This year’s Galveston Island Tree Conservancy’s Arbor Day celebration will be from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Conservatory at The Bryan Museum.

We’ll celebrate not only trees — and all they do for us — but we’ll celebrate this year’s special Deep Roots Award winner, Barbara Sanderson, who is the executive director of community outreach for the city of Galveston.

Barbara has worked for the city for almost three decades — with 20 years as director of Parks and Recreation. In that capacity, she worked tirelessly to make Galveston a better place to live, work and play, and to make a positive impact on our community’s entire park system.

After Hurricane Ike devastated our community and trees, Barbara was instrumental in working with the Texas Forest Service and coordinating and partnering with community leaders to set up the structure to support the replanting efforts through the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy and the city of Galveston Tree Committee. Barbara’s commitment to trees in Galveston brought to fruition the combined efforts to replant the city’s parks, streets, and neighborhoods — including the replanting of historic Broadway, as well as nine city parks. To this end, she has been instrumental in getting the city staff trained in tree care and preservation by sponsoring training workshops and ensuring that staff attend conferences to learn new skills and to reinforce current practices.

City manager Brian Maxwell noted, “Barbara Sanderson is the trunk that supports the branches of the city of Galveston. And much like the oaks that line Broadway, Barbara’s roots run far and deep at the city. She also chose to honor her late son, Galveston Police Officer, Christopher Sanderson, with a tree planted in his honor at the Justice Center. The tree will forever stand tall and strong just as Christopher did.”

In addition to our recognition of Barbara, we’re proud to have William Johnson, Galveston County horticulturist and Galveston County Coordinator and Extension Agent for the Texas Agri-Life Extension Service, as our special guest speaker. To many residents in this county, Johnson may be most recognized as the long-time recruiter and instructor for the prestigious Master Gardeners program, as he has educated “untold thousands of persons — local and beyond — regarding issues of landscape and gardening.”

Last year, to recognize and honor Johnson as the “go to” expert for all issues horticultural, and for his continued commitment and dedication to the Master Gardeners program, the Texas A&M Board of Regents awarded Johnson with its highest system-wide award: The Regents Fellow Service Award.

We also salute our previous Deep Roots honorees: Rosemary and Charles Doolin, Sea Star Base; John Campbell, Kempner Foundation; and Dr. Craig Brown.

We look forward to your being with us Nov. 18 for our annual luncheon, libations and silent auction in support of The Tree Conservancy of Galveston. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 409-599-6357.

Jackie Cole is president of the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy.


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