Marfa just got a little greener, thanks to 55 trees and a partnership of local organizations

Juan Bustillos and Jim Martinez unload a sycamore tree, which will be planted at a house on Washington Street. Photo: Shelley Bernstein, Big Bend Conservation Alliance.

MARFA — Over the past week, a little more greenery and shade has made its way into Marfa, thanks to a collaborative effort to bring more trees to neighborhoods in Marfa and all the benefits that accompany them.

Big Bend Conservation Alliance partnered with Blackwell School Alliance, Marfa Food Pantry, and Marfa Parks and Recreation to plant trees, starting last Thursday in Blackwell Park and working Monday and Tuesday to add trees for Marfa residents who live in neighborhoods that have less tree cover.

The project is part of a larger one BBCA is coordinating throughout the region, using the lens of environmental justice to distribute 55 trees — oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods and desert willows — to areas of the region’s towns where very little tree coverage exists today.

Jim Martinez, Juan Bustillos, and Gabriela Bustillos plant a fifteen gallon oak tree in Blackwell Park. Photo: Shelley Bernstein, Big Bend Conservation Alliance.

In Marfa, trees were planted for residents living on the west and south sides of town and in Sal Si Puedes to help lower temperatures and reduce pollution in areas where dense tree canopy is harder to find. Outreach to residents was coordinated with the help of the Marfa Food Pantry.

Five oak trees were planted in Blackwell Park, which sits just behind the historic Blackwell School. In conjunction with the project, the Marfa Parks and Recreation Board of Directors voted to complete irrigation plans for the entirety of Blackwell Park. Robert Silva was contracted to design and install the irrigation plan, which will water the newly planted oak trees and the shade structures. There, the parks department will re-plant vines this spring, helping provide shade in the picnic areas.

The trees were donated by Apache Corporation, and tree planting and bilingual education materials for ongoing tree care were made possible through the generosity of Marfa resident Erik Bryn. Jim Martinez coordinated the delivery and planting of trees, while also donating the five oak trees planted at Blackwell Park.