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to begin registering volunteers as soon as possible so we know the number of trees we will be able to plant as part of the first major project. More Volunteers = More Trees!
IN THE MEANTIME...
If we are going to restore the park, we must do more than simply plant hundreds of five gallon trees. We need to ensure a diversity of species and age. This means we will need to seek assistance beyond what is offered by HPARD and Apache Corporation on Houston Arbor Day. We will be seeking donations from area nurseries and/or other entities willing to help provide or acquire larger trees and the means by which to plant them.
Through the Houston Parks Board, we will be establishing a non-profit account to fund further restoration efforts, and most important initially, the ability to cover the expense of watering the new trees for at least two years, during which time they will become established. The City and Apache provide the trees, but we have to supply the labor to plant them, and cover the cost of watering them. If you want to do more before and after digging a hole and planting a tree, get ready to help by sending a check!
PRELIMINARY AND ONGOING PROJECTS
Please register on the Briar Forest Super Neighborhood website (www.briarforestsn.org) so you can receive alerts from Friends of Mary Ann Francklow Park. Some neighborhoods do not forward BFSN messages (few as they are), so if you want to know what is going on, you need to register.
We will be having projects when possible to help the restoration move forward. The first volunteer day is rapidly approaching - OCTOBER 27, 2012.
"...FIVE, SIX, PICK UP STICKS!"
When the contractors removed the trees from Francklow Park, they left behind debris. In order to make the work of HPARD more effective, Friends have volunteered to help collect the debris and deposit it in several locations along the parameter of the park. This will not be back breaking labor and with the great October weather, you and your family will have a great time working your way across Francklow picking up sticks. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please come out on October 27th and join in the fun. To see the brochure for more details, please click here.
You will need to sign an HPARD waiver and bring it with you. This waiver will be good for all your future Friends volunteer work. Please find your waiver here.
DON'T FORGET - TRASH BASH IN TERRY HERSHEY PARK WILL BE MARCH 23RD THIS YEAR!!!!
THIS IS THE BEGINNING AND WE ALL NEED TO BE INVOLVED FROM DAY ONE!