HOUSTON, Sept. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) announced today it has donated 150,000 trees to Black Bear Conservation Coalition (BBCC) to help restore the habitat for endangered black bears in Louisiana. The 2013 grant pushes total contributions to more than 1 million trees awarded to the organization.
The BBCC is just one of many organizations to receive tree grants from Apache in 2013. A total of 56 organizations in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi were awarded grants totaling more than 340,000 trees.
"Thanks to Apache's donation, we have planted seedlings for more than 3,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest," said BBCC Executive Director Paul Davidson. "The cost of seedlings is half the cost of reforesting an area. The Apache Foundation Tree Grant Program allows us to fill in the gaps to provide travel corridors for bears, which is one of several criteria in the government's recovery plan to remove black bears from the list of endangered species."
Saving the Species
The Louisiana black bear was listed as "threatened" in 1992 under the guidelines of the Endangered Species Act. The decline of the black bear species was attributed to habitat loss, significant habitat alteration, reduction of the bears' range and unregulated harvesting. Primarily due to the development of row-crop agriculture, 80 percent of the forestland in the Lower Mississippi River Valley was cleared. Conservationists recognized a need to address habitat restoration as a means for restoring the black bear to the region.
In October 1990, the BBCC formed with a collective goal to restore a sustainable population of the Louisiana black bear in suitable habitats in the region. The BBCC is a broad-based coalition of stakeholders and includes more than 60 organizations representing public agencies, universities, forest and agricultural interest groups, energy companies and other interested groups.
"Apache's tree grants have tremendously benefitted our efforts to restore the Louisiana black bear habitat," Davidson said. "While there is value in improving wildlife through reforestation, this effort also provides groundwater recharge, floodwater retention, reduction of pesticide and nutrient runoff and helps to remove carbon from the atmosphere."
3.7 Million and Counting
Since 2005, Apache Foundation has awarded nearly 3.7 million trees to nonprofit organizations in 16 U.S. states to help improve wildlife habitats, restore storm damage, and enhance cities and neighborhoods in areas where the company operates. The trees go to nonprofit organizations including cities, counties, schools, parks, universities, youth associations, wildlife refuges and community groups.
The nonprofit group Hike for KaTREEna based in New Orleans will receive 5,000 trees this year from Apache.
"Thanks to Apache's extraordinary support, Hike for KaTREEna reached a milestone in planting our 20,000th tree last year in an effort to replace more than 100,000 trees in the community destroyed by Hurricane Katrina," said Connie Uddo, the organization's executive director.
At St. Paul's Episcopal School in New Orleans, students planted and tagged 26 trees of the 7,000 donated by Apache in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. Brass tags were engraved and attached to the trees with the name and age of each fallen student and faculty member.
Committed to Conservation
"Each year we receive an increasing number of grant requests due to program awareness and the recognized benefits of planting trees," said Wendy Craven, who oversees the Tree Grant Program as Apache's manager of Corporate Outreach. "Giving back in areas where we operate is a huge part of Apache culture and is valued by employees as a commitment to preserving our natural environment."
This year, Apache donated 100,000 trees to the Arbor Day Foundation. The trees will be distributed throughout states in which the company operates.
Apache also donated 3,000 trees to the restoration of the Gettysburg battlefield in commemoration of its 150th anniversary. Throughout the years, the battlefield had become overgrown and many of its important features had become hidden. Park Services used Apache's tree donations to replant fruit orchards and recreate wooded areas throughout Gettysburg National Park to help restore the battlefield to a state that more accurately resembles the day the first shots rang out on July 1, 1863. Click here to see how Apache's donation is helping visitors travel back in time.
Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Australia and Argentina. Apache posts announcements, operational updates, investor information and copies of all press releases on its website, www.apachecorp.com.
SOURCE Apache Corporation