Thom Pepper, a retired Real Estate Executive and investor came to New Orleans in October 2006. He volunteered with Common Ground Relief gutting houses at that time and was asked to head the transition of the organization from a disaster recovery organization into a home rebuild and social service organization. At this time, Common Ground Relief owns and operates a state licensed tree farm and conducts bottomland hardwood tree and Bald Cypress tree plantings from Blind River south to the Gulf of Mexico as well as completes over 20 miles of shoreline restoration each year. Common Ground Relief has a robust environmental education program for local K-12 students and attracts college students from across the country to assist in planting projects. In addition, Common Ground Relief supports the horticulture program at Louisiana's Angola Penitentiary and underwrites a "green job" training program for prison trustees.