The children who play in the sandbox at the sun-dappled Yanaguana Gardens at Hemisfair Park have no idea that the towering tree standing guard over the playground is a recent immigrant.
It's an oak that used to be near the old convention center building and it was harvested and relocated when that complex was being demolished.
The tree is well-established in its new location and nobody realizes the majestic giant is a transplant.
But volunteers are racing against time to save five additional oak trees in the Hemisfair Park area that must be rescued and relocated, or else they'll be cut down.
A fundraising campaign is underway to save the shade.
The five trees that must be removed are growing nearby in a parking lot east of the playground but there's no money in the city budget to save them.
The oaks need new homes by the end of January, so tree heroes are raising green to save the greenery.
"This is really not just about trees! This is about people and our lives and how we’re interconnected. And trees are an important part of that," said Anne Krause of the Hemisfair Conservancy. "Nature is so incredibly important and we have a sacred obligation to pay it forward for the next generation by saving these trees."
They need $75,000. As of Wednesday, they'd raised $42,000.
"The clock is definitely ticking," Krause said about the effort to move the old oaks to the new Civic Park, which will be built in the space left by the convention center demolition.
Krause added that she knows the transplant program will be a success because eight mature trees have already been relocated, and they are doing well.
Krause said that they have a team of experts who will make sure every job related to the move will be done right.
Lexa Rijos is a frequent visitor to the playground, and she says that the natural beauty of the park is the big draw.
“The reason we like to come here is because of the shade,” Rijos said. “It would be sad to lose the trees because year-round the sun is out here and they’re even more important."
Tammy Edmonds also brings her children to the park.
“It’s very important to all of us. It’s very hot here in Texas, and the shade provides the opportunity to come out here and do these activities,” Edmonds said as her children ran from one activity to the next. “Honestly, I would not come here very often. I would never come here in the summer if the trees weren’t here.”
"I'm going to be very happy to make a donation! Absolutely!" Rijos exclaimed
The Hemisfair Conservancy is the non-profit group running the fundraising campaign. There are two simple ways to make a tax-deductible charitable contribution to the Hemisfair Conservancy:
1. Send a check to
PO Box 1262
San Antonio, TX 78295-1262
2. Give online via the conservancy's secure website, https://hemisfairconservancy.org/donate/
(© 2016 KENS)