For Immediate Release
Feb. 20, 2017
After the wildfire: Texas A&M University students help recover the Lost Pines
BASTROP, Texas - Approximately 4,000 more trees are taking root in wildfire-scarred Texas soil this weekend thanks to the planting efforts of student volunteers from Texas A&M University.
The Bastrop County Complex Fire of 2011 damaged or destroyed 34,000 acres of the county, including 96 percent of Bastrop State Park.
Following the wildfire, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Arbor Day Foundation set into motion a five-year reforestation project.
Aggie Replant, a Texas A&M University student organization participated all five years, contributing nearly 2,000 volunteers and planting 45,000 trees on 108 acres of the park.
“In 2013, the Lost Pines Recovery Campaign in Bastrop reached out to Texas A&M’s Student Government Association looking for help in their replanting efforts. Aggie Replant’s executive team at that time jumped at the opportunity to help an effort so close to home and has been thrilled to be a part of it ever since,” said Aggie Replant Director Brandon Pender.
Bringing back the forest has not been easy. But despite harsh, gravelly soil in the Lost Pines area, the seedlings are thriving across the park — many of which are now 5-feet-tall.
“Looking around the park now, five years after the fire, we are excited to see the growth of young, vibrant trees that are a critical component of all that that the Lost Pines Ecosystem supports,” said Jamie Creacy, Park Superintendent, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The state park reforestation work helps support county-wide restoration by the Lost Pines Recovery Team, a group of local, state and federal agencies led by Bastrop County. And although the five-year park reforestation commitment has come to a close, planting, growing and tree care efforts continue — as do the strong, working partnerships forged among these agencies.
“It has been extremely gratifying to see just how much can be accomplished when everyone comes together and works for a common goal – not caring who gets the credit,” said Jim Rooni,
Texas A&M Forest Service Head of Central Texas Operations. “The students’ reforestation efforts truly embody the committed and selfless spirit that will be evident in the treasured Lost Pines for years to come.”
Photos of 2017 Aggie Replant are available at http://bit.ly/2kEw3Zx.
Texas A&M Forest Service Central Texas Operations
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Superintendent, Lost Pines State Park Complex
Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Specialist