Bobs Tree Preservation named Conservation Business of 2009 for the State of Louisiana - Monday, April 19, 2010
Bob’s Tree Preservation Company – Conservation Business of the Year
Why is planting a tree like learning to ride a bike? The answer is easy. Once it takes hold, it lasts for a lifetime. That goes not only for the outcome but for the experience of doing that informs and drives all endeavors henceforth. Our next honoree must have had that in mind when he set out to restore the native live oaks battered by Katrina…and Rita…and Gustav…and Ike, and the important habitats these iconic landscape fixtures of our coastal ridges support and protect from storms. After these malevolent ladies and gents visited our coast, Bob’s Tree Preservation Company made a commitment of donating 10,000 live oak trees to be planted in coastal and south-central Louisiana. If that wasn’t enough, owner of the business, Robert A. “Bob” Thibodeaux set about to engage his fellow arborist bike-riding buddies to plant them. So was born “Acorns of Hope.”
Acorns of Hope is comprised of nearly 50 arborists and tree advocates from across the country that visit South Louisiana annually for a week-long bicycle and tree planting “tour.” The group bike and travel 300 miles across the southern part of the state, planting live oaks at local schools, churches, parks and recreation centers, and areas that have lost significant tree cover. Local sponsors provide food along the route and help with other support, but the participants pay their own way. In addition to the compelling purpose of the ride, the food, hospitality and ambience of the unique culture and landscape has made this a popular and growing event that attracts riders from throughout the continent.
But Acorns of Hope is more than a bike ride. At each stop, members of the local community come out to meet the riders, and Bob Thibodeaux or one of his partners provides instruction and education about the proper planting methods, the importance of trees in the landscape and the meaning of the program. It’s a total emersion experience for the riders and the community alike.
The live oaks being planted are propagated at Bob’s Tree Preservation Company’s nursery from acorns produced by oaks with characteristics that have allowed them to survive the storms. This selection of superior trees will help to assure their long-term survival.
Founded in 1964, Bob’s Tree Preservation, Inc. is a full service tree care company which assists customers in not only tree and landscape maintenance, but also works to preserve historical live oaks, design and create hurricane resistant landscapes and improve and restore soils. It manages 120 acres on which it grows quality tree species in an open setting without artificial irrigation, synthetic chemical fertilizers or growth hormones. The open setting encourages strengthening of the branches and root systems to produce the most durable tree. Portions of the property are designated for research on water quality and the benefit of organic cultural practices. The company also recycles 95% of all tree removals and composts its own mulch for use in conditioning tree roots under the canopy. This practice has proved the salvation of many historic, stressed live oaks on the LSU Campus and elsewhere.
So far, the Acorns of Hope project has planted 1800 of the 10,000 live oaks Bob’s Tree Preservation Company has committed, using the quintessential model for inside-out public involvement: good idea; local support; national and international participation = awareness. The project has produced a wonderful documentary video to further enhance outreach. The company is doing its part to inspire the next generation of tree planters and conservationists by following the familiar motto of “practice what you preach.”
For its outstanding contributions to community through conservation advocacy and action, the Louisiana wildlife Federation is delighted to recognize Bob’s Tree Preservation Company as the Conservation Business of 2009. Accepting the Award is Mr. Bob Thibodeaux, son Neal, and grand-daughter Alexandra.