The Nature Conservancy recently completed a tree planting project at the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary in Silsbee in collaboration with the Apache Corporation and volunteers from St. Michael’s College.
More than 5,000 longleaf pine seedlings were planted in areas of the preserve that will benefit from reforestation. Some areas planted were openings as the result of hurricanes in 2005 and 2008.
“The Nature Conservancy is truly grateful to the Apache Corporation, which provided the funding for the seedlings, and the students from St. Michael’s College in Vermont, who travel to the Big Thicket each year to dedicate their spring break to conservation,” said Wendy Jo Ledbetter, forest program manager for The Nature Conservancy in Texas. Students of St. Michael’s have been assisting The Nature Conservancy and other resource managers with conservation projects for the past seven years.
Once the dominant pine forest of the southern U.S., longleaf forests have been reduced from 90 million acres to less than 3 percent of their original range. The Nature Conservancy and the Apache Corporation are among several partners in the public and private sector working together to restore these forests, which provide habitat for wildlife, fiber products, and a host of recreational benefits for visitors and neighboring communities.
The Sandyland Sanctuary, a 5,654-acre preserve, is open to the public for hiking and nature study. For more information, go to www.nature.org/texas.