Volunteers donate time, trees and truck to Nature Conservancy

(Note: While well-meaning, so many, many people are sidetracked from the real agenda by smooth sales pitches, and this is one. Would they rather plant plants on their own land or on land that no longer supports their community by being on the tax rolls, in private and productive ownership?)

October 14, 2001

By Kevin Garcia

The Brownsville Herald

1135 E. Van Buren

Brownsville, TX 78520



Nearly 200 people spent their Saturday morning to help plant native plants in the Nature Conservancy’s Southmost Preserve for Dia Del Rio 2001.

In order to preserve the natural habitat of the area, volunteers planted 2,700 samples of 37 different species of native trees and shrubs, all of which were raised, in a nursery on the 1,035-acre preserve.

"We planted 10 acres with native shrubs and trees to restore the habitat in this area for our wildlife," said Donna Berry, the office manager for the Nature Conservancy of Texas’ Southmost Preserve. "When the habitat disappears birds don’t have a place to nest, the coyotes and the ocelot don’t have a place to hang out."

Volunteers arrived at 9 a.m. Saturday and when the planting was completed at noon, lunch was served and volunteers were invited on a guided tour of the preserve.

Among the 191 volunteers from across the Rio Grande Valley that attended the reforestation effort was a group of Harlingen and San Benito High School students involved with the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College’s Upward Bound Math and Science program.

Sandra Hulsey, 16, is a Harlingen South junior with the UTB-TSC Upward Bound Math and Science program.

"We do a lot of community service for all around the Valley," Hulsey said. "We like helping people out."

Many of the volunteers said they felt it was worth the hard work to do something positive for the environment.

"It was fun," Hulsey said. "It was exhausting because I don’t do it very often, but I had a lot of fun."

At the event, General Motors donated a new four-by-four truck to the Nature Conservancy as part of GM’s $10 million partnership with the non-profit organization. Clark Chevrolet also contributed in the donation by adding detail work with the Nature Conservancy’s logo.

"It is very difficult for non-profit (organizations) to obtain vehicles," Lisa Williams the south Texas land steward with the Nature Conservancy said. "We are so grateful to GM for donating it … especially since it is a four by four, which is exactly what we need."

Kirk Clark, owner of Clark Chevrolet and one of the directors for the Valley Land Fund, said it is important for large corporations like GM to get involved with groups such as the VLF and the Nature Conservancy.

"The Valley Chevy dealers are all patrons (of community improvement efforts)," Clark said. "And one of our initiatives is to support conservation in the Rio Grande Valley, and we do that with the Valley Land Fund and the Nature Conservancy with the help of General Motors."