Deep in the Heart of Texas
Texans are known for being fiercely independent. That sort of self-sufficiency comes naturally for a state as large as all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois combined. But with all bragging aside, we Texans know a thing or two about self-reliance, especially when it comes to our land.
Growing up on a cattle ranch in Texas, which has been in our family for five generations, our family farm provided everything we needed from fresh produce for our dinner table to hay to feed the cattle. My father made sure we understood the importance of being smart with our resources, especially water – the lifeline of a Texas ranch. By practicing conservation 365 days a year, we ensured there remained enough water in the well to sustain the farm during the dry, hot summer months.
Every weekend I return to our family’s ranch north of Dallas and often visit with many of my neighbors – mostly “old timers”, those fiercely independent ranchers and landowners, who all share the same concerns about our environment, especially water. It’s hot and there’s been a lack of rain, and it’s having brutal consequences. On my farm alone, the river dried up – both this summer and last summer.
The recent Texas drought, along with terrible wildfires, has deeply affected the land and the people who live on it, many of whom have lost their homes as a result of the destruction. The Bastrop fire last year outside Austin was the most destructive in state history, decimating 95 percent of the 6,600-acre Bastrop State Park, as well as the surrounding private forest lands. A tremendous casualty was the Lost Pines ecosystem, a 75,000-acre ecological island separated from larger pine forests in East Texas.
As part of the FedEx EarthSmart Outreach initiative to advance environmental sustainability in our communities, FedEx has joined the Arbor Day Foundation in advancing reforestation efforts in this unique Texas treasure. Earlier this summer, FedEx and the Arbor Day Foundation launched the Enchanted Forest on Facebook, which encourages participants to “plant a tree” in a virtual forest. For every tree planted, FedEx will contribute $1 to the Arbor Day Foundation, with the goal to “plant” 100,000 trees to help restore 500 acres of Texas forest area. With your support, we will work closely with the Arbor Day Foundation to continue helping with reforestation efforts at Lost Pines and other ecologically sensitive areas in the state. You can go directly to the Facebook application to plant a tree by visiting http://bit.ly/L308Xv.
I’m encouraging all of my fellow Texans (and honorary Texans) to participate, including the 18,000 FedEx team members we have across the state, many of whom are right here at our FedEx Office headquarters in Dallas. As the Senior Manager of Environmental Sustainability at FedEx Office, I have the privilege of seeing our company’s commitment to conservation and sustainability each and every day. I’m proud to work with our folks who have already shown an overwhelming support of environmental sustainability and forest conservation through such initiatives as the FedEx EarthSmart Innovations paper recycling program, in which we successfully collected and recycled over five million pounds of paper, saving the equivalent of more than 44,000 trees in its first year alone.
It’s this kind of commitment that shows the true Spirit of Texas, one in which we will regrow and renew our important forests across the Lone Star State.
*Note, this was first published on: http://greengopost.com/fedex-texas-drought-wildfires
** For more of Nathan’s story, check out his I am FedEx video: http://www.iamfedex.com/node/1055