It’s 10 AM on a weekend and hundreds of Texas A&M University students are gathered together under a group of blackened pine trees in a winter woodland silenced a year ago by wildfire. And they were about to add a bit of spring to this important forest. Over two weekends (February 16 & 17 and 23 & 24) 8,800 drought resistant loblolly pine saplings were planted in the rocky, difficult soils of Bastrop State Park. The six hundred Aggie volunteers were lead by Texas A&M Forest Service, Bastrop State Park Staff, and yours truly – the Texas Conservation Corps.
After a damaging fire in Bastrop in 2011, the park needs help with becoming green again. Some areas in the park were so hot during the fire that saplings are not appearing on their own – and that’s where this group comes in. On this weekend, an organized team came through with a mission: rebuild this forest. The overall goal for the next five years is to plant 1,000,000 saplings in this once and future forest. Nothing is impossible, especially when people come together through weekends like this.
Looking forward twenty years from now, a fine looking forest is on the horizon at Bastrop State Park- all thanks to the men and women that tirelessly put time into this space. And that deserves an Aggie Whoop!
Joel D’Angelo, Field Crew Member