The bald cypress is the Louisiana state tree. Its graceful, fern-like foliage can be seen in the state's numerous swamps, bayous, and backwaters. New homeowner Byron Weido had admired a young cypress tree in his grandmother's yard in the country. He asked her to let him dig it up and move it to his new home, but she loved it, too, and couldn't bear to part with it.
Imagine his surprise when a letter from the Shreveport HUD office arrived, offering him a free bald cypress tree and an environmental homeowner packet as a first-time homebuyer. Community-based non-profit Shreveport Green (www.shreveportgreen.org/), in association with the Shreveport HUD office, celebrated Earth Day this year by offering a bald cypress tree to fifty first-time homebuyers. Packets outlining environmental issues in home maintenance were also provided.
Shreveport Green operates with assistance from CDBG funds and some private sector support. This energetic non-profit engages in a wide variety of activities, including environmental and homeowner education; wildflower and tree plantings; household hazardous waste collection; recycling; ShrevCORPS (AmeriCorps National Service Program);
CDBG funds help produce homeowner brochures such as Taking Care of the Home: A Basic Guide for Home Maintenance, and Shreveport Green Neighborhood Program - Empowering Citizens to restore Beauty, Pride and Hope to Our Neighborhoods.
Shreveport Green is engaged in an annual spring citywide "Great American Cleanup". Partners include Firestone to recycle tires and batteries, Goodwill Industries to collect clothing, and numerous other neighborhood groups, businesses and local schools to engage in litter abatement, neighborhood beautification, and elimination of slums and blight.Recognized again at the recent annual Keep America Beautiful
Back in Shreveport, Byron Weido notes his cypress tree is doing well. "It's already grown a little", he says. "My 7-year-old daughter, Kimberly loves to water it." Kimberly and the cypress tree have a home of their own now, and both are thriving.