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Annual Tree Give-Away Aids Tornado Recovery Efforts and Educates Students

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ken Johnson
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing
Central Alabama was hit by a series of devastating tornadoes which left several local communities and neighborhoods unrecognizable on April 27, 2011.

Nearly three years later recovery efforts are still ongoing. One such, recovery effort is the Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign or Tree Give-Away.

Capt. Michael Lochte, an environmental engineer with the 117th Air Refueling Wing completed the annual tree giveaway here on February 28 in conjunction with the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Arbor Day Foundation.

Local area schools were able to take advantage of the event as a way to educate students about the benefits that trees have on the community. "What we try to teach the kids about is the value of trees," said Lochte. Trees aid in protecting structures from wind damage as well as supply a cooling shade in the summer which helps in lowering cooling costs.

This year's events were held at more than 14 different communities around the Birmingham area. The events received more than 2,800 trees of various species to include Japanese Maple, Pine and various hardwoods.