Historically, longleaf pine communities dominated the southern and central areas of Angelina National Forest on the hilly and droughty sandy soils. In the 1900s, excessive harvest of the overstory led to a decline in the longleaf pine present and increasing the loblolly pine representatives across the forestland. The goal of the Angelina and Sabine National Forests is to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem through loblolly pine plantation conversion to longleaf pine. When they asked for volunteers to help, Longleaf Ridge Texas Master Naturalists answered the call in force.
Ten of the thirteen volunteers who showed up to put longleaf seedlings in the ground on November 16 represented Longleaf Ridge. They were joined by Ellen Buchanan with the Golden Triangle Sierra Club, Adrian Van Dellen of the Texas Black Bear Alliance, and a conservation minded attorney all the way from Cut ‘N’ Shoot who showed up to help us out.
After proper instruction on utilizing the dibble, a metal bar to poke a hole which receives the seedling, we began working on a 64 acre tract in Angelina County that had been mechanically prepped last summer for the restoration efforts. We teamed up, with one person stepping off the designated space, then plunging the hole, after which the partner dropped in the seedling and the ground around it was pressed snug.
Our new secretary, Brenda and her husband, Lanny Marshall won the cutest couple of the day award, holding hands from the moment of arrival throughout the process. Allegedly, this was just Lanny trying to keep Brenda from tripping in the rough terrain or getting tangled in the blackberry vines.
Other volunteers joining in the fun on this perfect weather day, were Claire and Doug Boutte, Phillip Hight, Sue Singletary, Fred Lyons, Lori Horne, Keith Stephens and Laura Clark.