CANON — Officials from West Texas A&M University (WT) gathered Friday outside the old main building on campus to plant a tree in honor of the late Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Queens Green Canopy Program.
The campaign encourages the planting of healthy native trees that will thrive and enhance the environment and landscape for future generations. In an effort to help the environment and make local areas greener, the program was launched in the UK in 2021.
Launching the project herself, the Queen, with the help of Prince Charles at the time, planted the first tree on the grounds of Windsor Castle in March 2021. More than a million trees have been planted in her name as part of the programme.
Originally, the British Consulate was due to be outside Houston for the ceremony, which was delayed last Friday due to the sudden death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8. She will likely visit the British Consulate at a later time and will present a plaque commemorating the planting of trees as part of the Green Canopy programme.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is currently in state at Westminster Hall in London, and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pay their respects before the state funeral on Monday, according to the Associated Press.
After a minute of silence in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Todd Rasberry, WT’s vice president for philanthropy and external relations, spoke about moving ahead with tree planting as part of the Queen’s initiative.
“Here at WT, we have decided to hold this tree planting ceremony today – just days before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral – to celebrate her life and 70 years of her reign and to serve her country and the people of the United Kingdom,” Rasberry said. “In celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s life, we will plant this tree in her memory as part of the Green Canopy initiative.”
WT President Walter Wendler spoke about how the University and Queen’s core values align in areas such as service, pragmatism, innovation, respect and engagement. Reflect on her service and the inspiring message that can be drawn from her.
“Just as she has displayed these values throughout her life, these values reflect, inspire, and respond to the people WT serves,” Wendler said. “Just as Queen Elizabeth served the United Kingdom, we here at WT serve the region with distinction.”
Wendler shared the idea of making it possible for a WT graduate to pursue postgraduate studies at a UK university that offers degrees focused on rural issues, and also to do the same with a student from the UK. He saw today’s event as a symbol of the Queen’s commitment and longevity.
Wendler said: “Today’s tree planting is a celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s service life and the symbolic planting of WT’s idea of moving from here to the world. I hope these ‘plantings’ will continue and grow. Those of us who live in the Panhandle in Texas know that the tree planted here needs to be taken care of. Its very well to survive. And also with ideas.”
He said he was honored that the British Consulate had reached out to the university to be part of the program, and that it showed that people recognize the contributions of the Texas Panhandle, especially regarding the area’s impact on the nation’s economy.
“I take this as a huge tribute to our district and our university because the consulate was interested in coming here to see this part of Texas,” Wendler said. “WT is built on our ability to stand out and stand out. This is important for the future of WT. Otherwise, we are just another regional university, and we are much more than that.”
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