Unloading seedlings to be planted

American Forests ( has awarded the Friends of the Wildlife Corridor a Global ReLeaf grant of $37,500 to plant 50,000 native trees on cropland that has been acquired by the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

The plantings will be part of the Refuge’s farmland reforestation program, which was initiated in 1984, and has been supported by American Forests since 1997.

In 2014, this program expects to plant 255,534 seedlings on 386 acres in Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr Counties, enhancing habitat in support of the Ocelot Recovery program and improving connectivity of refuge tracts for the passage of wildlife along the Rio Grande River.

Seedlings are grown from seeds that are hand collected within the project area, with species carefully selected to match the soils, hydrology and other location factors of each planting site. The program relies on the work of planting crews and cooperative farmers.

In addition, since 1994 one site per year has been planted by up to 1,000 local community volunteers during the Refuge’s annual “Rio Reforestation” event, usually scheduled inOctober.

For more information about the work of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, visit them on Facebook. For more information on the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge’s farmland re-vegetation program or its annual Rio Reforestation event, contact Bryan Winton, Refuge Manager.