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Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and Wal-Mart Team up to Plant Natives
Midwest Region, October 28, 2008
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Wildlife Refuge Specialist Barbara Moran helps a Wal-Mart employee plant prairie cordgrass at the Baltimore Bottom Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
Wildlife Refuge Specialist Barbara Moran helps a Wal-Mart employee plant prairie cordgrass at the Baltimore Bottom Unit of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge - Photo Credit: n/a

Approximately 65 Wal-Mart employees of Market 3 participated in a volunteer planting event at the Baltimore Bottom Unit of The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Market 3 is a region of approximately 8 Wal-Mart stores in the eastern Kansas City suburbs.  The eager Wal-Mart volunteers planted 1,900 prairie cordgrass plants and 200 oak and pecan trees in about 4 hours on October 28th, 2008. 

 

The morning started out clear and cold but the temperature gradually warmed to make for a pleasant day to help re-establish some native species on the Refuge.  The planting occurred on a portion of the Refuge unit previously planted in corn or soybeans.  Recent floods helped breach the levee protecting these crops from the mighty Missouri River.  These breaches will not be repaired opening this area up to periodic inundation benefitting wildlife by creating temporary wetlands where aquatic and terrestrial species can forage for food.  The native trees and cordgrass planted will withstand periodic flooding and also benefit wildlife by providing food and cover.  

 

Steve Dowler, a Wal-Mart Market Technical Specialist out of Lee Summit Missouri, helped organize the event.  Steve approached the refuge last winter to volunteer Wal-Mart’s assistance after he and other Wal-Mart Associates noticed trash strewn across the Refuge from the recent high water.  That contact lead to a successful clean-up in April, and a promise to continue the stewardship of the unit.  The refuge approached Steve in August to request Wal-Mart’s help in planting the native species.  Steve enthusiastically accepted the challenge and the plants were order and a day was scheduled. 

 

Missouri River Relief , a non-profit organization dedicated to cleaning the river, assisted with the event by providing t-shirts and gloves and staff to help assist in the planting.    Wal-Mart submitted a grant application for money to Missouri River Relief to support the Refuge in future purchases of native plants. 

 

Wal-Mart associates provided a cook out of hamburgers and hot dogs after the planting.  Prior to the planting, Wal-Mart provided pastries and juice to start the day.  The event proved to be extremely successful and organized.  The Refuge and Wal-Mart willingly await the next opportunity to work together to help improve the Baltimore Bottom Unit of the Refuge.  The Refuge posted signs explaining the partnership to inform visitors that volunteers do make a difference. 


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



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