Preserving LC’s historic oaks

$100k endowment will allow for ongoing maintenance of 63 oak trees

The City of Lake Charles announced its newest public/ private philanthropic partnership Monday as part of its Earth Day news conference.

The Chad Thielen Central School Oak Tree Endowment was created between the City of Lake Charles, Friends of Central School, the Coastal Plains Conservancy and the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana to ensure the 63 oaks planted on the grounds of Central School will be enjoyed for generations to come, Nic Hunter, mayor, said.

“Yes, infrastructure matters — better roads, sewers, drainage. Those things matter, but quality of life matters as well. We must work together to provide a city in which we are proud to live,” he said.

The $100,000 endowment will allow for ongoing trimming, thinning and maintenance by licensed arborists for the oaks, some of which are over 100 years old. “Preservation matters. Preservation is critical,” he said.

The fund is named after the late Chad Thielen, founder of the Coastal Plains Conservancy. The conservancy is a local non-profit dedicated to protecting the environment, sustaining natural and cultural heritage and conserving lands vital to our economic future, Hardtner Klump, spokesman for the conservancy said.

When the non-profit was approached about the partnership, Klump said the decision to participate and name the fund after Thielen was an easy choice. “Chad lived and breathed conservation in all aspects of his life.”

Celebrating the arts was also “literally in his blood” as his mother, Della Thielen, was the first director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, Klump said. “I truly believe that there’s nothing more appropriate than creating an endowment with his name that will protect and preserve these beautiful oak trees around Central School Arts and Humantities Center.”

For more information on endowment, contact the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana at 491-6688.

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Nic Hunter, City of Lake Charles mayor; Hardtner Klump, Coastal Plains Conservancy; Laura Leach, Friends of Central School; and Jan Thielen, wife of Chad Thielen, unveil the Chad Thielen Central School Oak Tree Endowment as part of the city’s Earth Day news conference Monday.

MarlisaHardingEducation Reporter
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