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Bees float from flower to flower, pollinating the sunny shoreline while rowers enjoy Lake Woodlands.  A group of friends walk under a pine laden canopy of trees on a nature trail.

The Woodlands boasts thousands of acres of permanently dedicated green spaces where nature’s residents from all walks of life thrive!

As a proud and celebrated environmental steward, founder of The Woodlands George Mitchell, was dedicated to the principles of environmental, social and corporate governance, now known in the land development and urban planning worlds as ESG, before it became vogue.

In 1967, James Rouse, recognized as the father of the master planned communities, developed Columbia, Maryland. Rouse believed that communities thrive when people are guided by a sense of responsibility to their neighborhood, and he envisioned a beautiful, self-sustaining environment designed to accommodate the growth of people and business—a place where residents could both live and work, with respect for the land.

During the 1970’s, Rouse’s groundbreaking ideas inspired George Mitchell to hire many of the Columbia project professionals to help him create The Woodlands—an award-winning ecologically-friendly community. To celebrate this fact, Mitchell established the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), an institution dedicated to environmental issues and sustainable growth.

The Howard Hughes Corporation continues the legacy in The Woodlands with a commitment to dedicated open green spaces.

Today, The Woodlands is home to over 119,000 residents and devotes an unprecedented 28% of its community –nearly 8,000 acres (including 220 miles of hike-and-bike trails), to open green space, which shall remain undeveloped forever.

Exemplifying the commitment Howard Hughes has shown for sustainable development, it recently donated 44 acres of open space reserves, nature trails and a neighborhood park — all in the Village of Creekside Park. Also, Howard Hughes donated eight acres of land for project improvements to the Gosling Road Bridge and roadway to complete the boulevard section from Gatewood Reserve Lane in Montgomery County to Creekside Forest.

“Sustainable development and a commitment to the preservation of our natural resources are critical to our mission as the developer of our country’s largest portfolio of master planned communities,” stated Gautami Palanki, Vice President, Sustainability for Howard Hughes. “The pandemic reinforced the importance of access to nature and the resulting health and wellness benefits that it provides. We integrate expansive open green spaces into our communities, providing our residents with a high-quality lifestyle and allowing biodiversity to thrive.”

It is no wonder our wooded lands are aptly named The Woodlands—a town whose legacy shall forever remain guided by a profound respect for the natural world and the philosophy of conservationism.

“Our most recent donation of open green space to The Woodlands Township is in keeping with the core principles of George Mitchell’s original vision for The Woodlands as a community where one can live, work, learn, play and discover in harmony with nature,” said Jim Carman, President – Houston Region for Howard Hughes. “Our commitment to the preservation of nature, as well as access to premier outdoor amenities, is a significant reason why The Woodlands was ranked as the #1 best community to live in America.”

One of the Woodlands’ most green events in our community is Arbor Day. George Mitchell and the developer, now The Howard Hughes Corporation, created the annual Arbor Day Festival in The Woodlands in 1977.  More than 1.5 million trees have been given away at The Woodlands’ annual Arbor Day Tree Giveaway for residents to plant in their yards, local forest preserves, and community open green spaces. Hosted by The Woodlands Township, this year’s Arbor Day Tree Giveaway takes place on Saturday, January 29 from 9 AM to 12 noon at Rob Fleming Park.

To learn more about Howard Hughes’ sustainable approach to the future, click here.