For a quarter of a century, Mary Gilmore Caffrey has made the Tree Bank Foundation her branch office. Pun intended.
Caffrey has announced her retirement as the foundation’s executive director, effective Sept. 30. She’s overseen the planting of more than 200,000 trees on public grounds in Oklahoma and the distribution of more than 108,000 seedlings for others to plant.
Concurrent with her retirement, the Tree Bank Foundation is celebrating 25 years of adding trees to the landscape, trees valued collectively (at maturation) at nearly $250 million.
The foundation was started in 1987 and seeded by volunteers dedicated to planting and distributing trees. It joined with Oklahoma Forestry Services for the Centennial Witness Trees program that was part of Oklahoma’s 100th birthday celebration in 2007. More recent projects include the planting of native tree species at Oklahoma City University and a reforestation project in Atoka County following the April 2011 tornado outbreak there.
Chances are you saw a Tree Bank tree growing somewhere along your route to work or school this week. Recipients of Tree Bank plants don’t just get the trees. They also get instructions on how to care for them.
Trees are not only nice to look at. They provide shade and reduce air pollution. So we congratulate Caffrey and an organization with a lot of bark that’s taken a big bite out of a tree-challenged landscape.