Middle schoolers take part in the restoration of an alfalfa field with oversight from Guardians

July 16, 2018

In March 2018, WildEarth Guardians’ Restoration team held a planting event at the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. Approximately 100 6th and 7th grade students from Cien Aguas Middle School spent part of the day planting willows, cottonwoods, golden currant, New Mexico olive, and woods rose on the refuge to help transform an alfalfa field back into wetland and riparian habitat.

Guardians is working with the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico Environment Department, New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps., National Fish and Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Valle de Oro, Rio Grande Return, and New Mexico State Lands Department to ultimately transform 570 acres of farmland into riparian, wetland, and habitat that was historically present in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. This work will benefit a vast variety of migratory bird and wildlife species.


WildEarth Guardians Restoration Crew Members Bill Rose and Santana Martin with students from Cien Aguas International School.

Before and After

Riparian vegetation planted adjacent to future Valle de Oro Wetland Unit 1 Project Site. In late 2018/early 2019, the next wetland unit will be constructed, and the riparian vegetation will provide habitat to the adjoining wetland.

Left: Wetland Unit 5 (15 acres) immediately after construction within the Valle de Oro. This is the first of five wetlands being constructed within the Refuge.

Right: Wetland Unit 5 after inundation. WildEarth Guardians staff and YCC crew members have planted native wetland grasses suitable to this habitat.

Jim Matison

About the Author

Jim Matison | Restoration Director, WildEarth Guardians

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