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College Station will plant 177 trees thanks to a grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service

The city of College Station was awarded more than $43,000 by a grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service to plant and care for 177 trees.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — College Station was recently awarded an over $43,000 grant funded in part by the U.S. Forest Service to care for and plant over 100 trees in environmentally disadvantaged communities.

Michael Merritt, the leader for the Texas A&M Forest Resource Development & Sustainable Forestry Program, explained the benefits of having more trees around the city.

"Energy conservation, pollution mitigation, stormwater mitigation, human health,"  said Merritt. "I can go on and on about all the benefits that trees provide to the community."

This is all part of "Cooling College Station", the city's five-year plan to help reduce the effects of urban heat islands. Urban heat islands are areas with significant amounts of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat.

"We've found that temperatures can be 20 degrees lower in the shade over a hot asphalt surface or over an asphalt surface than an unshaded area," Merritt said. "Actually, more than 20 degrees up to 25, sometimes even 30 degrees depending on conditions."

Over the next five years, the city is expected to plant 500 trees each year, costing roughly $217,000 in total. The project is set to increase the city's urban tree cover while providing residents with a healthier environment.

"Trees are associated with increased health benefits. People get out and walk more and exercise more when they have shade," Merritt said. "If it's an apartment complex or highly developed area, people just going to be out exercising and being outside as much."

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