RETREET BLOG

RETREET is a kaleidoscopic group of bicycle and tree enthusiasts with strong backs, sharp minds, and big hearts who volunteer to replant communities whose trees have been lost to natural disaster.


 
BASTROP RETREET VI
February 27th+28th, 2016

RETREET was born in Bastrop four years ago. A group of volunteers, most of whom were cyclists, wanted to plant trees for a community that was badly burned by a monthlong wildfire that began September 4th, 2011. Over 34,000 acres and 1,600 homes were scorched. Our first event, which took place January 22nd-24th, 2012, was a massive effort that sparked the creation of RETREET, an organization that now redefines the concept of disaster relief through direct action.

Our sixth RETREET in Bastrop saw the planting of our 4,000th tree. A total of 24 RETREETers traveled in from California, Minnesota, New York, and all across Texas to work. On Sunday, February 28th, 2016, they were joined by 31 local volunteers from H-E-B and The Home Depot, bringing the total count to 55. All told, the group planted 160 trees at 26 homes sites, a beautiful mix of bald cypresses, Texas redbuds, Monterrey oaks, chinquapin oaks, Shumard oaks, and native pecans.

BASTROP RETREET VI PLANTING GROUP

BASTROP RETREET VI PLANTING GROUP

The first trees arrived in Bastrop on Thursday afternoon, February 25th, as did the first RETREETers. The trees were delivered by Tree Life Farms on behalf of Apache Corporation, who donated 100 5-gallon trees to BASTROP RETREET VI as part of their Tree Grant Program. The following morning, a small group of RETREETers accepted the delivery of the second set of trees, an even mix of 15-gallon bald cypresses and Texas redbuds that came from Magnolia Garden Nursery. Those trees were purchased with funds provided to RETREET through LUSH Cosmetics' Charity Pot ProgramThe Home Depot Foundation granted $6,600 for supplies, most of which were collected after all of the trees were loaded. Thankfully, Bastrop Parks & Recreation staff sent two trucks and trailers to help deliver the trees and planting materials to home sites. Their help made all the difference! Miller Family Automotive also came through in a big way again this year through their contribution of a U-Haul box truck to the delivery fleet.

TREE DELIVERY IN BASTROP

TREE DELIVERY IN BASTROP

The following morning, Saturday, February 27th, RETREETers began to converge in Bastrop. Over a dozen went for a memorable 25-mile ride through Bastrop and Buescher State Parks, following the path of the MS-150 and conquering a number of challenging hills. The weather was absolutely perfect and smiles ran rampant. Special thanks to our friends at Richardson Bike Mart, who again loaned us a few bicycles from their rental fleet for RETREETers traveling in from other states.

READY TO RIDE

READY TO RIDE

That evening, the group was given an exceptional treat. Richard Linklater, the Oscar-nominated director of Boyhood, invited our entire crew to his home for dinner, drinks, and entertainment. La Cucina di Afrodita whipped up an incredible feast that silenced the crowd and filled every belly with love. The RETREETers planted six trees on site, a token of our thanks for the incredible hospitality of the Linklater family. We look forward to watching them grow alongside all of the other trees we have planted in Bastrop.

DINNER AT THE LINKLATERS WITH LA CUCINA DI AFRODITA

DINNER AT THE LINKLATERS WITH LA CUCINA DI AFRODITA

Sunday morning, February 28th, RETREETers and planting day participants met at RETREET HQ, Pecan Street Inn, a location that was paid for through a grant from Felvis Foundation. After an enlightening tree planting demonstration given by Texas A&M Forest Service, small groups were formed and sent to residences to the east of Bastrop State Park, in an area that was burned during both the Bastrop County Complex wildfires and the Hidden Pines Fire. Many of the homes at which we planted were burned after being reconstructed, and many of those belonged to members of the volunteer fire department. The stories of their efforts during the wildfires are truly inspiring and heart-wrenching.

Lunch was provided by H-E-B, and the planters enjoyed a sunny afternoon ride around town following their work. That night, those who remained in town enjoyed hand-tossed pizzas at Neighbor's Kitchen & Yard. It was the perfect end to a fulfilling weekend. We are especially grateful to Felicia Graham for taking so many wonderful photos! Click any of the ones you see to view the complete album. 

PROPER TREE PLANTING TECHNIQUES WITH TEXAS A&M FOREST SERVICE

PROPER TREE PLANTING TECHNIQUES WITH TEXAS A&M FOREST SERVICE