FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    CONTACT: Marene Gustin
March 26, 2004                                                        
Phone: 713.845.1135 / Pager: 713.606.0199


     Houston has been named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. This is the
19th year HPARD has received the honor. The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD)
played a fundamental role in the city’s receiving this honor.

     “I’m excited that Houston has been named a Tree City USA,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, AIA,
director of HPARD. “Our department has hosted several tree-planting initiatives and a yearly Arbor
Day celebration. Attendance at these events shows that Houstonians are committed to planting
trees and recognizing how they can heighten our quality of life.”

     The trees in Houston help clean the air, conserve soil and water and help to moderate

     Houston has met the four standards to become a Tree City USA: a tree board or department,
a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance.

     “This year’s record number of Tree City USA communities shows a growing level of dedication
and care for our urban forest,” said John Rosenow, president of the National Arbor Day Foundation.
“It shows the people of Houston value trees for their beauty, natural grace and the practical
blessings they bring.”

      HPARD’s tree initiatives include an annual Arbor Day celebration and tree planting every
January, and several efforts throughout the year to add trees to parks and public spaces.

     City Forester Victor Cordova and his team look after HPARD’s trees and attend to such issues
as maintenance, removal and new tree planting.

     “It’s great to be recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation,” said Cordova. “Their
dedication to the importance of trees helps us spread the message that trees add value to
the community.”

     Houston is one of nearly 3,000 Tree City USA communities nationwide.