The Power of a Tiny Forest 


Tiny and dense forest patches create biodiversity spots that help cool and beautify cities. The Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlan has planted two Tiny Forests in McAllen, one at Cathey Middle School and one across from the Palm View Community Center. Tiny Forests empower local communities to care for and help maintain the forests as they mature.

The Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlan, Colleen Hook, states, “We could not have created these Tiny Forests without the generous support of private donors.” The Friends of Quinta Mazatlan, a nonprofit board, raised another $35,000 for a second School Yard Tiny Forest located at Sam Houston Elementary. “With our joint MISD partnership, our vision is for every school to have a Tiny Forest,” shares Hook. These little wilderness areas will grow and attract beautiful birds and other wildlife. They will also offer a great learning experience for children to have a “living science lab” on their school campus.

A lot of work goes into finding partners, identifying a location, raising funds, enriching the soil, growing native plants, and caring for the forest. The support of the City of McAllen makes this urban greening initiative possible with special recognition to McAllen Parks & Recreation, McAllen Convention Facilities, Public Information Office, McAllen Public Utility and Public Works.

We would love to see Tiny Forests popping up everywhere and would like to be involved.

How Can You Help Green Our Cities? 

Stewardship opportunities include monetary gifts, gifts-in-kind, hands-on planting & weeding, citizen science research projects, photography, and more volunteer options. By planting Tiny Forests, we are bringing nature back home, and when nature does well, so do we.

The Power of Tiny Forests

  • Reduces air pollution
  • Helps with urban heat stress – the soil in a Tiny Forest can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the temperature of a city street.
  • Improves stormwater management
  • Produces oxygen and reduces carbon dioxide
  • Supports wildlife, including birds and pollinators
  • Spending time in nature reduces stress and crime
  • Children get excited about hands-on learning at school
  • Needs minimal maintenance after establishment, as nature takes over


The concept of a Tiny Forest is to pack the benefits of a full forest into a city-friendly sized forest.

  1. Public Tiny Forest on Ware Road, where the community helped plant and is helping care for the forest—community support is key to the success of these city-size forests.
  2. School Yard Tiny Forest at Cathey Middle School, where the students and teachers helped plant the forest—and are using the forest as a “learning landscape.”

The root system of a Tiny Forest and how they support one another.


Colleen Curran Hook
Quinta Mazatlán