Christian Trout, 16 of Santa Fe, waits to water the cottonwood tree he just planted. (Joe D. Moore Photo)
On a sunny Friday afternoon, New Mexicoâ€™s Youth ChalleNGe cadets and the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge engaged in a symbiotic relationship.
In the sandy soils along the banks of the Pecos River, refuge staff led motivated cadets in restoring native vegetation.
Sgt. 1st Class James Ward, the groupâ€™s leader, introduced the tree planting to the cadets as an exercise â€œfor their future.â€
The 12 young men, outfitted with boots, camouflage pants, tan shirts, canteens, wide-brim hats and a heavy coating of mosquito repellant, responded vigorously.
After partaking in a halftree planting practice, halfbiology lesson with Jef f Sanchez, refuge biologist, each cadet quickly covered the 100 yards back to the truck, swung up Login to read more