With nearly 95% of the native habitat in the Rio Grande Valley gone, local organizations are working together to make the valley a more environmentally friendly place to live.
Restoring some of the valley’s native habitat has never been more important than it is today.
The RGV is home to only 5% of native vegetation.
For groups like the Valley Proud Environmental Council, and the Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, that five percent is not nearly enough. So they decided to take the initiative to preserve what’s left of the native habitat and restore some of the lost land.
Dalilah Garcia, Executive Director said, “In the past 25 years we have planted more than 237,000 seedlings, so we have created habitat for 25 years now in 670 acres of the Rio Grande Valley, and we want to continue this.”
This past Saturday these groups partnered up with the city of Pharr and the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the 25th Annual Rio Reforestation event.
More than 1,500 volunteers showed up to restore 23 acres of native habitat by planting more than 15,000 native plants of 27 different species.
Romeo Garcia, Wildlife Biologist said, “We’re facing a lot restoration challenges, so definitely having the kids and all these families experiencing all of this, it’s a big thing for us.”
Many of the volunteers who showed up were teenagers and kids, and they say right now is the best time to take action and save the environment.
Leslie Aguillon, student, “Overall in the world, we just have to plant, and plant, and plant, because if the trees go out, then we’ll go. I think it’s a huge key to just keep bringing the generations of trees.”
Ahmed Saad, student, “It’s kind of for the next generation, because the past generations might have hurt the environment, so it’s our job to save the environment.”
The event had such a positive impact on some of the kids who attended, that they’ve also volunteered to some planting at their school.
Miguel Chapa, 5th grade science teacher added, “They loved it. Even though they say it’s hard work, even though it was so hot, but they loved it, that now… What we’re going to do, we just got committed with our district, and we’re going to start planting our own vegetable garden in our campus. They love it. They can hardly wait.”
The Valley Proud Environmental Council will host a similar event in February, as part of their Arbor month celebration.