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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Public Lands Day Grows on the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

Region 3, October 11, 2012
Volunteers Angie and Aaron Jungbluth plant trees at the Cora Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
Volunteers Angie and Aaron Jungbluth plant trees at the Cora Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. - Photo Credit: n/a
Volunteers prepare to plant trees at the Cora Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in celebration of public lands day.
Volunteers prepare to plant trees at the Cora Island Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in celebration of public lands day. - Photo Credit: n/a

A beautiful fall day Saturday Sept. 29, 2012 graced the participants for the Public Lands Day event centered at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton, Mo. This area is near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers just north of St. Louis.
The cooperative event combined opportunities on the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Confluence Point State Park and Corps of Engineers Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary for volunteer outdoor enthusiasts to help improve their public lands.

The Greenway Network, a grassroots volunteer based organization, helped organize the event. They recruited volunteers, provided lunch and arranged for local band to entertain after the activities were completed.

The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge needed 740 trees planted on its Cora Island Unit. This Unit of the refuge located two miles from Riverlands attracted more than 20 volunteers. Some of the volunteers were recruited from Central Missouri and started early by carpooling with refuge staff two hours to reach Riverlands for the 8:30 a.m. start time.

 

The refuge provided the Root Production Method or RPM trees to help reforest this new unit of the refuge with native trees. RPM trees have superior ability to survive due to the extensive root system developed at Forest Keeling Nursery. The Nursery located an hour north of St. Louis has provided trees and native plants to the refuge for nearly a decade.

To further increase the effectiveness of the tree planting holes for the trees were augured ahead of time. The auger created an ideal hole and small mound of dirt for volunteers to efficiently plant each tree. Containers around the soil and root mass of each tree were removed and recycled.

The refuge looks forward to the future forest and wildlife habitat these trees create as they grow and mature. Volunteers came away tired but excited about the work they completed.

Volunteers returned to Riverlands to enjoy a free lunch and band for entertainment. Volunteers could also visit the new Audubon Visitor Center at Riverlands to enjoy the exhibits or take a birding hike with Audubon staff. A drawing for prizes completed the day’s festivities with all being satisfied of the work they accomplished.

Contact Info: Tim Haller, 573-441-2799, tim_haller@fws.gov