By MARTHA McCLAIN
Special to the PRESS
Laguna Vista’s new walking trail received a valuable amenity recently with the addition of wildlife watering pools to help sustain local flora and fauna.
Work performed by AMIkids Rio Grande Valley, a nationally-recognized non-profit organization, resulted in the creation of three natural ponds behind bird blinds at the new Laguna Vista facility, located off of Palm Blvd.
City Manager Rolando Vela credits AMIkids Rio Grande Valley, Reliable Electric and volunteer Bob Severson for the work on this project. “Positive things happen when people work together,” he said.
AMIkids provides more than 7,500 youth throughout the country each year a promising future through positive and motivating programs that inspire learning, leadership and personal growth. The local AMI school is located outside of Los Fresnos. Through education, counseling and behavior modification students are empowered to make positive decisions that will ultimately shape their future.
The endeavor was a team effort. “This would not have been possible without the assistance of Arturo “TuTu” Gonzalez with Reliable Electric, who took time from his own busy schedule and used his equipment to dig the trench so the town could extend the water lines to the ponds,” Vela said.
Officials at the AMIkids school explained that last spring, well into a severe two-year drought, the kids of AMIkids Rio Grande Valley built a wildlife watering pool in the brush behind their facilities. Their task was to bury 150 feet of sprinkler hose, excavate, line, and landscape a shallow pool, rig an almost-invisible drip system and do it all on a shoestring budget.
“Ten sets of enthusiastic hands accomplished the job over the course of one busy day. The dirt flew, PVC and tubing went into the ground, a shallow pool was fashioned, pond liner cut and shaped. Then the esthetics: rocks and a drip system went into place,” said Bob Severson.
As a result, deer, raccoons, possum, coyotes, wild pigs, javelin, weasels, rabbits, indigo snakes, skunks and over 50 species of birds visit the pool regularly, he said.
The affiliation with Laguna Vista’s project came next. “Our neighboring town (and partner) of Laguna Vista recently built a walking/jogging/nature trail, complete with three wildlife observation blinds, on a 14-acre tract of land within the town limits. Faced with an estimate in the tens of thousands of dollars to install three water features, the town council sought a second option. Mayor Susie Houston and City Manager Rolando Vela came to see our project, and stated in unison: “We want that!” Severson said.
As a result, the Town bought the materials, and this past weekend a team of AMIkids students, picks and shovels in hand, headed into town. Their mission: To leave a gift – by improving the quality of life of plants, animals, and humans – for strangers they will never know, for years to come, Severson said.
Read this story in the Oct. 29 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.