Parks and Rec holds tree walk

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press

Members of the Prosper community gathered together with employees from the parks and recreation department to take a walk on Nov. 3.  This walk, held at Whitley Place Park, was an opportunity for people to learn about the types of trees native to the North Texas area.  Because it was held during the fall months, examples of the different colors of foliage were on display. 

Parviz Shakeri is tasked with planning parks for Prosper Parks and Recreation.  He finds this type of education important to the community.  “We showed our residents about twenty species of trees that grow along the trail,” Shakeri said.  “The trees along this creek are the types of native trees that grow well here in this area.  It is nice that we have the fall colors of the trees right now, as people really like to have the colors in their yards.  It is more interesting in the fall to show people all of the colors.”  

“We want people in Prosper to know about the natural ecosystem,” Shekeri said.  “This creek flows into a local lake.  It is a green corridor.  Native plants and wildlife along this creek is an example of the pure ecosystem of north Texas.  We have to save these plants and use them.  We want people to plant these trees in our town.  If you plant exotic trees, they need fertilizer and pesticides.  That is bad financially and for the ecosystem.  The pesticides go into the groundwater.  So we want people to select plants and trees that are native because everything will be healthier.”  

One of the main reasons that the Parks and Recreation department sponsors these events is to raise environmental awareness.  Shakeri is concerned with the use of pesticides in Prosper.  “Everything is impacted in the ecosystem,” Shakeri said.  “Pesticides harm insects and birds, which impacts bigger wildlife. Everything is connected and this is one easy way people can have beautiful plants and trees and benefit our area.  

Randy and Athena Bivens enjoyed the tree walk along the trail.  “We got to walk around the park and see a lot of different trees and learn about the varieties,” Randy Bivens said.  “We can even tell the difference between one type of oak and another type of oak.  We touched the leaves, learned about the shapes, textures, and colors.  We really learned a lot.”  

“I did not know that this trail existed,” Athena Bivens said.  “With people being home, especially with COVID, we tend to just stay home with the computer.  But I feel inspired to explore Prosper more.  I feel encouraged to learn more about the trees, especially learning about native trees.  There is so much natural landscaping back here.  It is beautiful.  Who does not like nature?”

The Bivens family has decided to continue to learn more about the native plants and trees in Prosper.  “My goal is to be able to see a native tree and identify what type it is,” Athena Bivens said.  “I want to go to more of these events.  I think they should present this type of event both in the spring and the fall.  It would be interesting to see the trees blooming and then when they have the fall colors.”  

“I encourage people to get out and explore Prosper during these nature walks,” Randy Bivens said.  “It is good to meet your neighbors and explore different parts of our town.  I appreciate these outdoor events especially, since being out in nature is good for us.  I hope more of the residents of Prosper will get out and walk around the parks.”