Volunteer seed-collection moves to Laguna Atascosa

HARLINGEN — An ongoing effort to fortify seed stocks of native plants moves to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge this Saturday.

From 8 a.m. to noon, volunteers will collect seeds of specific native plants for eventual propagation at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Native Plant Nursery near Alamo. The nursery annually produces 80,000 herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees for habitat restoration in the Rio Grande Valley.

USFWS plant biologist Kim Wahl will lead the seed collection effort at Laguna on Saturday. Volunteers will meet at the parking lot for Prairie Trailhead.

Organizers advise volunteers to wear long pants and hiking shoes, and bring a hat, gloves, bug spray, sunscreen and water.

The collection effort begins at 8 a.m. and continues until noon.

Native plants grown at the nursery near Alamo have been planted on hundreds of acres in South Texas to return the acreage back to its native, Tamaulipan thorn-scrub state.

The nursery has coolers and a freezer which hold thousands of processed seeds, which have been cleaned of outer pulpy berries and sun-dried. Other non-berry seeds are sun-dried and either placed in gallon plastic bags or are vacuum-sealed, with some then going into freezers.

For more information on dates and times of future Seed Collection Saturday events, or to commit to the event Saturday at Laguna, email Wahl at Kimberly_Wahl@fws.gov